Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

Counterpoint. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781640093164. $26. MEMOIR
“What happens when the very thing that once taught you how to survive—how to escape—suddenly stands between you and your life?” Novelist and essayist Frangello (A Life in Men) answers this question in her latest work, which tells the story of the profoundly life-changing events that stemmed from Frangello’s intense extramarital affair with a longtime acquaintance. While sifting through the ruins of her marriage, Frangello examines her roles as mother, wife, daughter, and friend, and illustrates how often women must submit to escape and self-erasure in order to maintain what society expects of them. Searingly honest and compulsively readable, this memoir serves as a post–#MeToo feminist dictum about the deeply complex and multilayered emotional and sexual lives of women. With humor and a no-holds-barred self-inspection, the author illuminates these layers and reminds us that “the clean reduction of a woman to any prime number is always a lie.”
VERDICT Uncompromisingly fearless in its candor, this memoir / feminist manifesto is a powerful account of a woman’s self-acceptance that deserves a place among the best literary memoirs of the last decade. Frangello’s groundbreaking testimony sets itself apart.
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