What does it mean to belong? In a place? With a person? To a family? Where do our senses of security and survival lie? I Don't Belong Here ruthlessly investigates alienation during moments of transit and dislocation and their impact on women's identity. These twenty essays-ranging from conventional to lyrical to experimental in form and structure-delve into the root causes of personal uncertainty and the aftershock effects of being a woman in an unsafe world. Provocative, authentic, intimate, and uncompromising, Melissa Grunow casts light on the unspeakable: sexuality, death, mental illness, trauma, estrangement, and disillusionment with precision and fortitude.
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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite I Don't Belong Here: Essays by Melissa Grunow is a compendium of essays that explores one of the most powerful existential realities we face every day, one that defines our sense of security, freedom, and self-worth — belonging. In a style that is unique, a voice that is both intimate and authoritative, the author examines the root causes of alienation and shows the link between rejection or alienation and identity crisis. While the primary audience of this book is comprised of women, the author articulates on themes that encompass the overall human experience. She writes with unusual courage and clarity and, as though stripping and laying bare the pain in the human soul, she speaks about realities such as death, mental illness, sexuality, trauma, and rejection. The writing is poignantly arresting, filled with compelling imagery and insights into the art of living in a hostile world. In a world where people are treated more and more like objects and made to feel banal, where individuals feel terribly lonely in the midst of teeming crowds, Melissa Grunow's voice becomes the clarion call that reminds us all of the importance of our long-forgotten sense of hospitality and humanity. While addressing one of the deepest pains that eat into the human soul and psyche, this book offers powerful insights on life, meaning, and purpose. Grunow speaks to the soul with words that are filled with meaning, light and hope, lifting the veil and allowing the reader to understand where they hurt most deeply. This book is a powerful tool that creates a strong awareness of how our indifference, violence, and rejection can hurt others and rob them of their humanity. I Don't Belong Here: Essays is engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking; the writing is fluid and composed for the heart. One gets the feeling they are reading from an author who has paid great attention to their pain and has the ability to see beyond their brokenness. This book will help you understand your own alienation and find the tools to reclaim your humanity, your identity. A gift that is as intimate as it is precious.