Wednesday, December 7, 2016

An Abbreviated Life


Today's post is on An Abbreviated Life by Ariel Leve. It is 288 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. The cover is white with a picture of the author in the center. There is foul language, mild sexuality, and no violence in this book. The intended reader is someone interested in memoirs and the very interesting prose style. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The unconventional world Ariel inhabited was dominated by her mother, a gifted but unstable poet without boundaries or self-restraint. Mother and daughter lived in a penthouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which was the setting for raucous parties that attached New York's cultural and intellectual elite: Gloria Steinem, Norman Mailer, and Andy Warhol, to name a few. For all its glamour, this was a universe that was neither predictable nor safe.
With her beloved father living in Southeast Asia and the death  of a nurturing caretaker, Ariel was left as a child to navigate an emotionally perilous landscape. It took four decades before she was able to make sense of the aftershocks of childhood, which eventually necessitated a voyage in secret to the other side of the world.
In stripped-down prose, Leve paints an indelible portrait of her upbringing and the long fight to tunnel her way out of darkness. The drama of her journey proves to be as exhilarating as it is painful and, ultimately, emancipating. An Abbreviated Life heralds the arrival of a fearless new voice in the literary firmament.

Review- This is a heartbreaking  read. Leve starts with the death of the caretaker next to her as they are flying back to New York from spending the summer with her father in southeast Asia. She does not spare any details of her life with her mother and all the chaos that was there. For once in Leve's life her mother is not the main character; Leve is. Leve spends her life trying to recover from her childhood with a unhealthy mother who needs more than Leve could or should ever give her. Leve has troubled relationships with everyone around her because of her mother. Not just because of the emotional and mental scars from her mother but because her mother had to be involved with everything. But it end on a hopeful note that Leve may, in time, be able to have a happy life of her own.

I give this memoir a Four out of Five stars. I was given this book to review by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.