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A History of Scars: A Memoir

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From a writer whose work has been called “breathtaking and dazzling” by Roxane Gay, this moving, illuminating, and multifaceted memoir explores, in a series of essays, the emotional scars we carry when dealing with mental and physical illnesses—reminiscent of The Collected Schizophrenias and An Unquiet Mind. In this stunning debut, Laura Lee weaves unforgettable and eye-op From a writer whose work has been called “breathtaking and dazzling” by Roxane Gay, this moving, illuminating, and multifaceted memoir explores, in a series of essays, the emotional scars we carry when dealing with mental and physical illnesses—reminiscent of The Collected Schizophrenias and An Unquiet Mind. In this stunning debut, Laura Lee weaves unforgettable and eye-opening essays on a variety of taboo topics. In “History of Scars” and “Aluminum’s Erosions,” Laura dives head-first into heavier themes revolving around intimacy, sexuality, trauma, mental illness, and the passage of time. In “Poetry of the World,” Laura shifts and addresses the grief she feels by being geographically distant from her mother whom, after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, is relocated to a nursing home in Korea. Through the vivid imagery of mountain climbing, cooking, studying writing, and growing up Korean American, Lee explores the legacy of trauma on a young queer child of immigrants as she reconciles the disparate pieces of existence that make her whole. By tapping into her own personal, emotional, and psychological struggles in these powerful and relatable essays, Lee encourages all of us to not be afraid to face our own hardships and inner truths.


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From a writer whose work has been called “breathtaking and dazzling” by Roxane Gay, this moving, illuminating, and multifaceted memoir explores, in a series of essays, the emotional scars we carry when dealing with mental and physical illnesses—reminiscent of The Collected Schizophrenias and An Unquiet Mind. In this stunning debut, Laura Lee weaves unforgettable and eye-op From a writer whose work has been called “breathtaking and dazzling” by Roxane Gay, this moving, illuminating, and multifaceted memoir explores, in a series of essays, the emotional scars we carry when dealing with mental and physical illnesses—reminiscent of The Collected Schizophrenias and An Unquiet Mind. In this stunning debut, Laura Lee weaves unforgettable and eye-opening essays on a variety of taboo topics. In “History of Scars” and “Aluminum’s Erosions,” Laura dives head-first into heavier themes revolving around intimacy, sexuality, trauma, mental illness, and the passage of time. In “Poetry of the World,” Laura shifts and addresses the grief she feels by being geographically distant from her mother whom, after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, is relocated to a nursing home in Korea. Through the vivid imagery of mountain climbing, cooking, studying writing, and growing up Korean American, Lee explores the legacy of trauma on a young queer child of immigrants as she reconciles the disparate pieces of existence that make her whole. By tapping into her own personal, emotional, and psychological struggles in these powerful and relatable essays, Lee encourages all of us to not be afraid to face our own hardships and inner truths.

30 review for A History of Scars: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    Laura Lee’s A History of Scars is an astonishingly elegant memoir in essays. In each part of this whole, Lee takes the reader on an intriguing journey, one where she begins a story in one place and ends somewhere entirely unexpected. She dissects the bodily experience of trauma, identity, family histories, and romantic relationships with intelligence and intimacy. She puts us into the natural wonders of the world as she shares her passion for climbing, how an ascent is never linear and neither i Laura Lee’s A History of Scars is an astonishingly elegant memoir in essays. In each part of this whole, Lee takes the reader on an intriguing journey, one where she begins a story in one place and ends somewhere entirely unexpected. She dissects the bodily experience of trauma, identity, family histories, and romantic relationships with intelligence and intimacy. She puts us into the natural wonders of the world as she shares her passion for climbing, how an ascent is never linear and neither is a life lived. Lee asks complex questions of herself and the reader and refuses to surrender to easy answers about who she is and how she has created a place for herself and who she is in this world. The grace and strength of her writing will move you higher and higher. This debut memoir is a triumph. Laura Lee has planted her flag in the world of letters and it’s time to take notice. Laura is one of my thesis students from Purdue and I am so very proud. It was a pleasure working on an earlier version of this book with her. I learned as much as I taught.

