Unlocking: A Memoir of Family and Art

She Writes. May 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781631528620. pap. $16.95. MEMOIR
The subtitle of this memoir sums up this book—it is a story of family and art. Beginning with her family’s genealogy, museum consultant Pressly (Settling the South Carolina Backcountry: The Pressly Family and Life Along Hard Labor Creek, 1767–1850) continues the narrative through her early life, weaving in family histories, as she relates her experiences and growth into adulthood through becoming a grandparent. Some dramatic points in her story are built up, and the point doesn’t match the momentum. She clearly shows her passion for art, including her marriage to another art historian. Their story moves through sickness and health, world travel and art galleries, professional difficulties and successes. As she continues her story of her life with family and a career, she mentions specific pieces of art, and how they affected her. Images of the art are available in the book. Her descriptions were good, but the effect may be lost on a reader lacking knowledge or interest in such work.
VERDICT This well-written memoir will please a specific audience who will identify with the author’s zeal for museums, art, and art history.

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