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Book of days : personal essays
Emily Fox Gordon
Adult Nonfiction PS3607.O5936 B66 2010

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From Publishers' Weekly:

After publishing two memoirs (Mockingbird Years; Are You Happy?) and a novel (It Will Come To Me), Gordon claims the personal essay as her chosen metier. "What I seem to want to do. is not to have experiences but to think and tell about them," Gordon asserts. Touching on several subjects-her childhood as a "faculty brat," her experiences in therapy, her husband's colonoscopy, a niece's wedding, and a conference of philosophers among them-this collection is self-absorbed and tedious. For example, the author shares a few pages of random notes jotted at the conference ("A guy with a canvas Brentano bag, looking dyspeptic and confused."), but fails to derive any meaning, or even much humor, from her musings. Her combative but successful marriage and her "sense of exclusion" provide repetitive fodder for rumination, while extraordinary events in her life, such as an illegal abortion and being raped, are given only glancing looks. Gordon's "thinking aloud" makes the reader feel superfluous. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This is a gathering of Gordon's autobiographical essays, effectively her third memoir, after Mockingbird Years and Are Your Happy? Readers will find the author often revisiting experiences covered in those previous books, such as her teenage time as a psychiatric patient at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA, and her subsequent decades in various forms of therapy. She discusses such epidsodes as classic transference, of feeling beleaguered by the system, of individual, group, and couples therapy (she has had each kind), and of feeling as if she has seen her last therapist. She uses psychiatric jargon with ease and relates stories about her therapy with humor and bluntness, showing how therapy has informed her life, from being a young faculty brat to being a newlywed, graduate student, faculty wife, writer, and mother. Verdict Naturally, as essays originally published separately, this book does not provide one unfolding story. There is redundancy both among the essays and between them and her previous memoirs. Those who like autobiographical pieces on therapy and/or recovery-and who have not read Gordon's previous titles-might appreciate this collection more than those familiar with her memoirs.-Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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