  2. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    To speak requires trust—that someone will listen. There is a cathartic, confessional quality to Lee’s writing. These are essays that, unadorned, resist the narrativizing of queerness and race, of trauma, abuse, and mental illness, into sensational stories. I admit that I struggled with the initial essays, which were frank yet somehow ambiguous, a combination that didn’t personally work for me—but the later essays had me absolutely enraptured. Above all, there is no doubt that the subject matt To speak requires trust—that someone will listen. There is a cathartic, confessional quality to Lee’s writing. These are essays that, unadorned, resist the narrativizing of queerness and race, of trauma, abuse, and mental illness, into sensational stories. I admit that I struggled with the initial essays, which were frank yet somehow ambiguous, a combination that didn’t personally work for me—but the later essays had me absolutely enraptured. Above all, there is no doubt that the subject matter throughout this collection is significant and compelling, even as—or perhaps because—A History of Scars deliberately resists cohesion, instead embodying the nonlinearity that Lee espouses. My favourite essays had to do with Lee’s Pakistani girlfriend—in their relationship, I saw mirrored many of my own insecurities but also hopes—and Lee’s relationship with food and cooking, where the prose lengthens, loosens, gathers steam and vibrancy and intimate resonance. Bottom line: Regardless of my or anyone else’s opinion, this is an important book, a complex story. I am infinitely glad it has been spoken for me and others to listen. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    I'm too sensitive for this world. And yet I'm here. In A History of Scars Laura Lee details her relationship with her mother who suffered from Alzheimer's, her sisters who she had a less than stellar relationship with, her father who was not really present. On top of all of this Laura has a mental illness that impacts how she views the world. She walks us through all of this in her debut memoir. I'm too sensitive for this world. And yet I'm here. In A History of Scars Laura Lee details her relationship with her mother who suffered from Alzheimer's, her sisters who she had a less than stellar relationship with, her father who was not really present. On top of all of this Laura has a mental illness that impacts how she views the world. She walks us through all of this in her debut memoir.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    What a stunning, heartbreaking work! Laura Lee's writing holds the tension between opposite experiences: unspeakable pain and uncontainable joy, intimacy and disconnection. Lee's storytelling includes just the right amount of detail and metaphor. The reader isn't abandoned to hopelessness in the face of her history of trauma, nor are they left free to imagine she's found The Answer to suffering. Lee's courage and strength shine through in every essay, and I can't wait to read more from her. What a stunning, heartbreaking work! Laura Lee's writing holds the tension between opposite experiences: unspeakable pain and uncontainable joy, intimacy and disconnection. Lee's storytelling includes just the right amount of detail and metaphor. The reader isn't abandoned to hopelessness in the face of her history of trauma, nor are they left free to imagine she's found The Answer to suffering. Lee's courage and strength shine through in every essay, and I can't wait to read more from her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥

