cover image Breaking the Curse: A Memoir About Trauma, Healing, and Italian Witchcraft

Breaking the Curse: A Memoir About Trauma, Healing, and Italian Witchcraft

Alex DiFrancesco. Seven Stories, $18.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-64421-384-1

DiFrancesco (Transmutations) delivers an innovative account of the forces that ushered them toward self-actualization. While pursuing an MFA in Cleveland, Ohio, DiFrancesco was raped by a friend. Shortly after the attack, they published an essay about it in an unnamed magazine with hopes that sharing their experience would help them heal. Instead, DiFrancesco was shunned by their MFA cohort and their abuser sued them for defamation. After this fallout, DiFrancesco checked into a mental health crisis center, where they stumbled on a book about Italian folk magic while shopping on their Kindle. They felt an ancestral connection to the practice based on their Italian heritage and their tempestuous relationship with their family, which was partially due to their tumultuous experiences as a trans child. Through prayer and such rituals as altar-making, DiFrancesco gradually came to a new understanding of not only their assault but also their lifelong struggles with substance abuse. Spells, devotions, pro/con lists, and fill-in-the-blank sections are woven into the text, immersing readers in the author’s nonlinear thought process and blurring the lines between memoir, self-help, and spiritual guide. The results are singular and—for open-minded readers—potentially transformative. Agent: Natalie Kimber, Rights Factory. (June)