It's a report tempered by hard times. In "Matricide", Daum unflinchingly describes a parent's death and the uncomfortable emotions it provokes; and in "Diary of a Coma" she relates her own journey to the twilight of the mind. But Daum also operates in a comic register. With perfect precision, she reveals the absurdities of the marriage-industrial complex, of the New Age dating market, and of the peculiar habits of the young and digital. Elsewhere, she writes searchingly about cultural nostalgia, Joni Mitchell, and the alternating heartbreak and liberation of choosing not to have children.
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Complaining about her dead mom.
Less character study of her mother.
To be honest, I stopped listening before I got to the end. After the first half hour, I got tired of hearing about her mom, and skipped ahead... still complaining about her mom. Skipped ahead some more... yep, still on the mom. Now complaining about her dad's ambivalence. Now relating the grandmother to the mom, and showing... Sigh. Not my thing. I gave up.
Her observations on people's expectations regarding death. Which again, I will be honest, I did not get to in the book, but I heard her explaining this part of the book in an interview on All Things Considered and it piqued my interest.
The author's narration is great. It sounds natural and emotive. I think I just had the wrong idea about what the book would be when I heard it was a collection of essays. I think of essays like "Topic A... Discuss," "Topic B... Discuss". But the book is closer to an autobiography with a lot of storytelling from her life. So it's probably unfair for me to judge the book as bad--it was just not what I expected, and I've got reader's remorse.
It's wearying for me to listen to an author go on at length about the failings of another person. I understand the value in writing about true experience, and like the idea that someone will have courage to say "unspeakable" things that are true. I just prefer a constructive viewpoint, and this seemed too much like venting for my taste.
- Erik Hermansen