    "How does one capture a fair picture of a person, if the pieces don't add up to what we expect?" This book is complicated. It's reflective. Deeply personal. Ambiguous. Frustratingly vague. Misses the mark on one topic but then swoops in and hits it critically in another. You could say it mirrors a lot of the terrain in life. We are left with mess, with questions, with wanting more. We are also guided through Lee navigating queerness, abuse, mental health, identity, life as a immigrant's child, "How does one capture a fair picture of a person, if the pieces don't add up to what we expect?" This book is complicated. It's reflective. Deeply personal. Ambiguous. Frustratingly vague. Misses the mark on one topic but then swoops in and hits it critically in another. You could say it mirrors a lot of the terrain in life. We are left with mess, with questions, with wanting more. We are also guided through Lee navigating queerness, abuse, mental health, identity, life as a immigrant's child, life as the child of a deteriorating parent. It's written in the forceful whisper of someone who has fought to find their footing. "She and I experienced, in tandem, two different versions of the same reality" Some of the most touching moments were shared as Lee delved into her personal relationship with her girlfriend. She writes tenderly, she writes hopefully, lovingly, curiously, gratefully, of her girlfriend. The story of her making her girlfriend's favorite dish was so endearingly and made me smile thoughtfully, reminding me of the first time I made biryani for my ex. It's a special moment, romantic or not, to reach out on a limb to try and make the comfort dish for another person. "I think of home as something I build with those whim I love, and as something I find reflected within them" That being said, I never feel fully comfortable "critiquing" someone's memoir, it's their life and only they truly know it. So, my critiques are only on how the writing felt seeping into me. I began to be put off by just how often she made sure the reader knew her girlfriend was Pakistani, as if her girlfriend did not exist outside of that. She made it a point to describe the nationality of everyone she knew, I'm not entirely sure why, it felt very oddly specific when placed against the general ambiguousness of the essays. The essays feel deeply personal and vastly vague at the same time. The first few essays hold the potential for power that just isn't found throughout the rest of the narrative (for me). I grew somewhat frustrated with the ambiguous nature of all the "big" things. Passing references to the whole reason she writes. Passive everything. I became lost among the intricate conversation of climbing. Honestly, I don't know how Lee managed to give so much feel of rawness while maintaining a cloak of mystery. Keeping a wall between herself and the reader while still sharing intimate details. (view spoiler)[I suppose her schizophrenia diagnosis, which you don't learn about until the very end of the book, plays into the disassociated wedge that can be placed between the person and reality in order to maintain safety of your reality (hide spoiler)] My personal feelings aside, I recommend this book still. It's a voice that needs to be heard. Multiple stigmas that need to be shattered and spoken about. It addresses what it's like to watch your parents cognitive decline far before their time. It's a voice I haven't seen much in literature and that needs to be amplified. BUT I JUST WANT TO SAY: I respect the heck out of Roxane Gay but good grief she isn't a deity okay? Laura Lee, you stand on your own two feet. I honestly feel like repeated mentions of Gay's impact in the making of the book did it a disservice. It casts a shadow over it instead of illuminating it. It must've been incredible to have an amazing person like Roxane be your mentor but your story is your own and your words are your own. The books needs its own space to flourish. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my opinion

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth ✨

    “But life is never that linear. A climb that straightforward would be uninteresting - a climb’s unexpected detours and features are what make it worthwhile.” Lee’s memoir is a collection of essays, each with a loose focus, that dip and weave into deeper parts of her past and self-understanding. She explores her identity as an American with first-generation parents from Korea, coming into her queerness & intimacy in relationships, the abuse she experienced from her father & sister, the trauma of b “But life is never that linear. A climb that straightforward would be uninteresting - a climb’s unexpected detours and features are what make it worthwhile.” Lee’s memoir is a collection of essays, each with a loose focus, that dip and weave into deeper parts of her past and self-understanding. She explores her identity as an American with first-generation parents from Korea, coming into her queerness & intimacy in relationships, the abuse she experienced from her father & sister, the trauma of being raised by a mother with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s & the accompanying caregiving she took on, her & her family’s experience with mental health conditions & other invisible chronic illnesses, her love of rock climbing, the importance of writing & intellectual life for her, and more. Her writing is sparse, nonlinear, evocative, exploratory. It sometimes left me wanting more - more explanation, more resolution. But Lee also addresses this, noting that her narrative isn’t tidy, that her memories aren’t complete, that her emotions are contradictory - and this is what makes Lee’s memoir feel like one of the most authentic I’ve ever read. Though it at times feels choppy, there’s an overarching cohesion in her topics, themes, and metaphors that brings the book together. She lets us near her experiences, draws us into her overwhelm and scatter and fear, and ignites us with her hope when it shines through. It’s a beautiful and honest reflection of a life in all its complexity. Some of my favorite essays: - The title story, in which she describes her physical & emotional scars & the memories they elicit. - “Lineages of Food”, where she sits with her complex food inheritance, why she cooks & eats what she does, the people & relationships & cultures & geographies that have influenced her. - “Want”, in which she describes her first queer relationship, where both women who previously thought of themselves as straight fall in love on a summer climbing trip. - “Futurity”, where she wrestled with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and what it means for herself & her partner, their future together. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this memoir, and I hope you will to! I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more reviews (other than Roxane Gay’s glowing blurb). Thank you to Atria Books for the ARC. Content warnings: suicide attempt, physical abuse, loss of a family member, racism, homophobia

