My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It's not often that a reader gets treated with a memoir that doubles up as an interesting page-turner. I found this book thoroughly captivating. Set in chronological essay form, the memoirs capture the life of the author, her reminiscences of her life this far, memories of survival, growing up in the shade of the warmth of her parents' affection, all beautifully woven into this book.
It's hard to classify this book as just a memoir. It touches existential philosophy at a deep level, making the reader retrospect about their life in turn. It's true that many questions in life go unanswered, but what is at times important is how well a lesson has been learnt, even in hindsight. The chronicles in the book reflect on this very point at many instances.
Overall, this was a brilliant read and I highly recommend this to everyone!
My rating for this book: 5 stars
View all my reviews
The Ambivalent Memoirist
by Sandra Hurtes
“. . .[an] honest memoir full of compassion and wit that infuses ordinary events with intimacy and intensity. . .Teaching college English courses and preparing her first essay collection, she must address her own pain. . .as well as her parents’ experiences during the Holocaust. . . Writing as art and psychological salvation is at the heart of this book, taking “readers deep below the surface” of words toward personal vindication.”
Some people call moving through life without a plan “acting on faith.” I moved without a plan because of bona fide fear—fear that I would live out my whole life within the landscape of that twenty-seven-year apartment. It held memories of all I had and hadn’t achieved, along with my deepest grief for my mother. I must have been really scared, because I don’t move easily about the world. In fact, when the [graduate school] acceptance letters came in (and everyone but Missoula said yes), I chose the graduate program built on Manhattan concrete.
My Review of The Ambivalent Memoirist
I received a copy of this book from the author through Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
In The Ambivalent Memoirist Sandra Hurtes asks, “Where is my place?” She’s a single and childfree woman at midlife, whose parents were Holocaust survivors. Through writing, teaching, knitting, and yoga, Sandra searches for her place, one that is devoid of the trauma of her parents’ past.
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is amazing! I found myself reading absolutely every word because it is poetry in plain prose. I could completely relate to this fear of moving through life that Hurtes speaks of in the book because, I too, “get a great rush from proving my limited beliefs of myself wrong”.
The book’s chapters are set up in an essay-like form in a chronological order of life events, most taking place in New York where she spent a good portion of her life. Hurtes descriptions of New York made me highly reminiscent of the city as I read, since I too, have family that live there.
Trying to grow out beyond your parents’ shadow is tough, and sometimes, it is comforting to have that shadow following you in life. I could see hints of my own Grandfather, who came to America from Italy and lived through the Depression through Hurtes father, Bernard as I read about the Magnavox TV. That kind of love is something my own Grandfather had too!
I highly recommend this memoir and look forward to reading more works from Sandra Hurtes.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sandra Hurtes is the author of The Ambivalent Memoirist and the essay collection On My Way to Someplace Else. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and this legacy is examined in her work. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the English Department at John Jay College and teaches creative nonfiction in private workshops.
Sandra will be awarding a copy of her book in the winner’s choice of either print (US only) or digital to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.