Review by A Bookish Affair

March 28, 2016: Review by A Bookish Affair

What’s the Story?:

From “In The Broken Places, Joseph McBride, an internationally acclaimed American cultural historian, recalls his troubled youth in the Midwest during the 1960s. Searingly immediate and yet reflective, this is the author’s memoir of his breakdown as a teenager and triumphant recovery. It gives an unsparing look at physical and psychological abuse, family dysfunction and addiction, sexual repression, and Catholic guilt. And at its heart, this is a haunting, often joyous love story.

“The Broken Places offers an unforgettable portrait of Kathy Wolf, a brilliant, vibrant, shattered young Native American woman who taught Joe how to live even though she could not save herself. Kathy’s life exemplifies what Ernest Hemingway wrote, ‘The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.'”

My Two Cents:

“The Broken Places” is a memoir by Joseph McBride, who is most well known for his screenwriting and being a professor of film. This book focuses on his extremely tumultuous younger years in the 1970s. It’s an unflinching glimpse at people trying to find themselves at a critical juncture of their lives. It’s a story of love and breaking down and building things back up.

I am a sucker for memoirs like this. I love seeing how people are able to overcome the difficult things they face. This book has a lot of raw areas, which allow you to see not only where the author has been but how far he has come. McBride is very open about everything in the book. He writes clear and truthfully about things that many would shy away from. The sections about Kathy Wolf were some of my favorites. Her sections aren’t happy and the detail was sometimes too much for me to handle. She will stick with me for a long time.

The writing of the book was fairly good. There is a lot of detail in the book that I thought could be streamlined in order to make the book even more powerful than it was before. The detail bogged down the pace a bit and made the book feel somewhat choppy. Overall, these issues were mostly surpassed by a story that I will think about for a long time.

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