Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays

Little, Brown. Sept. 2019. 272p. photos. ISBN 9780316259637. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316259668. LIT
Essayist (The Recovering; The Empathy Exams) and novelist (The Gin Closet) Jamison gathers a seemingly eclectic group of 14 essays into a triptych organized by the headings “Longing,” “Looking,” and “Dwelling.” Linked thematically by the human quest for answers and love, the pieces range in topics from the elusive lonely whale, 52 Blue; children who dream of past lives; people who survive their lives by spending time in the virtual world; a museum devoted to relics of relationships past; and the author’s own personal life—all written with care and intricacy, drawing readers in and making us care. Many of the pieces originally appeared in publications such as the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and Oxford American and are a reminder of the author’s richly diverse writing.
VERDICT Jamison’s observational skills, genuine empathy, and lack of sentimentality create an intelligent blending of journalism, scholarship (she directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia Univ.), and memoir.
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