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In the Dream House: A Memoir

In the Dream House: A Memoir

In the Dream House: A Memoir: more info
Author: Carmen Maria Machado
ISBN: 1644450038
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Reviews / In the Dream House: A Memoir

A revolutionary memoir about domestic abuse by the award-winning author of Her Body and Other Parties

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope―the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman―through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.

Machado’s dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.

An Amazon Best Book of November 2019: The shattering memoir In the Dream House from Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) pivots around the small house in Bloomington, Indiana, that Machado’s girlfriend moves into shortly after they meet. This cozy domestic abode soon turns into a harrowing locus of emotional abuse. Short chapter after short chapter initially seem like pieces from five different puzzles as Machado describes the lead up to the relationship, the months of attacks, and the roller-coaster aftermath. But the ultimate picture Machado builds is brave and bold. Machado’s raw language and vulnerability unveils the deep confusion and pain from abuse that falls outside traditional expectations. At the same time, Machado puts her own strengths on display as she refuses to adhere to a memoir’s customary (and comfortable) structure. This isn’t a book for everyone. The cover design alone might give the prospective reader a hint as to the style of the journey ahead. But those who read In the Dream House will likely never forget it. —Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review

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