Memory—my mom’s story of motherhood & Joe Queenan on books (beautiful books)!

Biting the Moon, by Joanne S. Frye

I want to share the wonderful review my mom (Joanne S. Frye) received this week from Literary Mama (great site for lovers of writing/reading) for her memoir Biting the Moon: A Memoir of Feminism and Motherhood. Check out the review (and the site), if you haven’t already!

From Marilyn Bousquin’s review:

To escape “the threat of a life constructed for me by others,” Frye overcame not only the daily challenges of single motherhood, but also her own psychological challenges. As Flannery O’Connor once said, “Human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” Replace grace with consciousness and you have Frye’s transformational arc. Feminism challenged her female conditioning which did not relent without a fight—an emotional backlash, if you will—as she wrestled a new perspective for herself. At times the ensuing self-doubt brought on tears of rage and despair. During one such episode her then two-year-old daughter asked, “Saying ‘Fuck,’ Mommy? Are you crying, Mommy? Are you sick, Mommy?” Yes, change is painful.



Artist: Serge Bloch
“People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred.” – Joe Queenan

And, while I’m at it, Joe Queenan has a fantastic essay about his love affair (many of ours!) with books in the WSJ, “My 6,128 Favorite Books.”

Here’s a taste that presents the ways in which books (actual physical books, though one can certainly argue that the words therein hold similar power) evoke powerful memories:

Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.

None of this will work with a Kindle. People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.


Now I’ve got to get back to my own sick child, who’s watching Curious George on a continuous loop; and it’s a fair bet that my son won’t be the one to put an end to the monkey’s antics. Yep, I should be reading him a book instead.

About Kara Krauze Kara Krauze is a writer, consultant, and educator. Kara has worked in publishing, financial services, the mental health field, and community organizing. Her essays have been published in Quarterly West, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, Highbrow Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She has a B.A. from Vassar College in International Studies and a M.A. in Literary Cultures from New York University. She has participated in workshops in New York City, Prague, and France, studied in Moscow and lived in London. Her writing, including a memoir and novels, engages with the subjects of war, loss, and memory. She grew up in Ohio and currently lives in New York City. Kara founded Voices From War, offering writing workshops for veterans, in 2013.
This entry was posted in EXIT WOUND: Suicide is Not a Love Story, Memoir, Memory, Motherhood, Writing & Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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