  7. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Lee describes one of the cruelest aspects of schizophrenia in a way that shook me and had me saying, there's a name for it: Alogia, for example: a lack or poverty of speech, one of the so-called negative symptoms of my illness. I’ve experienced this my whole life without having a name for it. This has only grown more pronounced for me, to the point that engaging verbally with others, beyond my partner, is grueling. With her I can prattle on so she forgets, until we’re in the company of others, th Lee describes one of the cruelest aspects of schizophrenia in a way that shook me and had me saying, there's a name for it: Alogia, for example: a lack or poverty of speech, one of the so-called negative symptoms of my illness. I’ve experienced this my whole life without having a name for it. This has only grown more pronounced for me, to the point that engaging verbally with others, beyond my partner, is grueling. With her I can prattle on so she forgets, until we’re in the company of others, that around others, I barely speak at all. When I used to attend, with my partner’s friends, doughnut Sundays, I stayed silent, noticeably silent, embarrassingly silent, during conversation. Her friends didn’t know that these occasions were often the only social engagement I’d had in a week’s time, if not longer—and that this absence of social engagement isn’t accidental, but purposeful, one of the only ways I can find to ameliorate my condition, despite the tremendous loneliness that accompanies such social isolation. My silence has always been a problem. Others have attributed negative intent on my behalf, assuming my silence is selfish, that I am purposely keeping back my thoughts for myself, when in reality, I am often too afraid to speak, not sure when and where to insert myself into the conversation. Like a novice trying to surf, my movements are uncoordinated—I’m not quite sure when to throw myself up onto my elbows, push and stand, and so instead I lie passively, while the waves of conversation lap and tide, and I miss every appropriate window to enter midstream. More than simple fear, I oftentimes am simply unable to verbalize—a symptom of my illness that has become more pronounced. Being robbed of the ability to speak means lacking the social graces of small talk. It means missing out on connection. It means being unable to voice inner objections. The negative and cognitive symptoms of my illness are what are so disabling. These symptoms, the ones no one talks about, recognizes, or knows, are the ones that render me nearly nonfunctional so frequently. The positive symptoms—the hallucinations, the delusions—are what keep me terrified of what could be.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    *Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review* Upon learning that Laura Lee was a protege of Roxane Gay, I knew I absolutely had to read this. She did not let me down; this was a disturbing and beautiful (disturbingly beautiful? beautifully disturbing?) memoir that reached deep into my core. There is so much here, like Lee's upbringing with a mother with undiagnosed early onset Alzheimer's Disease and a father who was often violent. Add to that an emotionally volatile middle *Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review* Upon learning that Laura Lee was a protege of Roxane Gay, I knew I absolutely had to read this. She did not let me down; this was a disturbing and beautiful (disturbingly beautiful? beautifully disturbing?) memoir that reached deep into my core. There is so much here, like Lee's upbringing with a mother with undiagnosed early onset Alzheimer's Disease and a father who was often violent. Add to that an emotionally volatile middle sister, and you have the kind of non-childhood that has lasting impacts. Lee also explores her Korean American and queer identity through the challenges and exertion of rock climbing, cooking from various cuisines, and the experience and diagnosis of a mental illness. The writing itself is delicately crafted, and each word feels deliberate and measured. It meanders at times; the flow helps to create a feeling around the interrelated topics. I related to aspects of Lee's experience, and that made reading this memoir feel all the more personal. I was moved and hope that Ms. Lee was able to find some catharsis and/or healing in the process of producing this work.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I was very excited to read what began as a hugely compelling book; about halfway through, I lost interest. At no point in a book about trauma should I be bored! It felt disrespectful even as I was experiencing boredom. There are some moments of brilliance and poetry and these are overshadowed by a great deal of repetition. We hear variations on the same details whether climbing or trauma again and again. Perhaps these essays were written at different times, in different publications, so they wer I was very excited to read what began as a hugely compelling book; about halfway through, I lost interest. At no point in a book about trauma should I be bored! It felt disrespectful even as I was experiencing boredom. There are some moments of brilliance and poetry and these are overshadowed by a great deal of repetition. We hear variations on the same details whether climbing or trauma again and again. Perhaps these essays were written at different times, in different publications, so they were not meant to be read consecutively? Some of the most interesting moments come right at the end of the book where the pivotal events from the first part are finally revealed. It seems as though Lee spends the entire book trying not to say too much which creates a bizarre tension. Why write a book in order to reveal very little and write circles around the same sets of issues, events, and family dynamics? Overall, this is a really disjointed set of essays that lack both a consistent narrative voice and a book length worthy telos.

