Random. Aug. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9781984855473. $29.99. MEMOIR
In her newest work, Copaken (The Red Book; Between Here and April) recounts key moments from her battles with multiple illnesses and their treatments. The narrative picks up just after the publication of Copaken’s 2001 memoir Shutterbabe, after which she starts a writing career that becomes more precarious when journalism jobs begin to vanish in the 2010s. When Copaken becomes ill, she needs treatment that forces her to navigate the United States health care system, with inadequate insurance coverage and unstable finances. Then her marriage begins to crumble, and she must figure out divorce, dating, and raising children as a single mother. Copaken’s strain is palpable as setbacks pile up; she’s constantly having to hustle to the next job, doctor’s appointment, or freelance gig. She also struggles with career disillusionment and is sexually harassed at one of her workplaces. Copaken manages to overcome the obstacles and achieve her own success; she lands TV writing opportunities and spends meaningful time with her friends and children. Copaken’s memoir ends with her experience during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Written in a diary-like format, her memoir includes the occasional photograph.
VERDICT A searing indictment of capitalism, the gig economy, and the U.S. medical system--all recounted with a sense of dark humor. Copaken’s latest will engage readers of feminist memoirs.
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