Review: Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey

Review by Marisa K.

Overall 5/10

Publisher Summary: A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey investigates this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

Review- I felt like the first part of the book (pg1-74) was very slow. In my opinion, the author spent too much time over-describing things that weren’t that important to the story. I would have preferred more anecdotes about what happened in her childhood then whole paragraphs describing minor things like a ditch In the rest of the book, the storyline picked up a lot and was much more interesting. And while I realize that the book is about the authors experience with this trauma, I thought it was strange that her brothers whereabouts/story were basically left out. We never find out what happens to Joey. She even mentions the grandmother at the police station and the birth father coming to get the two ladies. Did anyone tell Joey his mother died? Were the siblings able to comfort each other? Did he just disappear? Super weird that she left his part out. Also, what about the authors relationship with her birth father? Did she get to visit him? Did he know what was going on? Or Joel’s family? It mentions his mother was in the same situation. Did they interact with them as a family? How did that go? I felt like there were a lot of loose ends in this book.

Book will be out July 28, 2020 PRE-ORDER HERE

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