Cynthia's Reviews > The Memory Palace: A Memoir

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
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's review
Feb 03, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-read-in-2011
Read from January 12 to 16, 2011

This memoir was incredible. I don't need to debate how to rate it.

Bartok hit it out of the ballpark. She and her mom and sister pass through, aspire to, or survive, family life, abusive men, homelessness, classrooms, shelters, museums, concert halls, loving husbands, freedom, religion, myths, reality, etc. not to mention their divergent perceptions of the same. Mostly what the book is about is the three of them trying to stay attached without being destroyed by the mother’s schizophrenia. When she could love she loved but so often her illness hog tied and distorted her motherly intentions. As you can imagine this was especially hard after the girls’ alcoholic father bails and they are left alone to not only raise themselves but to care for their mother. I was amazed at how well they managed to cope though I don’t want to downplay the difficulties they went through. For Mira and her sister they find some peace and forgiveness at their elderly mother dies surrounded by the friends she picked on the streets and at various in women’s shelters. Memoirs don’t get any more naked than this.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Joan Winnek I have to read this.

Cynthia It was wonderful but not happy though it wasn't maudlin either. It's funny because we've had several discussions about memory here on goodreads and this fits with that. She talks about how a memory changes each time we replay it and how they age we are when we replay it influences our perceptions.

Joan Winnek Thank you for that interesting comment: memory is a particular interest of mine. I heard an interview with Mira Bartok on NPR.

message 4: by Mary Ronan (new) - added it

Mary Ronan Drew Both Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal gave the book starred reviews (as did you.) The synopsis sounds heart-breaking but I have sent a sample to my Kindle nonetheless.

message 5: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I heard Bartok on NPR too and read another good review in the Boston Globe.
Nice review, C!

Joan Winnek Finally I am starting this book.

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