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8: a Memoir

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The Mania of Early Motherhood, the intimacy of marriage, and the quest for healing are raw materials from which critically acclaimed writer Amy Fusselman has wrought her latest work--a daring exploration of the perversities of time. The same idiosyncratic and inimitable form Fusselman created in the astonishingly original The Pharmacist's Mate--short, staccato paragraphs, The Mania of Early Motherhood, the intimacy of marriage, and the quest for healing are raw materials from which critically acclaimed writer Amy Fusselman has wrought her latest work--a daring exploration of the perversities of time. The same idiosyncratic and inimitable form Fusselman created in the astonishingly original The Pharmacist's Mate--short, staccato paragraphs, some reading like journal entries--lends intimacy to her reflections and observations. From her experiences with the man she calls "my pedophile" to the more domestic trials of sleep training her infant son or her obsession with a Beastie Boys song, Fusselman moves from one subject to the next with the freeform exuberance of a child at play. Sometimes the topic is abstract and grand, such as her contemplation of what Time is; other times, she focuses on the seemingly trivial and mundane aspects of life. The idea of learning through repetition and the automatic motions of humans are metaphorically represented by the countles figure eights she performed as a child on the ice. Family is ever present in 8 and Fusselman writes with inclusive tenderness, extending this intimacy to the reader as well. Her efforts to come to terms with the ideas of innocence, aging, and the healing power of touch draw the reader in still deeper--the uplifting revelations staying with you long after the last page is turned.


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The Mania of Early Motherhood, the intimacy of marriage, and the quest for healing are raw materials from which critically acclaimed writer Amy Fusselman has wrought her latest work--a daring exploration of the perversities of time. The same idiosyncratic and inimitable form Fusselman created in the astonishingly original The Pharmacist's Mate--short, staccato paragraphs, The Mania of Early Motherhood, the intimacy of marriage, and the quest for healing are raw materials from which critically acclaimed writer Amy Fusselman has wrought her latest work--a daring exploration of the perversities of time. The same idiosyncratic and inimitable form Fusselman created in the astonishingly original The Pharmacist's Mate--short, staccato paragraphs, some reading like journal entries--lends intimacy to her reflections and observations. From her experiences with the man she calls "my pedophile" to the more domestic trials of sleep training her infant son or her obsession with a Beastie Boys song, Fusselman moves from one subject to the next with the freeform exuberance of a child at play. Sometimes the topic is abstract and grand, such as her contemplation of what Time is; other times, she focuses on the seemingly trivial and mundane aspects of life. The idea of learning through repetition and the automatic motions of humans are metaphorically represented by the countles figure eights she performed as a child on the ice. Family is ever present in 8 and Fusselman writes with inclusive tenderness, extending this intimacy to the reader as well. Her efforts to come to terms with the ideas of innocence, aging, and the healing power of touch draw the reader in still deeper--the uplifting revelations staying with you long after the last page is turned.

30 review for 8: a Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Franki

    I love Amy Fusselman. Do I want to marry her? Maybe. Maybe not. I do want to read everything she ever writes. I love her voice, which is the voice in my head if it were braver, wiser, and funnier. Which is to say: I relate to whatever she is doing or thinking about, which is usually the mundane task of getting through life as a mother, wife and artist. These are all high-difficulty when performed alone, but of course they overlap, messily. For example one cannot read novels, she points out, whil I love Amy Fusselman. Do I want to marry her? Maybe. Maybe not. I do want to read everything she ever writes. I love her voice, which is the voice in my head if it were braver, wiser, and funnier. Which is to say: I relate to whatever she is doing or thinking about, which is usually the mundane task of getting through life as a mother, wife and artist. These are all high-difficulty when performed alone, but of course they overlap, messily. For example one cannot read novels, she points out, while taking care of small children in the same room without doing both things in a manner that would be best described as half-assed. Also, she elliptically chronicles the ugly, dark parts of life as they too overlap with the funny, warm fuzzy parts of life, messily. To say more about the subjects she tackles in these realms would be a bit of a spoiler. Let's just say, her writing is somehow light as a feather and heavy as lead, funny and tragic, resilient and frail. I like my writers complicated and self-aware. Maybe I do want to marry her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I loved this quirky book. A random library find, I took it with me today and ended up starting & finishing it. Not only is it not a long book, it's a short read. The author gives short narrative stories on parts of her life ranging from childhood to adulthood, her relationship with her mother, with her therapists, and with her healers. The author hooked me right away with her descriptions on time. From the first line, "Events in time are not -- boom -- over. they have tentacles, and they wrap ar I loved this quirky book. A random library find, I took it with me today and ended up starting & finishing it. Not only is it not a long book, it's a short read. The author gives short narrative stories on parts of her life ranging from childhood to adulthood, her relationship with her mother, with her therapists, and with her healers. The author hooked me right away with her descriptions on time. From the first line, "Events in time are not -- boom -- over. they have tentacles, and they wrap around, and they swish back and forth, and they sink and swim." I found the writings to be interesting, thought provoking, and often humourous.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I devoured this book like I would a package of Double Stuff Oreos. I might eat too many before I look up to see if anyone noticed and then forget what I was doing and go back for more. That is a crappy review for this book. I am glad that I bought this short little book so that I can pick it up and play page roulette whenever I want. I will never attempt to describe this book to anyone as words will fail me. If you read it and hate it, don't tell me. If you love it, let's be best friends. I devoured this book like I would a package of Double Stuff Oreos. I might eat too many before I look up to see if anyone noticed and then forget what I was doing and go back for more. That is a crappy review for this book. I am glad that I bought this short little book so that I can pick it up and play page roulette whenever I want. I will never attempt to describe this book to anyone as words will fail me. If you read it and hate it, don't tell me. If you love it, let's be best friends.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pia

