RaveEntertainment Weekly...[a] brilliant, obsessive memoir about grieving ... Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, The Glass Eye isn’t a straightforward memoir: Rather, it’s a self-aware chronicle of her struggles as she talks us through her process on the page ('I worry I’m too easily swayed by the sonic impact of a line') or researches the sparse facts of her half sister’s death. As the pages fly by, we’re right by Vanasco, breathlessly experiencing her grief, mania, revelations, and — ultimately — her relief.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyAs a law student, Marzano-Lesnevich took pride in her staunch opposition to the death penalty — until she encountered the case of Ricky Langley, a child molester and murderer. Watching the tape of Langley’s confession, she was shocked to find she wanted him to die. But as she investigated his crimes, she discovered his story had strange parallels to her own: a history of abuse, a dead sibling, haunted and broken parents. In an offbeat narrative, she unspools their stories together, resulting in a memoir/true-crime hybrid that stands up to the best of either genre, and will linger in your mind long after the last page.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyReading a truly terrifying novel can make you feel like you’re drowning ... As Chaon moves nimbly between viewpoints, calling memories and relationships into question, a powerful undercurrent of dread begins to form beneath the story, slowly but inexorably pulling you under.
PositiveEntertainment Weekly[Oshinsky] skillfully guides us through the years from its 1736 founding as an almshouse to the present, delving into the myriad ways the publicly funded hospital dealt with medical issues of yore like tuberculosis and pre-anesthesic, pre-antiseptic surgery, before graduating to unprecedented terrors like the AIDS epidemic and Hurricane Sandy. You’ll walk away in awe of this tenacious institution—and marvel at the way Oshinsky also fits a comprehensive but succinct history of modern medicine itself into the same book.
MixedEntertainment WeeklyThe Chemist’s premise is better than its execution, and the plot’s stakes never quite feel high enough to get your pulse going — perhaps because Alex is so good at her job that failure doesn’t really seem like an option. The romance, too, falls short of what we know Meyer is capable of ... Meyer is still a skilled pace-setter, and The Chemist’s 518-pages fly by quickly and easily.
iO Tillett Wright
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyiO has a poet’s gift for metaphor and breathtaking turns of phrase but retains the raw honesty and attitude of a city kid. Perhaps his greatest gift as a writer is his ability to describe his lifelong struggles with gender identity and sexuality. Darling Days isn’t comprehensive. It’s rare for a New York City memoir to skip over 9/11, as this one does, and it ends rather abruptly in 2008. But here’s hoping iO is saving the rest for the next book.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is laugh-out-loud funny when Schumer wants it to be, but more often, it’s surprisingly honest and raw — much more like a straightforward memoir than even she appears to believe ... on the whole, this book is far less a portable joke factory than it is a real, deep dive into Schumer’s life.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklySolomon is a beautiful writer, and her prose brings people and scenes achingly alive ... At times it feels like Solomon is ticking off boxes to prove she researched the 1920s setting (Prohibition, check; Sacco and Vanzetti, check), but she needn’t have worried: Her characters’ struggles with motherhood and identity would be compelling in any era.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyWhile Gentry’s storytelling can get too granular, overall it’s so gripping you might start to question your own family’s past.
