Burned: A Memoir
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Burned: A Memoir

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The history of the Nayers was divided by one violent, accidental moment. In the time it took her to light a match in the cellar of their rented vacation home, Dorothy and her husband Hank were engulfed in a flash fire.


She barely survived, her face scarred beyond recognition, her body required to endure thirty-seven operations. He was scarcely better off, convinced that sur...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 19th 2010 by Atlas (first published 2010)
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Pam
A loving family of four: handsome, successful doctor (Hank) who was also the doctor for the NYFD; beautiful and smart wife (Dorothy), a nurse; two daughters - Louise (the author), 4, and Annie, 6.

A vacation cottage on Cape Cod.
A faulty gas valve.
A flash fire that engulfed the parents.

After almost a year of living with loving relatives - and not understanding how their parents could still be alive and yet not visit or call - Louise and Annie finally return to far different parents than they rem...more
Jaime
This book was pretty amazing. A good description of psychology as well. I couldn't tear myself away from it- unfortunately it was like staring at a car wreck, imagining this family 's pain.
Molly
May 21, 2010 Molly is currently reading it
Written by a friend of my family. About her parents getting tragically burned (survived) and how she and her sister were separated from them for years after).
Thorn MotherIssues
Strange use of voice and tone, but the story itself was interesting. I thought there would be more psychological depth.
Katie
I found it inspiring that Louise Nayer had the courage to share some of her life's most tragic events in this memoir. The ordeal of being away from her parents for so long after their accident obviously changed the entire course of her life. I assume (or at least hope) that she found writing this book to be cathartic -- perhaps as another step toward recovery.

However, I can't say that I found the writing style to be very engaging. I honestly put this book aside for several months when I was only...more
Liralen
For whatever reason, before I got my hands on a copy of this book, I was under the impression that the author was a bit older when her parents had their accident -- a child, but one old enough to have a grasp of what was going on. But given how young she was, and how little kids were told at the time -- wow, that must have been difficult for all involved.

The author's mother, though, sounds like an absolute pillar of strength. Where Hank (her father) falters and struggles to maintain equilibrium...more
Lauren
This memoir is not about a dysfunctional abusive family(like so many I've read) but rather a loving supportive famiy torn apart by the parents' horrific burns caused by an accident and the months of required convalescence. The author interviewed her parents and sister about the time the family was forever changed. The mother, despite her disfiguring burns, reclaims her children and gets her husband out of his depressive state to start their lives over again. Author goes into detail about the med...more
Susan Eisenberg
Louise Nayer has written a memoir that is both inspiring and riveting.

When her family was torn apart by a cataclysmic accident, the author and her sister were sent to live with relatives while their parents endured excruciating treatment for their injuries. Ms. Nayer unflinchingly describes her youthful confusion and displacement and her parents' bravery. It's a story of daily heroics and the triumph of will over expectation.

I devoured this book in two sittings and recommend it heartily. The p...more
Ashley
Such a well-written book about a family tragedy - written from the daughter's perspective, and how the tragedy itself and the reaction to it (family, friends, etc.), as well as suddenly being separated from her parents for several months, impacted her and her sister. Very well done and informative about the 'recovery' process her parents went through. A story of survival.
Kenneth Weene
Take a fine poet and add a powerful personal story and you have memoir writing at its best. The tragedy, the horrible burning of her parents, especially her mother. The aftermath, the realization that the entire family suffered from being burned. While the story tends to go on, the language is so well done that it is worth reading even after one says "enough already."
Brian
I truly believe a book is only as good as its
Plot and the author writing it. Case in point was this memoir. I got it for cheap at borders. Premise: a woman as a child has both her parents get burned in a flash fire. Plot sounds
Sad. But this book felt like it was written by a child instead of an adult
The tone of the book is too light
And simple for the topic at hand
Stewart Florsheim
Burned is an excellent, moving memoir. Louise's mother tried to light the water heater pilot of a house they rented in Cape Cod when Louise and her sister were very small, and the explosion changed the fabric of the family forever. The memoir recounts the drama, and the lasting impact it had on the family in a beautiful, understated way.
Bonnie
Nov 21, 2010 Bonnie added it
I'm ambivalent about this book. The true story had the potential to make a very good read but I felt at times that it was written in a juvenile fashion. I suppose one would expect that when the narrator is a young girl but I really would have liked to have heard from the adult's point of view.
Pamela
I could not put down this memoir about a family traumatized when the parents are burned in a flash fire. It is a story of tragedy and survival, of perseverance and triumph. It is also the story of how an entire family can be victimized by some tragic events. A riveting, deeply moving story.
Stephanie
What a horrible thing to have happen to a family! I like the way she wrote this book. Although it is a memoir she wrote it from all perspectives and included all kinds of details she would not have know if she hadn't done a lot of research and digging before writing.
Lisa
The book was okay. It just left me feeling like something was missing. I finished the book and thought to myself "AND?" I question how Nayer was able to speak of the past in such detail, being how young she was at the time the events occurred.
Michelle
A beautiful book that made me cry not only in sadness but for the characters ability to reinvent themselves. I worked with Louise and she is every bit the incredible person you would expect after reading this book
Jen
This book was HARD to read. Beautifully written, but the subject matter is very disturbing. Glad I made it through though because the story really flows and captures you.
Katrina
Feb 01, 2011 Katrina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults who can stand Human Trama and Pain
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
This book was moving, horrifying, and inspiring. It's really a story of Nayer's whole family, not just her. It is really well written and very engaging.
Lisamarie
Jan 20, 2011 Lisamarie is currently reading it
My Trauma and the Arts Professor wrote this about her life.
Melissa
Beautifully written memoir about a family's life-altering experience.
Rachel
so much better than the nie nie whinings.
Rachael Steil
Rachael Steil marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2014
Lisa Morrow
Lisa Morrow marked it as to-read
May 20, 2014
Karen
Karen marked it as to-read
May 14, 2014
Amy
Amy marked it as to-read
Feb 03, 2014
Kathleen Henrikson
Kathleen Henrikson marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2014
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1198500
Born in NYC and now living in San Francisco my book Burned: A Memoir, about a family tragedy and triumph, was recently published by Atlas and Co. and featured as one of Ten Upcoming Titles in O Magazine. I've discussed the book on NPR in Cape Cod and was featured in The Cape Cod Times. The book was recently bought by Audio Books.
I've also written two books of poetry, received six California Arts C...more
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