    I'd follow Amy Fusselman anywhere, through anything. She wrote an amazing essay cutdown from this book for the NYT Magazine a while back - http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/mag... I'd follow Amy Fusselman anywhere, through anything. She wrote an amazing essay cutdown from this book for the NYT Magazine a while back - http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/mag...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kyla

    A book length essay, the "new" non-fiction, a muse on life and motorcycles and children - well-written but I'm not sure it's "book worthy", without some added striking design or illustrations or something. Like a real-life zine that made it to hardcover which isn't bad - just mysterious. A book length essay, the "new" non-fiction, a muse on life and motorcycles and children - well-written but I'm not sure it's "book worthy", without some added striking design or illustrations or something. Like a real-life zine that made it to hardcover which isn't bad - just mysterious.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Kelley

    i really thought i would dig this diary-memoir-novel genre but so much of it is just BLAH

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Sheets

    This is a charming, compact memoir. Fusselman is especially witty about raising young children. She describes the "robotic" quality of parental love, such as the endless verses of "ABC twinkly spider bus." Her boys are into monster trucks, and so she and her husband start watching monster truck videos: "At times, I could not help thinking that [watching these videos] was exactly like watching a giant metal puppy repeatedly jumping onto a pile of giant metal pillows" (24). Fusselman's humor doesn This is a charming, compact memoir. Fusselman is especially witty about raising young children. She describes the "robotic" quality of parental love, such as the endless verses of "ABC twinkly spider bus." Her boys are into monster trucks, and so she and her husband start watching monster truck videos: "At times, I could not help thinking that [watching these videos] was exactly like watching a giant metal puppy repeatedly jumping onto a pile of giant metal pillows" (24). Fusselman's humor doesn't shortchange the painful story at the book's core. She can have both. Her jaunty paraphrase of the Beastie Boys' "Ch-Check it Out" is also not to be missed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim Loup

    This was so unique and so beautiful. I haven’t read anything else like it; I don’t really even know what to call it. Not a memoir; a collection of philosophical musings and memories? Whatever it is, it’s really insightful, really thought-provoking, full of moments that made me sit back and stare into space for a minute and just say “huh.” Great. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Popp

    This book is about a lot of things, but the most touching part is about the author's childhood sexual abuse and her journey towards healing. I really enjoyed it and love the author's short and succinct writing style. This book is about a lot of things, but the most touching part is about the author's childhood sexual abuse and her journey towards healing. I really enjoyed it and love the author's short and succinct writing style.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pablo Gazzaneo

    At times, I could not help thinking that was exactly like watching a giant metal puppy repeatedly jumping onto a pile of giant metal pillows

  11. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    i loved this. her brain works in a way that i can really understand. it reminds me a little of miranda july's brain (as seen through her short stories and her audio recordings) in that it radically free associates and has an awesome command of metaphor and oddness. it feels a bit like reading a blog, but that doesn't take away from the reading experience. the new form is actually kind of nice. from monster trucks to the beastie boys to surviving sexual abuse, she shows you a whole new world in the i loved this. her brain works in a way that i can really understand. it reminds me a little of miranda july's brain (as seen through her short stories and her audio recordings) in that it radically free associates and has an awesome command of metaphor and oddness. it feels a bit like reading a blog, but that doesn't take away from the reading experience. the new form is actually kind of nice. from monster trucks to the beastie boys to surviving sexual abuse, she shows you a whole new world in the things you thought you had pinned down. and it is beautiful and funny.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Powells.com

    I am not usually interested in memoirs. They normally tend towards narcissism and inflated self-importance; however, Amy Fusselman's was written with careful attention to the beautiful, collective experiences of which life is composed. She also touches on a childhood trauma that she has since overcome (though still affects her), yet it is never the focal point of the memoir. Rather, it serves to emphasize universal feelings and fears we all have realized at some point. She also integrates themes I am not usually interested in memoirs. They normally tend towards narcissism and inflated self-importance; however, Amy Fusselman's was written with careful attention to the beautiful, collective experiences of which life is composed. She also touches on a childhood trauma that she has since overcome (though still affects her), yet it is never the focal point of the memoir. Rather, it serves to emphasize universal feelings and fears we all have realized at some point. She also integrates themes of parenting, self-expression, and the significance of life. Recommended by Jamie, Powells.com

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Felton

    This is one of the best biographies I have ever read. Though, admittedly, I am not a biography fan. It is written as a series of vignettes that tie together a myriad of themes including but not exclusively, abuse, childhood, motorcycles and how they symbolize freedom and renewal, family, etc etc. She takes really small, insignificant moments or experiences, blows them up, and then examines what they really mean or how really lovely life is if you can look at those things in a critical way.

