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You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir

por Maggie Smith

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2671298,055 (4.35)5
The award-winning poet explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself, interweaving snapshots of a life with meditations on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and narrative itself and revealing how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something beautiful.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is a poignant memoir of the dissolution of the author's marriage. She brings all of her poetic skills to demonstrating the cycles of grief, pain, mourning, and healing that comes with loss. Her meditations reveal the personal aspects of her experiences without divulging the private aspects. In doing so, some of the personal becomes universal. The gender inequality of the invisible labor in the home, including the emotional work of parenting children is one of the universal aspects.

I found the writing engaging and powerful and appreciated the author's ability to work around the issue of loss and create something whole in the end. ( )
  tangledthread | Jan 17, 2024 |
A very personal, poignant and moving memoir about her divorce, written in short, sometimes even one line, chapters. Some reviews on other sites had a hard time with her authorial intrusions, e.g. "Reader, I'm not going to tell you everything." I found this narrative device, as well as the occasional chapters in third person narration of a play, intrusive and slightly irritating, but (and I may not be correct about this) I attributed these shifts as Smith's own psychological need to briefly distance herself from all the honest pain she was recounting. And so I'll subtract just half a star, as I struggled with the distancing these devices created in me. ( )
  bobbieharv | Dec 23, 2023 |
A memoir written by a poet, filled with patterns and looping motifs, an awareness of literary elements from poetry, drama, and fiction ("a note on character"); she sometimes envisions herself as being in a play, playing the role of the "finder": a wife who finds a postcard to another woman in her husband's briefcase, leading, eventually, to divorce. She writes about her marriage, her work, her miscarriages, her children, social media, therapy, the pandemic, the experience of having a viral poem ("Good Bones"). She writes with honesty but tells the reader when she is holding back. Quotes from other creatives are scattered throughout.

Quotes/notes

"I am out with lanterns, looking for myself" -Emily Dickinson (epigraph)

This is not a tell-all, it is a tell-mine

The truth is simple but it is not easy

Narrative is knowledge about the future (Sarah Ruhl)

A friend says every book begins with an unanswerable question. Then what is mine?

A note on foreshadowing

inciting incidents

betrayal is neat

"Good Bones" (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones)

the past is gone but we carry it with us

nesting dolls

what happens if you don't process what has happened to you?

"Picture of My Dress" (Mountain Goats) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 14, 2023 |
Smith is a poet and her craft is wonderfully on display in this memoir about the breakdown of her marriage. She explores the gender inequality of invisible labor, but does so with not a technical term in sight. It’s more about finding yourself when you are lost, and how disorienting that process can be. I finished the book with a sense of hope, and a desire to grab a beer with the author and continue the conversation. ( )
1 vote bookworm12 | Sep 14, 2023 |
Beautiful prose about very difficult experiences. Loved her reading in the audio ( )
  carolfoisset | Aug 31, 2023 |
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I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.
-- Emily Dickinson
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I wanted this book to have more levity. More than that, I wanted the life to have more levity. Reader, I wish I could offer you 20 percent more wit and 20 percent less pain, and I wish life had offered me those bonuses and discounts, too. But to play devil's advocate: It's okay to have feelings. You don't have to laugh them off. You don't have to turn everything painful that happens into a self-deprecating joke in which you and your suffering are the punchline. It's okay to put away the sad trombone. It's okay to show up as your whole self, to come as you are. (footnote, p. 276)
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The award-winning poet explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself, interweaving snapshots of a life with meditations on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and narrative itself and revealing how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something beautiful.

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