Thursday, June 13, 2013
Emma Brockes, SHE LEFT ME THE GUN: MY MOTHER'S LIFE BEFORE ME
A very well written memoir by a woman whose mother left a horrifying family situation in South Africa to recraft a life for herself in London. The mother Paula said nothing to the author Emma for many years about what she endured in Africa, and after her mother's deaht, Emma, who is a journalist by trade, spent months digging up records and interviewing family to find out what had happened there and why her mother bequeathed her a gun. Compassionate, thoughtful, and productively messy, his book raises all sorts of questions about what it means to protect your child--either with silence(because some stories just should not be told to children) or by making conscious choices not to do what your parents did; and about when exploring the past crosses the line from enlightening to exhausting. The preface opens: "My grandmother thought she was marrying someone vibrant and exciting, a man with wavy hair and tremendous energy. He was a talented carpenter, a talented artist, a convicted murderer, and a very bad poet."