  14. 5 out of 5

    C.E. G

    A tapestry of a memoir weaving together her thoughts on monster trucks, surviving sexual abuse, celebrity sightings, figure skating, sleep training, craniosacral therapy, energy healing, and motherhood. At first it felt a little contrived, but then I started stumbling upon passages that I really loved. I loved the scene of sleep training her oldest boy, I love the phrasing "I had a pedophile," I loved her description of her relationship to her body. Interesting and quick read. A tapestry of a memoir weaving together her thoughts on monster trucks, surviving sexual abuse, celebrity sightings, figure skating, sleep training, craniosacral therapy, energy healing, and motherhood. At first it felt a little contrived, but then I started stumbling upon passages that I really loved. I loved the scene of sleep training her oldest boy, I love the phrasing "I had a pedophile," I loved her description of her relationship to her body. Interesting and quick read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    A series of prose poems in loosely related paragraphs. Covers the idea of time, memory, Beastie Boys, motorcycles, motherhood, energy healing, childhood abuse. Fusselman is affiliated with McSweeney's, I loved her other book The Pharmacist's Mate, which is similar but more centered on the death of her father. A series of prose poems in loosely related paragraphs. Covers the idea of time, memory, Beastie Boys, motorcycles, motherhood, energy healing, childhood abuse. Fusselman is affiliated with McSweeney's, I loved her other book The Pharmacist's Mate, which is similar but more centered on the death of her father.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Possibly the weirdest memoir I've read recently. She somehow ties monster trucks, motorcycles, craniosacral therapy, pedophiles, the Beastie Boys and ice skating into one cohesive tale about raising kids and being a kid. I dig it. Possibly the weirdest memoir I've read recently. She somehow ties monster trucks, motorcycles, craniosacral therapy, pedophiles, the Beastie Boys and ice skating into one cohesive tale about raising kids and being a kid. I dig it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    A Another gem from Amy Fusselman; she deals with being molested as a child by her babysitter, learning how to ride a motorcycle, and life. I love her simple and fantastic way of writing; highly enjoyable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Amy Fusselman wanted to include the lyrics to a Beastie Boys song in this memoir but the publisher wouldn't pay the permissions fee. Instead, she paraphrases the lyrics to the entire song. This is an exemplary moment in a brilliant book. Amy Fusselman wanted to include the lyrics to a Beastie Boys song in this memoir but the publisher wouldn't pay the permissions fee. Instead, she paraphrases the lyrics to the entire song. This is an exemplary moment in a brilliant book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    A really lovely memoir about energy healing and touch and time and motorcycle riding and being a parent but overall about joy, and possibility. It's also one of the most beautifully designed books I've ever seen. A really lovely memoir about energy healing and touch and time and motorcycle riding and being a parent but overall about joy, and possibility. It's also one of the most beautifully designed books I've ever seen.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    A great little memoir, I love the form of short paragraphs in literature. Like a collection of short prose poems. Fusselman is thoughtful and funny.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I love her style...almost like we are talking...or I should say she is talking to me and I am listening

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julian

    short but sweet, very meandering memoir about being a mom, non-traditional healing/medicine, child abuse, and learning to ride a motorcycle.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    It's like inhaling the scent of mud in spring. Sweet (not too sweet), real, and a comfort because it reminds you of what you forgot you knew -- and adds to that the optimism you didn't have yet. It's like inhaling the scent of mud in spring. Sweet (not too sweet), real, and a comfort because it reminds you of what you forgot you knew -- and adds to that the optimism you didn't have yet.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    After I read it I told a friend: I think this is the kind of book I would write if I wrote a book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    K

    a touch self-indulgent (okay, i know it's a memoir, but really), but generally of interest, and a quick read at that. a touch self-indulgent (okay, i know it's a memoir, but really), but generally of interest, and a quick read at that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    hmm. i liked it. read it in one day. parts of it i loved. parts of it warranted skimming. i expected more from the last page. after pharmacist's mate, i expected more. hmm. i liked it. read it in one day. parts of it i loved. parts of it warranted skimming. i expected more from the last page. after pharmacist's mate, i expected more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eoin

    4.4 Another impossible book in Fusselman's indescribable style. I am not equipped to review this book beyond recommending it universally. Worth it for the discussion of Gravedigger. 4.4 Another impossible book in Fusselman's indescribable style. I am not equipped to review this book beyond recommending it universally. Worth it for the discussion of Gravedigger.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Couple of sections didn't do much for me but the bottom of p. 62 to the bottom of page 63 is like wow, oh wow, bingo, worth the whole book right there. Couple of sections didn't do much for me but the bottom of p. 62 to the bottom of page 63 is like wow, oh wow, bingo, worth the whole book right there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anne Kadet

    Animal? Vegetable? Breakfast? Lunch? Linner? WHAT?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Cassandra

    incredible memoir. one of my favorite books.

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