Anne Sexton: A Biographyby Diane Wood Middlebrook, Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton began writing poetry at the age of twenty-nine to keep from killing herself. She held on to language for dear life and somehow in spite of alcoholism and the mental illness that ultimately led her to suicide managed to create a body of work that won a Pulitzer Prize and that still sings to thousands of readers. This exemplary biography, which was nominated for the National Book Award, provoked controversy for its revelations of infidelity and incest and its use of tapes from Sexton's psychiatric sessions. It reconciles the many Anne Sextons: the 1950s housewife; the abused child who became an abusive mother; the seductress; the suicide who carried "kill-me pills" in her handbag the way other women carry lipstick; and the poet who transmuted confession into lasting art.
"Judicious and canny. [Middlebrook] appreciates both Sexton's gifts as a poet and her attractive side as a human being...but looks at her destructive weaknesses with a steady eye." Time
"Sympathetic but resolutely unsentimental ... intelligent, sensitive, at times harrowing." Joyce Carol Oates, Washington Post Book World
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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I am an fan of Anne Sexton's work. I recommend the read for any Sexton lover. It was interesting to learn about Sexton's conversations with Dr.Orne. The transcripts give an invaluable look into Sexton's inner psyche. I was disappointed with Middlebrook's style of writing. She often gives her literary perceptions of Sexton's work which were dull in spots and tedious in reading. But, this book does give more factual information about Sexton's life. 3 stars sums it up ok but not great.