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PDF/EPUB Meghan Daum ç The Unspeakable And Other Subjects of Discussion ePUB ç

Winner of the 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Creative NonfictionDaum is her generation's Joan Didion — NylonNearly fifteen years after her debut collection My Misspent Youth captured the ambitions and anxieties of a generation Meghan Daum returns to the personal essay with The Unspeakable a masterful collection of ten new works Her old encounters with overdrawn bank accounts and oversized ambitions in the big city have given way to a new set of challenges The first essay Matricide opens without flinching People who weren't there like to say that my mother died at home surrounded by loving family This is technically true though it was just my brother and me and he was looking at Facebook and I was reading a profile of Hillary Clinton in the December 2009 issue of Vogue Elsewhere she carefully weighs the decision to have children—I simply felt no calling to be a parent As a role as my role it felt inauthentic and inorganic—and finds a fulfilling path as a court appointed advocate for foster children In other essays she skewers the marriage industrial complex and recounts a harrowing near death experience following a sudden illness Throughout Daum pushes back against the false sentimentality and shrink wrapped platitudes that surround so much of contemporary American experience and considers the unspeakable thoughts many of us harbor—that we might not love our parents enough that life's pleasures sometimes feel like chores that life's ultimate lesson may be that we often learn nothing But Daum also operates in a comic register With perfect precision she reveals the absurdities of the New Age search for the Best Possible Experience champions the merits of cream of mushroom soup casserole and gleefully recounts a quintessential only in LA story of playing charades at a famous person's home Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron's Daum dissects our culture's most dangerous illusions blind spots and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion Through it all she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete


10 thoughts on “The Unspeakable And Other Subjects of Discussion

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    There are 4 and even 5 star essays in this collection and they were an absolute revelation to read Right out of the gate Matricide is close to perfect However there is also a big ol 1 star er right in the middle see mid book review below that angered befuddled and mystified me And so I settle on a 3 star review not in the way I give most things 3 stars eh I liked reading it but can't say it was remarkable and instead with a frustrated shake of my head and a grumble I'll seek out of Daum definitely but also can't seem to shake the anxiety I felt when reading Honorary Dyke It feels uncool in this day and age to admit to being offended and like it ends up seeming like a compliment to the author for their daring nature But because it's nagging me so much I will say it the essay offended me Whether it offended me as a queer person or as a similarly privileged white lady who wants to believe we can talk about our experiences with an ounce of awareness and originality I'm still figuring out My offense is not a testimony to Daum's daringness in this essay although she is plenty daring elsewhere but to her laziness in not thinking through this essay and her own role critically It was such a glaring weak spot in the book and such a disappointment and just exactly what I didn't want from this book I feel a little bit heart broken about it My review as of page 106 or so ahhhh Meaghan Daum why have you done this to me? Or why didn't your editor stop you? Here I was devouring the wonder that is your book the precision and grandiosity and beauty of your sentences and churning mind and then I hit Honorary Dyke When the essay stops short of being offensive it's simply embarrassing It doesn't reflect the same self awareness and begrudging maturity of the rest of the essays but instead seems plucked from the mind of the 21 year old college kid who is the main focus of the essay and is completely tone deaf It's clear Daum thinks she's aware of her own position as a regrettably straight lady but her cliche observations about different types of lesbians her casual gender essentialism cool girl misogyny privileged take on life as a series of joining whatever teams she wants claiming of the word butch for herself and her decisions about who else might qualify as such and casual use of the word trannies comes across less as knowing irony and as oblivious self indulgence I'm so freaking disappointed I was so smitten with this book so wise so beautiful so funny and particularly loved that the author is in her 40s and not the sort of 20 something that might write an ode to the dyke she's not and this essay justsigh man What a bummer