Saturday, April 11, 2015
April 6, 2015 Issue
Book reviews are, for me, the ultimate brain candy. I devour them. There’s a dandy in this week’s issue – Alice Gregory’s "Dear Diary, I Hate You," a review of Sarah Manguso’s memoir Ongoingness. It has all the elements of a satisfying review – description (“We get Manguso, at fourteen, looking through a telescope for a comet, failing to see it, and not caring; Manguso, in 1992, writing mostly about hating her mother; Manguso, in college, discovering that a boyfriend has read her diary, including some dismaying reflections on his sexual performance; Manguso, in her late thirties, drinking raspberry-leaf tea in an attempt to trigger early labor, hoping that her husband can be present for both the birth of his son and, an ocean away, the death of his mother”), analysis (“The great feat of the book is that it succeeds in not feeling abstract, even though it frequently eschews specificity”), quotation (“I stayed partly contained in the moment until that night, when I wrote down everything that had happened and everything I remembered thinking while it happened and everything I thought while recording what I remembered had happened…”). Gregory’s absorbing piece whets my appetite for Manguso’s book. It also makes me hungry for more of Gregory’s reviews.