About the Book
Release Date : March 1, 2020
Many are haunted and obsessed by their own eventual deaths, but perhaps no one as much as Sue William Silverman. This thematically linked collection of essays charts Silverman’s attempt to confront her fears of that ultimate unknown. Her dread was fomented in part by a sexual assault, hidden for years, that led to an awareness that death and sex are in some ways inextricable, an everyday reality many women know too well.
Through gallows humor, vivid realism, and fantastical speculation, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences explores this fear of death and the author’s desire to survive it. From cruising New Jersey’s industry-blighted landscape in a gold Plymouth to visiting the emergency room for maladies both real and imagined to suffering the stifling strictness of an intractable piano teacher, Silverman guards her memories for the same reason she resurrects archaic words—to use as talismans to ward off the inevitable. Ultimately, Silverman knows there is no way to survive death physically. Still, through language, commemoration, and metaphor, she searches for a sliver of transcendent immortality.
Praise for How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences
“Silverman’s fourth memoir is really about coming to terms with physical death while seeking to create immortal work.” Evette Dionne, Bitch Media
“Silverman’s new book is a joyously unconventional memoir written at least in part as a hedge against mortality. It will shake loose memories, invite you to ponder, and, maybe best of all, make you laugh. This is a marvelously written, imaginative, and seriously funny book.” Abigail Thomas, New York Times best-selling author
“With true originality and wit, Silverman takes readers on a wild ride through time, memory, pleasure, and trauma. What remains isa deeply human portrait of one woman’s resilience and the power of her spirit.I couldn’t put it down.” Christina Haag, New York Times best selling author
“Self-aware, quirky, and fiercely intelligent…Silverman achieves a kind of immortality. Because of the distinctive subject matter and Silverman’s vast writing talents, the book will appeal to new and experienced readers alike. Read any random passage from any random page, and your ears will be delighted by a kaleidoscope of sound.” Hippocampus Magazine
“The book’s title may suggest this is a morbid book; yet, Silverman in her own clever way leans towards tongue-in-cheek, mixing pop culture, literature, and history with her stories and, of course, her unending quest to survive.” Brevitymag.com
Why is this book so relatable? I found myself both chuckling and mumbling “same” or “mood” throughout. I mean, who hasn’t googled some random medical symptoms and come to the conclusion that you are, in fact, dying. But also, I’ve always had a morbid sense of humor so I always find myself deflecting with my dark humor. And since this book had a similar sense of humor you know I was enjoying myself while reading.
I really enjoyed that this memoir was in the form of a handful of essays. I’ve always been a fan of anthologies of stories but it’s been a really long time since I’ve read one. I also think, given the subject matter, that the essays really worked in showing the progression of time and beliefs. Going from childhood through adulthood the essays show the progressions of Silverman’s interest to obsession with death. I also think that this is something that many of us have to deal with, facing death head-on as we get older.
Silverman writes with a sharp and clear style yet remains witty throughout, even given the rather morbid theme of the book. Which I think is perfect for right now, given our world climate at the moment. I mean, we all need a good laugh right now and what’s better to laugh at now than death?
About the Author
Sue William Silverman’s new book is “How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences.” Many are haunted and obsessed by their own eventual deaths, but perhaps no one as much as Sue. This thematically linked collection of essays charts Silverman’s attempt to confront her fears of that ultimate unknown. (University of Nebraska Press, American Lives Series).
Her previous memoir-in-essays is “The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew.” The book describes Sue’s search for authentic self-identity – a search complicated by her conflicted feelings toward Judaism and her various efforts to “pass” as Christian. At the heart of this journey are three separate encounters with 1960s pop-music icon,turned Christian provocateur, Pat Boone, who plays a pivotal role in her desire to belong to the dominant culture. It is published with the University of Nebraska Press as part of their American Lives Series, edited by Tobias Wolff.
An earlier memoir is “Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction” (W. W. Norton), which is also a Lifetime Television original movie. During the filming, Sue visited the set and made a cameo appearance in the movie!
As a professional speaker, Sue has appeared on such television programs as The View, Anderson Cooper-360, and CNN-Headline News. She teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sue believes we all have a story to tell, that all our voices are important, and encourages others to write their life narratives, too.
Her partner is the poet Marc Sheehan, and they have two cats, Bijou and Siobahn.
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*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*