Two or Three Things I Know for Sure

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Overview

In Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison takes a probing look at her family's history to give us a lyrical, complex memoir that explores how the gossip of one generation can become legends for the next. Illustrated with photographs from the author's personal collection, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure tells the story of the Gibson women - sisters, cousins, daughters, and aunts - and the men who loved them, often abused them, and, nonetheless, shared their ...
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Two or Three Things I Know for Sure

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Overview

In Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison takes a probing look at her family's history to give us a lyrical, complex memoir that explores how the gossip of one generation can become legends for the next. Illustrated with photographs from the author's personal collection, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure tells the story of the Gibson women - sisters, cousins, daughters, and aunts - and the men who loved them, often abused them, and, nonetheless, shared their destinies.

From the author of Bastard Out of Carolina--a National Book Award finalist--comes a startlingly frank book which explores the sometimes devastating emotions that spin themselves through our lives, illuminating the feelings of a young girl as she confronts the man who abuses her. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Allison's much-praised novel Bastard Out of Carolina was inspired by her childhood in Greenville, S.C., but in this memoir, adapted from a performance piece, she cuts even closer to the bone. "We don't have a family Bible?'' the author's fourth-grade self asks her aunt. "Child, some days we don't even have a family,'' comes the response. If Allison suffered horrors, notably rape by her stepfather when she was five, she has transmuted pain into stories, gaining control with maturity. Indeed, her title prefaces several hard-won aphorisms she uses to counterpoint her memories: "No one is as hard as my uncles had to pretend to be.'' Her mother was a beauty, as was her sister, but Dorothy, smart and plain, felt a legacy of ugliness, one she shook off slowly as her feminism and her heart led her to lesbian relationships, often painful, finally rewarding. She is now, in her 40s, a new mother, and her stories -- and life -- are a triumph of love over cruelty. Read it aloud and savor the rhythms.
Library Journal
Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina) is a poet, essayist, and novelist, but in all these she is a storyteller. For her, stories are not simply creations but the very things that create us. Resounding with a familiarity of the intimate turned universal, this brief memoir recounts the episodes and people of Allison's life who created her and her own re-creation of herself. Often painful and mean, the stories are never bitter or despairing because of Allison's ability to move beyond, if not transform, the meaningless cruelty of life. Written as a performance piece, the cadence of the prose reverberates in the head and begs to be read out loud: "Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that I would rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me." With this retelling, Allison remakes that coat in her own image and leaves readers waiting for more stories. Highly recommended. -Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Whitney Scott
Adapted from a performance piece, Allison's little memoir sifts through old family photos that capture a childhood filled with a "white trash" girl's recollections of love, hate, revenge, rural Southern poverty, beatings, incest, and women whose hard eyes betrayed their broken dreams and lives. It also writhes and screams in pain, need, and outrage. By contrast, shafts of sudden insight illuminate it, so that it dances and belly laughs and proclaims its multifaceted discoveries of the two or three things of its title, discoveries such as "What it means to have no loved version of your life but the one you make" and that "Change, when it comes, cracks everything open." The 96-page tapestry of remembrances both bright and muted compresses the loss, lust, rape, rage, and love from which Allison fashioned her acclaimed Bastard Out of Carolina and, like the novel, shows a heroine--in this case, Allison herself--determined to transcend an anguished childhood and celebrate life with stories of and for survival.
Geoffrey Stokes
Any time she says, 'Let me tell you a story,' all she has to do is name the time and the place. I'll be there.
Boston Sunday Globe
Jennifer Hemler
Beautiful... a spiritual autobiography that renews the human spirit.... I never want to stop reading this story.
Philadelphia City Paper
The Advocate
Allison's storytelling shifts into an act of profound healing, a survival tool for mending the heart, sending you back into the world strong, ready, and deeply, deeply loved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525939214
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/12/1995
  • Pages: 94
  • Product dimensions: 5.02 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy Allison is the acclaimed author of the nationally bestselling novel Bastard Out of Carolina, which was a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. The recipient of numerous awards, she lives in Northern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2012

    I am horribly upset that I paid $10.99 for 52 page! She is a be

    I am horribly upset that I paid $10.99 for 52 page! She is a beautiful writer but 52 pages?

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    Posted April 20, 2012

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