  10. 4 out of 5

    girlmeetsbooks_

    A History of Scars is a deeply moving memoir about a woman’s personal account of the trauma she experienced as a child and the profound effects that it had on her growth into adulthood. One thing about Lee is that she is a fantastic writer. I felt everything she put into words, almost feeling it a little too deeply. Although she experienced so much trauma in her life, it was her strength to push through despite what her quality of life is and will be..and it is truly inspiring. What stuck out to A History of Scars is a deeply moving memoir about a woman’s personal account of the trauma she experienced as a child and the profound effects that it had on her growth into adulthood. One thing about Lee is that she is a fantastic writer. I felt everything she put into words, almost feeling it a little too deeply. Although she experienced so much trauma in her life, it was her strength to push through despite what her quality of life is and will be..and it is truly inspiring. What stuck out to me were these words: “I feel my limitations. I’m too sensitive for this world. And yet I’m here.” It’s through all of her trials that she has still found a place in the world where she feels love, and knows how to love.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Khan

    I’ve never read a book that more accurately captured my mental health condition. Though I do not have the exact same life experiences as the author, the way she writes about trauma, depression, and the difficulties of day to day living with one’s disease, especially when you were once high functioning and appear to be ok to the rest of the world, spoke to me deeply. She examines what got her to where she is today and the struggles and small slices of hope that occur when the disease has become y I’ve never read a book that more accurately captured my mental health condition. Though I do not have the exact same life experiences as the author, the way she writes about trauma, depression, and the difficulties of day to day living with one’s disease, especially when you were once high functioning and appear to be ok to the rest of the world, spoke to me deeply. She examines what got her to where she is today and the struggles and small slices of hope that occur when the disease has become your most common bedfellow. Love to the author and for reminding me that I am not too sensitive for this world. I am sensitive and I am here in the world, the same as anyone else without this sensitivity.

  12. 4 out of 5

    McKenzie

    - memoir by laura lee, a bisexual korean american - explores the impacts of trauma and how different people process and live with it - domestic abuse, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, parent with early onset alzheimers - vulnerability is at the core of human experience - seemingly insignificant moments that the author turns into meaningful lessons applicable to everyone - emphasizes the danger of a single narrative, people don’t fit into neat and tidy boxes - “listening without expectation, rath - memoir by laura lee, a bisexual korean american - explores the impacts of trauma and how different people process and live with it - domestic abuse, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, parent with early onset alzheimers - vulnerability is at the core of human experience - seemingly insignificant moments that the author turns into meaningful lessons applicable to everyone - emphasizes the danger of a single narrative, people don’t fit into neat and tidy boxes - “listening without expectation, rather than dictating the terms of conversation” - cultural significance of food and the experience of cooking

