Posts Tagged Richard Russo
Jennifer Haigh, Heat & Light
Monday, May 2 at 7pm
Patricia Park, Re Jane
Val Wang, Beijing Bastard
Monday, May 2 at 7pm
Diane Guerrero, In the Country We Love
Tuesday, May 3 at 7pm
Elizabeth Crane, The History of Great Things
Porter Square Books
Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm
Richard Russo, Everybody’s Fool
Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm
Dinitia Smith, The Honeymoon
Tuesday, May 10 at 7pm
Jennifer S. Brown, Modern Girls
Lynda Cohen Loigman, The Two-Family House
Wednesday, May 11 at 7pm
Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie Was Here
Wednesday, May 18 at 7pm
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene: An Intimate History
At Brattle Theatre
Wednesday, May 18 at 6pm
Jo Baker, A Country Road, a Tree
Thursday, May 19 at 7pm
Moby, Porcelain: a Memoir
Friday, May 20 at 7pm
Moira Weigel, Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating
Harvard Book Store
Monday, May 23 at 7pm
Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time
Coolidge Corner Theatre/ Brookline Booksmith event
Thursday, May 26 at 6pm
Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo. Publisher: Knopf (December 2012). Memoir. Hardcover. 243 pages. ISBN: 978-0-307-95953-9.
Richard Russo doesn’t write particularly empathetic female characters. Writers write what they know and any psychiatrist might extrapolate the relationship with his mother from his novels. In Elsewhere, Russo describes a mother so dependent on her son that she follows him constantly, across the country from New York to Arizona and back to Maine. She suffers various afflictions and anxieties though never seeks any medicinal or therapeutic help. Russo’s a fantastic writer but there’s an arrogance to this. He writes, “From the time I was a boy I understood that my mother’s health, her well-being, was in my hands.” Just how much does he resent his mother?
“My mother’s ‘condition.’ This was something the whole family seemed aware of, but no one talked about it. One word, nerves, was evidently deemed sufficient to describe, categorize, stigmatize, and dismiss it.”
Russo left the factory town of Gloverstown, New York in 1967. He writes of it often—Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, The Whore’s Child—but he’s never been back. When Russo enters the University of Arizona, his mother tells him she’s left her well-paying job and will move to Arizona as well. She needs a fresh start too, after all. This continues. He finds apartment after apartment for his mother wherever he’s living. While exhibiting a snobby outward appearance she’s becoming increasingly shaky and unsure of herself. She claims independence and feigns disdain when Russo offers assistance.
She can’t understand why her son, an accomplished scholar, a PhD, continues to write about their mired hometown. She’s never satisfied. Russo says one kind thing about his mother and that’s her accumulation of books and her establishment of some sort of library—“If a stranger came into her apartment, a quick scan of her books would give him a pretty good idea of who she was, whereas all he could say about ours was, Boy, these people sure have a lot of books.” When his daughter gets diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD], Russo ponders his mother through a diagnostic lens. Mental illness can skip a generation. Elsewhere is quite stark yet enthralling, honest. This memoir now becomes part of my library.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.
1. The Lean by Kathy Freston [Weinstein Books]
–Despite already being a vegan, this gave me tons of wonderful tips. I continue to use it as a reference. Freston writes in such a friendly, useful, refreshing style. I recommend this to anyone who would like to pursue a vegan/ plant-based diet. Freston’s goal is to change our our relationship with food and to make us feel better, be energetic and healthy by consuming a plant-based diet.
2. Guts by Kristen Johnston [Gallery Books]
–honest, self-deprecating and wonderful. What differentiates this memoir from other celebrity memoirs is that Johnston doesn’t consider herself a celebrity [she refers to herself as a B-list celebrity] but a hard-working actress and acting teacher. She gets dirty and detailed particularly when she describes the destruction drugs caused to her digestive system.
3. Charlotte au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood by Charlotte Silver [Riverhead]
–if you ever ate at Upstairs on the Square this is a must-read. it’s a sweet restaurant behind the scenes. although sometimes I wonder how a child could have such clear memories.
4. I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern [IT Books]
–simultaneously funny and poignant. sweet.
5. Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead [Riverhead]
–a collection of essays about family, friends and Winstead’s journey in her chosen career in the comedy world: both in stand-up and in television and radio. She’s a pioneer with her irreverent ideas and approach. She’s a leader and role model. She’s a tireless advocate for women’s rights. The essays are poignant, humorous, enlightening and insightful.
6. Agorafabulous by Sara Benincasa [William Morrow]
—- an honest and heartfelt recollection of Benincasa’s experiences with anxiety in college and her early twenties. She writes about her recovery and maintenance through meds, therapy, meditation and a support system of friends and family. provides relatable circumstances while addressing serious mental health concerns with flair and compassion.
7. loose diamonds by Amy Ephron [William Morrow]
–delightful collection of essays with deft observations about a multitude of subjects including her childhood, her mother, giving birth, fancy shoes, shopping (particularly at Saks), affairs, flying, her first marriage, divorce and her second marriage. She loses things—sometimes objects, sometimes relationships, sometimes emotional states– and through heartfelt, witty, insightful and clever means, she explains to the reader how she’s learned from those losses. It’s a sparkling memoir.
8. Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton [DaCapo, 2012]
–user-friendly, family-friendly positive cookbook with recipes that appeal to all age ranges and varied palates. straightforward recipes with“Kid Friendly” and “Adult Minded” tips on certain recipes to make them more appealing for whomever you’re serving. an entire section devoted to veggie burgers.
9. Falling for Eli by Nancy Shulins [DaCapo]
10. The Smart Girl’s Guide to the G-Spot by Violet Blue [Cleis Press]
–everyone woman needs to know this!