PositiveEntertainment Weekly...[a] quietly captivating novel ... Close, whose husband worked on Obama’s campaign, uses her knowledge of this world—and her experience as an outsider—expertly. Beth’s conversational narration feels like peering into the diary of someone who shares your deepest insecurities.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyWhat’s almost as impressive as Notaro’s now-thriving career and personal life is the fact that she’s still finding new ways to approach the same dreadful subject with her deadpan wit. This slim memoir takes an interior view, focusing far more on her thoughts and familial relationships than on her stand-up or fertility struggles, and adding more depth and emotion to an already mind-boggling series of events.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyVice is made visual in Vyleta’s sprawling, ambitious novel, a Dickensian tale tinged with fantasy and set roughly a century ago...lovely, visceral prose and expert pacing.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyErdrich suffuses the book with her particular sort of magic—an ability to treat each character with singular care, weaving their separate journeys flawlessly throughout the larger narrative, and making each person’s pain feel achingly real. All the while, she adds new depth to timeless concepts of revenge, culture, and family.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyBolick weaves memoir, feminist theory, and biographies of five forgone writers into a riveting, essential text ... Bolick’s voice crackles with wit, sharp criticism, and breathtaking metaphors as she makes an enticing case for spinsterhood.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyWhat initially seems like standard thriller fare—a young mother on the run from her scary husband, daughter in tow—unfolds into a mind-boggling investigation into questions of God and primordial language...Millet’s prose is stunning, but the complex philosophy can get convoluted, and some of the minor characters stay pretty flat. Still, you’ll have a hard time putting this down.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyThrough careful, delicate prose, Alvar reveals her characters’ pasts and desires, which range from saintly to shameful in this deeply religious culture. At times, her tales can veer into overwrought creative-writing exercises, as when a handicapped boy whom classmates compare to a mythical vampire finds a friend in a slum-dwelling girl with uncontrollable menses. But Alvar’s characters are engaging and memorable, and their homes swell with visceral smells and sounds as she places us gently, firmly, into their imperfect lives.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyAs the plot threads get tied up in unpredictable ways, The Turner House speeds along like a page-turner. Flournoy’s richly wrought prose and intimate, vivid dialogue make this novel feel like settling deeply into the family armchair.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyWith every tale [Link] conjures a different universe, each more captivating than the last. At first glance these realms don’t seem too far from our own, but soon their wild, mysterious corners are illuminated. In one, rich teens who have implants that render them invisible to cameras hire body doubles to pose for them in public. In another, young girls collect 'boyfriend' dolls that look and act more realistic than human boys. But just as you start to comprehend one world, its story ends. Luckily, this text is ripe for rereading—you’ll long to return the minute you leave.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyDiCamillo’s prose contains magical lines—'There was something scary about watching an adult sleep. It was as if no one at all were in charge of the world'—which grow even more poignant when you realize the sleeping adult is a mean drunk, and that the young girls are dealing with more than they even know. She also has a profound understanding of the way children collect bits of tossed-off wisdom from adults and turn them into a life manual. It’s a thrill to watch Raymie go through this process, uncovering truths and forming new questions along the way.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyYun makes the tension inside Kyung visceral and unbearable as the complex knot of anger and pity he wrestles with hardens into a confused rage. With its major events occurring at the book’s beginning and end, the middle is left as a sort of extended character study, where Yun skillfully makes Kyung’s unraveling feel fast-paced and urgent.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyIt turns out the history of unmarried women in this country is a fascinating one, which Traister recounts in compulsively readable detail, combining facts with personal stories from single ladies across racial and financial spectrums. What’s left after she joyfully dismantles conservative arguments about the death of wifely servitude is hope...
Nancy Jo Sales
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyIn urgent prose, Sales introduces her readers to (or reminds them of, depending on their age) the hallmarks of growing up in the Internet era, from slut-shaming to the rise of YouTube stars as role models. The studies Sales cites are illuminating, but she’s most compelling—and frightening—when observing these earnest girls navigating their natural habitats.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyDescendants and friends, along with famous folks like Joan Didion, Lauren Bacall, and Frank Gehry, reminisce about the Dohenys—a stupendously rich oil clan—and the famous Warner family, giving the book a deliciously gossipy feel. It’s less clear why Stein included the final three chapters on Jane Garland, Jennifer Jones, and her own family, the Steins, none of whom had the same cultural impact. Still, there’s nothing like delighting in others’ misery.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklySchiff is a masterful researcher, and the fact that she is able to conjure this world vividly enough to induce goose bumps is impressive...But partly because the witch trials themselves were repetitive and convoluted, the amount of detail Schiff has been able to resurrect weighs down the middle of the book.