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Mckenna

    Touching, moving, and an excellent read. We can’t understand each other if we are always too afraid to listen to each other. Is this a hard read, yes it is. Does that mean it does not contain deep value worth reading? No, I would argue it definitely does warrant it. The author takes us through her mental illness and events with her family. She tries to understand being ill and how she can enter a relationship. I think that is well worth listening to. The topics she speaks of effect just about ev Touching, moving, and an excellent read. We can’t understand each other if we are always too afraid to listen to each other. Is this a hard read, yes it is. Does that mean it does not contain deep value worth reading? No, I would argue it definitely does warrant it. The author takes us through her mental illness and events with her family. She tries to understand being ill and how she can enter a relationship. I think that is well worth listening to. The topics she speaks of effect just about every family in some way. Laura Lee does an honest job here of explaining the ups ans downs of her life. I think it is important to listen. Thank you NetGalley, Laura Lee and

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lili Kim

    Scars are beautiful. Notable lines: “Though we judge those in abusive relationships for not getting out, we also don’t intercede on their behalf, to help. Because on some level, we also know how messy it is-that things aren’t that simple. And so instead we turn away.” “Nearly every time someone learns that my mother had early-onset Alzheimer’s, they try to relate by telling me, ‘my grandmother/grandfather had Alzheimer’s!’ I want to respond by saying the illness is an entirely different beast when i Scars are beautiful. Notable lines: “Though we judge those in abusive relationships for not getting out, we also don’t intercede on their behalf, to help. Because on some level, we also know how messy it is-that things aren’t that simple. And so instead we turn away.” “Nearly every time someone learns that my mother had early-onset Alzheimer’s, they try to relate by telling me, ‘my grandmother/grandfather had Alzheimer’s!’ I want to respond by saying the illness is an entirely different beast when it strikes decades earlier. That it’s different when it’s your mother, when you’re young when the decline begins.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Zimmerman

    A History of Scars is a memoir written in essays in which Lee covers many topics, such as familial trauma/abuse, queerness and sexuality, mental illness, culture, and race. The memoir bounces around a bit, each essay touching on a different aspect of her life, until the end ties everything together with her mental illness diagnosis. This memoir, while powerful, is emotionally less difficult to read than others—Lee seems to distance herself and speak of the events within factually rather than emo A History of Scars is a memoir written in essays in which Lee covers many topics, such as familial trauma/abuse, queerness and sexuality, mental illness, culture, and race. The memoir bounces around a bit, each essay touching on a different aspect of her life, until the end ties everything together with her mental illness diagnosis. This memoir, while powerful, is emotionally less difficult to read than others—Lee seems to distance herself and speak of the events within factually rather than emotionally, contrary to a memoir such as Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot. I got the feeling that Lee wasn't ready to talk about her mental illness in the way that I would have liked/expected in this memoir, but as the diagnosis seems to have been relatively recent, I would guess she hasn't had time to properly process what happened. Overall, I thought this memoir was beautiful and strong, and I would definitely read another book by Laura Lee if she ever chooses to write one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy (bardsblond)

