Friday, May 7, 2021

A fury-fueled memoir of a matrimonial relationship

Lower under your house
A story of family, feminism and treason
By Gina Frangelo

Have pity on the one who writes the poor memoir. The urge to dig memory does not come from a place of satisfaction. Add to this that readers may approach with suspicion a link to the genre or schadenfreude. I can’t tell you how many times “I don’t know how you do it.” You should feel so exposed, “as if there is a subcategory of the writer who is very damaged or deranged to learn that he has gone on a public strike. To be clear, memoir – good memoir – is not public striptease. But it is in criticism of the memoir that the greatest spread (and it is an art form) is made in the form of art. All too often, it is life that is judged and reviewed, not the literary merit of the work.

Gina Franglo finds this out and in “Blow Your House Down”, her uneven, provocative book, tries to vaccinate herself against such a reaction. I’m not sure I’ve ever read, much less reviewed, a memoir that has gotten under my skin the way it is one. Just ask my editor. I tried to opt out of this review, as I found myself staring frangelo sternly, like checking notes Hey, God And Stay And No!! In the margins. To be sure, Frangelo’s life is hard: a childhood marked by violence and poverty, an adulthood alternately tried to repair or advance that childhood. She suffers physical anguish, suffers the loss of her best friend, takes care of her elderly parents and by the end of the book finds herself diagnosed with cancer. The last thing I felt was that due to this, its formidable mountains are crumbling. But I am falling into the same critical trap. After all, as Vivian Gornick once wrote, “What happened to the author does not matter; It matters how much sense it makes for the writer to make What happened? “

Originally the story of a destructive love affair that extended her marriage, her family and her life, “Blow Your House Down” presents itself as a feminist manifesto, and its author between the two poles Ghoomas are the largest number about writing. Self-revenge and justification bordering on self-congratulation. She makes rapid detours in the fast-twisting loops, sometimes arriving at the same details, questions and conclusions over and over again, without deepening her scrutiny. She begins by placing herself and her story in a sociopolitical context, hoping, one can only assume, to escalate it by association: “You may have noticed that anger is making a comeback for women,” she writes quickly. is. “It would be fair to say that this is the moment I’ve been waiting for since sixth grade.” The problem is that, in middle age, Frangelo thinks she may have missed the boat. “I’ve become too old … punched. As the women are finally getting up to condemn their widespread treatment by men, I’m left with nudity that has no victims. Rather, I I have cheated, I have lied, I have done harm. I have been selfish and governed by my desires … In other words, I have conducted myself like a man, Despite being a mother, and that’s why I’ve probably given up my claim on the woman’s temper. “

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