Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780062248572. $27.99. MEMOIR
Exploring personal trauma, memory, and closure, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Trethewey returns to the site of her mother’s murder. The daughter of an African American mother and white Canadian father, Trethewey grew up in civil rights-era Mississippi and Georgia. After her parents’ divorce, her mother married an unstable Vietnam veteran who, over time, became psychologically and physically abusive. After ten years, her mother left with Tretheway and her younger brother in tow but continued to live in fear of her ex-husband. Working with victims’ rights groups, the state’s attorney general, and local police, her mother achieved renewed independence and strength. But that did not stop Tretheway’s former stepfather from murdering her mother in June 1985. Through spare prose and vivid imagery, the author presents a narrative of a trauma survivor’s need to remember a past that, for 30 years, lapsed into the mind’s shadows.
VERDICT A moving, heartbreaking memoir about a traumatic event and the path to healing.
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