cover image Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

Gina Frangello. Counterpoint, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64009-316-4

In this searing memoir, novelist Frangello (Every Kind of Wanting) charts the spectacular highs and devastating lows of her midlife with extraordinary candor. Frangello was married for years to her husband, a reliable but quick-tempered man with whom she shared three kids, when she fell “madly in love” and began an affair with a married writer. Frangello celebrated rediscovering her sexuality, but things took a devastating turn after her daughters read her text messages and discovered she was cheating on her husband. Feeling like a “monster,” she confessed to her husband. The marriage quickly disintegrated, and seven months after their separation, Frangello was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then the divorce turned ugly; Frangello’s husband, she writes, “turned off all the utilities in the home I lived in with our three children” and “drained our joint bank account to zero” shortly after she began chemotherapy. Meanwhile, she was taking care of her aging parents as they deteriorated and eventually died. Frangello describes this bold and tumultuous period of her life in intimate and remarkable detail, and despite the tumult celebrates her own resilience. This unapologetic account both moves and fascinates. (Apr.)