This is a charming overview of her beginnings and anecdotes of working in the fashion business, accompanied by her own whimsical illustrations along w...moreThis is a charming overview of her beginnings and anecdotes of working in the fashion business, accompanied by her own whimsical illustrations along with photographs from her modeling days and pictorials of her work as a fashion editor for Vogue. She's had an interesting life and mentions many recognizable names from fashion, art, and music. However, I never felt particularly engaged with the book. With so much ground to cover, the book feels more like a glossed over summary. Maybe this is a function of being someone who is more expressive in visual arts and fashion, but perhaps her reserved nature also translates into how she writes about her life. There were particular key moments she mentions that one can imagine are highly charged, emotional experiences. But she barely describes them, and does so in a detached manner, with so little reflection that there's really no impact.
It's understandable if a person chooses not to discuss their private lives. But why write a memoir and then expect that anyone would buy it and read it? Coddington was the most vivid, interesting person in the documentary The September Issue. Her memoir offers a backstory that has interesting details but keeps the reader at a distance.(less)
An incredible, remarkable story about the lifelong bond between a man and an elephant. I wish the writing was stronger, like in the vein of Laura Hill...moreAn incredible, remarkable story about the lifelong bond between a man and an elephant. I wish the writing was stronger, like in the vein of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. But I stuck with the book because the story of Modoc and Bram was so compelling.(less)
Sharp, searing, haunting vignettes set in Haiti or featuring Haitian characters. So much packed into such brief pieces: family, culture clashes, love,...moreSharp, searing, haunting vignettes set in Haiti or featuring Haitian characters. So much packed into such brief pieces: family, culture clashes, love, sex, racism, violence and even a spin on zombies (or rather "zombi" as it appears in one particular story). Beautifully written; I could almost feel the heat and humidity, smell the sugar cane, sense the press of the crowds in the city and the remoteness of the countryside.(less)
**spoiler alert** The story begins with Crews visiting her father in jail, who's serving a 20-year sentence because he nearly killed his girlfriend. A...more**spoiler alert** The story begins with Crews visiting her father in jail, who's serving a 20-year sentence because he nearly killed his girlfriend. Along the way, she talks about living in a remote part of Texas and how she and her parents and brother had to do everything from the ground up to build their home and take care of themselves. It's the kind of tough, hardscrabble, lonely existence that seems like it's from another era.
The memoir becomes even more compelling as we learn about what it's like growing up as the hearing child of deaf parents. Like how phone calls work and how it is to deal with the hearing world and having to translate adult conversations for her parents.
There's the definite impression of Crews and her brother having to grow up too soon. As a child she bears witness to the volatile relationship of her parents, the inexplicable rages and bullying from her brother. She has her own struggles - navigating junior high and high school being from the wrong side of the tracks, having friends who've taken the wrong turn, and working to support herself and help her family.
As her father becomes more angry and openly violent, especially to her mother, she has to choose which way to go, and take care of herself along the way as the family becomes increasingly fractured. Her drive and ambition ultimately leads her to New York, where she now has a life that she could never have imagined growing up in the backwoods of Texas.
She loves her family. But she takes a stand after finding out about her father's crime and his abusive history with women. She makes sense of the fragments she remembers from childhood and how this undercurrent of abuse caused trauma for the whole family, culminating in the incident that finally led to her parents' divorce.
Burn Down the Ground is a remarkable real-life story and shows the complications of love and family. A definite good read - I stayed up late to finish this! (less)