10 Light-Your-Hair-on-Fire Memoirs
Unforgettable, classic, real-life stories. Read—and live the wiser for it.
Listening to one person tell another person's story can be boring; immediacy, after all, is the key to a compelling narrative. But Brockes nails you to each page. The truths she discovers about her mother's life are horrifying—but always told with humor, pathos and such brilliant, apply-to-all-of-us sentences as the one about "people whom you can't be alone in a room with because their pain is your own." Ultimately, however, this memoir belongs not to Brockes but to Paula. How did one woman survive such abuse and degradation, only to emerge not just alive, but loving? What distinguishes those who recover and those who fall down and often, in falling down, drag everyone else down with them? Perhaps the answer to these questions is found in a story told by Paula's younger sister: When all the children in the family bought Paula pink silk pajamas for her 21st birthday, she was so delighted that she stripped down immediately and walked out of the house, the young kids screaming with delight. "Everything that matters," says that younger sister, "came from her."