Hunger Artist: A Suburban Childhood

Joanne Jacobson, Author
Joanne Jacobson, Author . Bottom Dog $16 (136p) ISBN 978-1-933964-11-9
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Baby boomer Jacobson builds a compelling and intimate memoir of larger-than-life characters and artfully presented daily minutiae, but the details of family vacations, secret pastry binges and car accidents are left unanchored by present-day analysis of their significance. The essays are hypnotic, although mystifying at times. Jacobson's substantive reflection never quite equals her skill for evocative description, which shines on almost every page, or allows details to transcend their illustrative function and convey the story behind the experiences. Without a driving viewpoint, the sections blur together. Overall, there's no plot, transformation or sense of cohesion, partly due to a lack of emotional range; scenes of gardening, Kennedy's death, rape and eating a hamburger are rendered with a similar tone. More utilitarian prose is needed for these tableaux to carry emotional weight, although they do form a tender and honest suburban slideshow of a complex era. (Nov.)

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