    A History of Scars is a collection of autobiographical essays on the author’s experience with mental illness. Perhaps the most touching part of this collection was Lee’s discussion of her relationship to her parents. Her father, cold and violent, and her mother, also plagued by issues of mood instability and, later in life, Alzheimer’s. Do we ever really grow up when it comes to our parents? It seems not. Lee is a grown woman but you really get the sense that, when writing about her parents, she A History of Scars is a collection of autobiographical essays on the author’s experience with mental illness. Perhaps the most touching part of this collection was Lee’s discussion of her relationship to her parents. Her father, cold and violent, and her mother, also plagued by issues of mood instability and, later in life, Alzheimer’s. Do we ever really grow up when it comes to our parents? It seems not. Lee is a grown woman but you really get the sense that, when writing about her parents, she slips so easily into her childhood self. That part of the book was the most poignant to me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    DNF @ 54% Don't know what it is exactly, but this book is not clicking with me right now. As soon as I wasn't listening to it, I had absolutely no desire to put it back on (even though I've been doing menial tasks that would perfectly accompany listening to an audiobook) so I'm going to pass on this for now. Perhaps I'll pick this back up at a later time, but at the moment I'm not at all compelled to continue this. DNF @ 54% Don't know what it is exactly, but this book is not clicking with me right now. As soon as I wasn't listening to it, I had absolutely no desire to put it back on (even though I've been doing menial tasks that would perfectly accompany listening to an audiobook) so I'm going to pass on this for now. Perhaps I'll pick this back up at a later time, but at the moment I'm not at all compelled to continue this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adira

    I just want to caveat my 3-star rating by saying that's simply my record of my personal experience of the book, and speaks only to my (amateur) opinion of the writing style. I never rate a memoir based on the actual content; I don't rate human beings or their life stories. I have nothing but respect for Laura Lee, and I commend the courage and ingenuity of her survival, as well as her candor in this work. I'm curious to see what she writes in the future. I just want to caveat my 3-star rating by saying that's simply my record of my personal experience of the book, and speaks only to my (amateur) opinion of the writing style. I never rate a memoir based on the actual content; I don't rate human beings or their life stories. I have nothing but respect for Laura Lee, and I commend the courage and ingenuity of her survival, as well as her candor in this work. I'm curious to see what she writes in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    In this memoir, Laura Lee details her own tough history. From growing up in a violent household to becoming her mom’s caregiver when she’s diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and eventually to her own diagnosis of schizophrenia. Lee explores themes of identity and trauma with such honesty and care.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lolo Onda

    I really enjoyed this book. I did find it to be a bit jumbled and sometimes hard to follow as the author jumped around through topics frequently. I felt that the writing was very strong and powerful and easy to listen to (as I listened to the story as an audiobook)- even if some of the concepts could have been organized a bit more clearly for the reader. Definitely an interesting perspective and totally worth a read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    Thank you to Atria books for this giveaway! Really enjoyed Lee's vulnerability in describing her mental health, her family's history, and her relationship/lack thereof with her father. The "Lineages of Food" chapter was so well written that she took a superficial tier of cultural connection and made it a meaningful point of connection. I look forward to reading more of Lee's writing. Thank you to Atria books for this giveaway! Really enjoyed Lee's vulnerability in describing her mental health, her family's history, and her relationship/lack thereof with her father. The "Lineages of Food" chapter was so well written that she took a superficial tier of cultural connection and made it a meaningful point of connection. I look forward to reading more of Lee's writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    I really wanted to enjoy this more than I did. I found different parts really interesting and moving but together it felt a bit jumbled, like too much was going on and it was hard to keep up with. Still, I felt the heart and soul poured into this memoir and appreciate the work that went into that.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrice

    “If you’re a certain kind of person, you can feel others’ pain exquisitely, and your own, but you lack the ability to vocalize it. You find other ways of expressing it.” “To speak requires trust—that someone will listen. It was easier, then and now, to be silent instead.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    El Ron

    Wow that was a lot of pronouns!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I don't really know what to say for this review. Lee does an excellent job of making her unique experience so universal. It was an enjoyable read. I don't really know what to say for this review. Lee does an excellent job of making her unique experience so universal. It was an enjoyable read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Painful, powerful, thoughtful, but beware: reading this will make you reflect on your own scars, buried traumas and complex relationships with parents.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dea Spears

    This is a very interesting beginning. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cat Roule

    Powerful and sometimes disturbing, this collection of essays tackles many hard hitting topics from immigration to gender identity. An important but difficult read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Yram

    the story is completely compelling. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Selena Wang

    Really great book. Extremely relatable and well put together. Memorable and sleek in a way that only Laura Lee could pull off.

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