Abandon me Memoirs

Melissa Febos

Book - 2017

"In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment. In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tent...atively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal."--

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BIOGRAPHY/Febos, Melissa
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2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Febos, Melissa Due Jul 8, 2022
2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Febos, Melissa Due Jul 7, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Biographies
Published
New York : Bloomsbury USA 2017.
Language
English
Physical Description
308 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781632866578
1632866579
Main Author
Melissa Febos (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Febos' (Whip Smart, 2010) second book is a collection of self-aware, stylish, autobiographical essays on love, addiction, and inheritance. Exploring her embarrassment over what she sees as her endless need for love, she touches on her Native American, Puerto Rican, and European heritages. She draws from her youth, growing up on Cape Cod with a veritable (and often absent) sea captain father, from her post-high-school-dropout days spent high on heroin, and from classical philosophy, psychology, mythology, and literature. In the longest essay in the collection, which shares the book's title and occupies more than half its pages with its 62 vignettes, she bonds with the Native American birth father to whom she'd always been contentedly disconnected while painfullly coming to terms with her relationship with a woman she loves obsessively. Febos harnesses language, moods, actions, and settings with precision. A professor of creative writing, she stuns with sentences that are a credit to her craft and will no doubt inspire her readers. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After Whip Smart, a memoir about her experiences as a dominatrix, Febos returns with a close analysis of her own identity. The narrative jumps from past to present as the author explores her history, revisiting feelings of abandonment as her sea captain stepfather/adoptive father leaves for extended stretches of time. She also seeks to rekindle a relationship with her biological father, with whom her mother severed ties when Febos was two. She talks about her drug use, her brother's depression, and her American Indian heritage. In a long story arc, set against the backdrop of a long-distance romance, she meets and falls in love with a married woman, who later leaves her wife for Febos. Throughout the relationship, Febos details the feelings of euphoria and the excitement of new love, moving through the realization of what the relationship means to her. VERDICT This raw, brave work about truly knowing oneself will appeal to those interested in gender and women's studies, origin stories, and LGBTQ narratives.—Rachael Dreyer, Pennsylvania State Univ. Dept. of Libs. (c) Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Febos's (Whip Smart) second memoir is part lovesick devotional and part meditation on the intersection between desire and identity. She outlines the progression of a doomed relationship in exquisitely romantic detail ("Her mouth the soft nail on which my life snagged, and tore open") alongside the story of reconnecting with her birth father, a Wampanoag Native American and "career drug addict and alcoholic." As she explores her native roots through the lens of historical trauma and cultural erasure, she finds an explanation for a viscerally felt absence and her willingness to be "colonized" by a controlling lover. She captures the contradictions of female sexuality, complicated further when the object of one's desire is another woman, and delves into the push and pull of the other relationships that molded her, as with her adoptive father, a sea captain whose fierce love and frequent absence were contradictory formative influences: "Every time he left port, we wrecked again." Her mastery over metaphor is astonishing: describing a moment of heartache, she writes, "I was the sound of breaking. Pedestrians and bicyclists looked around, covered their ears." What might be mere navel-gazing for a less brilliant author is made powerfully universal here. Though the particulars are hers, just about anyone can relate to the feeling of a chasm opening up inside. Febros's awakening to her full identity, even its ugliness, is a powerful and redemptive epic. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Offers the author's personal narratives that focus on episodes of love and connection with family, lovers, and herself, while exploring ideas about art, love, and identity.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment. In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him awayfor months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal. "--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In her follow-up to Whip Smart, the former professional dominatrix fearlessly explores art, love and identity as she searches her childhood for resounding emotional truths about the bonds of family and the need for connections with other people.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

For readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a fierce and dazzling personal narrative that explores the many ways identity and art are shaped by love and loss.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Named One of the Best Books of 2017 by:Esquire, Refinery29, LitHub, BookRiot, Medium, Electric Literature, The Brooklyn Rail, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Largehearted Boy, The Coil and The Cut.Winner of the Lambda Literary Jeanne Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer NonfictionFinalist, Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/BiographyFinalist, Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian NonfictionAn Indie Next PickFor readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a fierce and dazzling personal narrative that explores the many ways identity and art are shaped by love and loss.In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment. In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer’s life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.