Thursday, October 21, 2010

Musical Chairs - Jen Knox

Summary: Musical Chairs is candid, darkly humorous and wholly engaging. Taking place in Ohio, this gripping memoir recounts the story of a runaway girl and the family that stood by her.

After being struck by a severe panic disorder in 2003, Jen begins to explore her past. In doing so, she becomes enamored by the mysterious nature of her family's history. She discovers a pattern of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between her '90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs.

Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jen attempts to reconcile with this past. She reflects upon years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement while maintaining impressive narrative control. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.
Summary from book, cover photo from, book received free for review

My Review: Jen Knox neatly weaves the tale of her coming-to-age years within the pages of Musical Chairs. Jen struggles to find her identity and in the process makes some difficult choices, including leaving home at a young age and stripping to support herself. The title, Musical Chairs, is fitting as Jen finds the mental illness within her family tree comes full circle. Reliving these painful moments while writing this book had to be heart-wrenching. The manner in which the author takes full responsibility for her own mistakes is refreshing.

Though overall Jen's tale is not incredibly remarkable her depiction of it is. Lancaster's beautiful writing style keeps the reader engaged. Her raw emotion is fully captured within these pages. Though this tale feels as if it were written for the purpose of providing some personal closure, it's end result is a true work of art as it showcases Jen's extraordinary writing talent. She is currently working on her first fiction novel which I will quickly snatch up as I am quite certain it will be delicious.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars Sensitive readers - this story contains sex, drugs and some choice language.

To Sum it up: A healing memoir from a promising new writer.

1 comment:

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds interesting. A great title and an interesting plot. Thanks.


Related Posts with Thumbnails