Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir

Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir

by Laurie Albanese
     
 

Blue Suburbia is a searing memoir so fresh, original, and honest that it will break your heart and renew your faith in the human spirit.

With each spare stroke of her pen, Laurie Lico Albanese paints a vivid portrait of the blue-collar landscape of her childhood — rusted swing sets, auto body shops, greasy hands, home improvements — taking

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Overview

Blue Suburbia is a searing memoir so fresh, original, and honest that it will break your heart and renew your faith in the human spirit.

With each spare stroke of her pen, Laurie Lico Albanese paints a vivid portrait of the blue-collar landscape of her childhood — rusted swing sets, auto body shops, greasy hands, home improvements — taking readers along for the wild, treacherous ride that leads to her escape. Her mother may stand silently at the sink year after year, or lie in the basement weeping, but Albanese is determined to flee the deadening certainty of her parents' lives. Her story does not disappoint us.

By turns haunting, hilarious, tragic, and romantic, Blue Suburbia is the chronicle of a determined young woman who overcomes family limitations, socio-economic obstacles, and personal fears to build a happy — and blessedly ordinary — life. Written entirely in free verse, Blue Suburbia's cadence is a steady, rhythmic heartbeat, pulsing with pain, rebellion, love, and triumph. This is the story many of us might tell, if we had the courage.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Albanese's moving if predictable hybrid volume tells the story of her life in verse. As she seems to recognize, this author's key experiences resemble those of many other women. Albanese survives a working-class Northeastern family with an abusive father and a clinically depressed mother, struggles through college into an unsatisfying job in publishing, then marries and moves to Chicago, where she becomes a troubled stay-at-home mom, raising a boy and a girl. Later, Albanese grieves at her mother's death, moves to New Jersey ("unhappy/ to be back in the suburbs"), enters therapy, and discovers self-confidence in part through writing this very book. Readers may cavil at Albanese's verse technique; here, for example, she views a Picasso: "nothing prepared me/ for the day I stood face-to-face with genius/ hearing the man's message/ screaming in my soul/ but afraid to say a word." Though Albanese's novel, Lynelle by the Sea, won praise for its fine descriptions, her memoir can seem unpolished and unexceptional compared to many recent prose competitors, from Beverly D'Onofrio to Lauren Slater (whom Albanese calls "a personal/ hero of mine"). Yet Albanese's experience, and the straightforward ways in which she describes it, may well resonate with many who have felt, in her words, afraid "of the very life/ being sucked/ out of me," trapped in endless familial obligations, and just "barely/ hanging/ on." (Mar.) Forecast: HarperCollins apparently plans to promote the book as a memoir, with little mention of its status as verse; the strategy seems right for this extremely accessible work. Though the young adult verse novel (by writers with no other poetry cred) is now a well-recognized form, it's hard to think of comparable new work pitched at adults; if this volume succeeds, it will break some ground. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060565633
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/16/2004
Series:
Harper Perennial
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.49(d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Albanese is the author of the novel Lynelle by the Sea and the memoir Blue Suburbia, which was named a Book Sense Best Book of the Year and was an Entertainment Weekly Editor's Choice selection.

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