Memorial Drive

According to TIME magazine this book is one of the best nonfiction books of 2020, and for good reason. I read it weeks ago but reflecting now I think I’m ready to share my thoughts.

Natasha Trethewey’s book Memorial Drive is one I’ll think about for a long time. Trethewey is a Poet Laureate and it definitely shows. She weaves metaphors into all the things she sees in her life as though they are somehow premonitions for the tragedy she would face at 19 years old, when her mother was murdered by her former stepfather. It made me look at the small instances in my life much more closely, as though everything is an omen and if you don’t look close enough you’ll miss the signs. At one point, Trethewey writes in the second person, which is hard to pull off, but it is done in such a way that you hold your breath with suspense and when it switches back to first person you gasp for air. At times I felt voyeuristic reading this, especially as the novel reaches its climax, because although you know what happens at the end it is still made all the more devastating when you finally reach it. I picked up this book because ever since I became a mom I’ve been interested in reading about other parental experiences, but if you are drawn to reading memoirs I hope you pick this up. It’s gorgeously written and is a testament to the love shared between a mom and daughter and also the love that can be lost or never found due to devastating trauma.

memorial drive book and yellow flower
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