Fruit Punch

Ecco: HarperCollins. Aug. 2022. 176p. ISBN 9780063048539. $26.99. MEMOIR
Allen, a millennial author of essays and poetry, is making a space in the literary conversation (When You Learn the Alphabet). Here she offers a memoir of her Dallas childhood and its adult repercussions. It reads like a stream of consciousness work of her child-self, grasping at concepts just beyond her understanding but processing them as best she can as she grows. She reacts to the adults around her and describes traumatic events from her childhood in ways that a child would, making the reader not quite recognize what has happened until the realization drops suddenly. The point-blank observations of her younger self cut to the core with their honesty. The memoir is not told chronologically but builds circularly, revealing more of the writer and her background from different angles. It’s a penetrating look at life with divorce, sexual assault, crushes, family strife, and school drama all factoring in. The conversational tone, with poetic cadences, help the reader quickly engage and understand the writer’s background and culture.
VERDICT This memoir is troubling and difficult at times, but also candid and familiar. Recommended for general collections.
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