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Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  25 reviews


In 1977, Priscila Uppal's father drank contaminated water in Antigua and within 48 hours was a quadriplegic. Priscila was two years old. Five years later, her mother, Theresa, drained the family's bank accounts and disappeared to Brazil. After two attempts to abduct her children, Theresa had no further c

Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 14th 2013 by Dundurn (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  165 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Doriana Bisegna
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is by far one of the best memoirs I have ever read! This is one of those books that will stand out in my memory for it's amazing writing and unbelievable story. Priscila Uppal's memoir about her childhood and the relationship with her parents is searing, raw, honest and heartbreaking. Stories like this, written as beautifully as this one is, are a gift to the reader. The fact that Priscila Uppal is a poet only enhances the writing and the emotion that comes spewing out of every page.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book, being a memoir, is so intensely personal that I hesitate to criticize it. Uppal needed to write this as a way of dealing with her incredible loss. So. First the good: I really enjoyed the movie format, themes and comparisons. I was impressed by the candour. I'm always awed and amazed by people can use the creative process as a means of healing. But.

I felt really creepy reading about how horrible Uppal's mother is. She's fat, manipulative, insane, selfish, bulky, hateful. She waddles,
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
An absolutely amazing memoir written by Priscila Uppal, who was abandoned by her mother when she was 8 years old. Uppal is reunited with her mother, who has MEGA issues, 20 years later. This is the story of a reunion that does not go well, framed by cinema and movies. It's wonderfully written, moving, honest and brave. I read it in one sitting.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I can't deny that Priscila Uppal is a gifted writer, but I do think she very much needs the trauma therapy she claims would not help her and is unnecessary. Good memoir is not a therapy session for the writer; good memoir comes after the writer has come to understand what has happened to her, processed it and let things go. What came through for me in this book was the author's (justifiable) anger and hurt towards her mother. It would have been a better book if she'd dealt with those feelings be ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
An intriquing memoir that has left me with many feelings. I wish you the best, Priscila Uppal. It took courage to write this. Strangely enough I also wish Theresa the best but for very different reasons.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I appreciated the vulnerability and raw candor as Uppal wrote her story of meeting her mother after her mother ran away 20 years earlier. Uppal is a phenomenal survivor who is remarkably whole despite being abandoned by a mentally ill "mother".
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Bizarre book. This is a memoir that centres around a two week visit that the author has with the mother who abandoned her when she was eight years old. One can't help but sympathize with the children who were left in the care of a severely disabled father and had to not only raise themselves but look after him. So Ms. Uppal, who is Dr Uppal by now I am sure, can be forgiven for the negativity toward her mother that she demonstrates from the moment she lays eyes on her. She finds her mother's phy ...more
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Priscila Uppal's father became a quadriplegic unexpectedly and almost instantly. After a few years of enduring a lowered living standard, losing social status and caring for her husband's basic needs, Priscila's mother returned to Brazil from Canada and abandoned her children and husband. For 7 years, until she was 15, Priscila looked after her father and brother while still attending school.

Her mother made two attempts to abduct the children. Fortunately she was not successful.

Her father was p
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Someone recommended this book to me, otherwise I wouldn't have read it. Quite an interesting book, beautifully written, but what a harrowing story.

Backstory: as young children, Priscila and her older brother Jit were living in Ottawa with their beautiful Brazilian mother and handsome public servant Sikh father...then, when Priscila was two, her father was suddenly paralyzed (due to drinking some polluted water) and became a quadriplegic; their mother tried to care for him, and them, for about f
Barbara McVeigh
While I was reading Projection, I thought about a course I took long ago. Some of the texts dealt with “mother-want”. At the time, we read these books as feminist texts where a woman who grows up without a mother has a better chance of becoming an independent, successful artist because without a mother there is no one there to teach her how to conform to a woman’s role.

Priscila Uppal has indeed grown up into a strong, independent artist after being abandoned by her mother when Priscila was eight
CM Alsop
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I bought this at the Ontario Writers' Conference (2014), but I didn't realize until I read it several months later that Priscila Uppal actually spoke to me at the conference! Just hello, how are you liking the conference type of talk, but I happened to buy her book later in the day. I didn't realize until I saw the photo in the back. Awesome.

What breaks my heart is that this, as a memoir, is real. It really happened to someone. It's framed in a narrative of old movies, and I'm going to be watch
Conflicted, intense and difficult to read, Projection follows Priscilla Uppal's pursuit of finding and engaging with the mother who abandoned her when she was two years old. The mother is detached, vicious, controlling, euphoric, demanding, jealous, critical, vulnerable, self-pitying and a confusing figure for Priscilla as she tries to bond with this erratic woman. I had to put this intense book to one side, and will return to it in a while. I skimmed to a section near the end:
Meeting a cousin,
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A passionate, talented little girl’s Indian father becomes paralyzed for life and her Brazilian mother cracks under the strain, abandoning both that girl and her brother. Brought up by her bedridden father, the girl grows into her beauty and her talent, becoming a noted poet, professor (and athlete, too). Then she reencounters the mother who fled, this time in Brazil. Sound like a movie? Movies play a rescue role in Priscila Uppal’s inspired memoir. Quick-paced and spiced with zinger metaphors, ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I loved the sections with the eccentric uncle and the grandmother. A good portion of the writing was poignant without falling into the melodramatic, which is no small feat in such a personal, lucid memoir. I am now curious about Uppal's poetry and will have to get my hands on one of her books...
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this memoir. Priscila uses movies as metaphors for her life with / without her mother who is very unlikeable. Probably the worst reunion story ever! But Priscila meets it as a writer, analyzes the situation, and comes to her own mending. No happily ever after, but well written and my heart goes out to the author.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a true story. It gave the reader permission not to have to like one or the other of one's parents. I thought her account of meeting her mother after 20 years to be refreshingly frank. It is one of the books for this year's pre-writer's festival class. I hope to be able to get tickets to hear the author at the festival.
Maureen Powers
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a compelling read!! Beautifully written (poetic actually) with wonderful movie reviews and analyses that smoothly link to her story and enhance our understanding of her encounters with her Mother. I'm so glad that Priscila returned to Brazil in 2005 following her initial 12 day visit in 2003 and helped me close the emotional loop!!
Trudy Jaskela
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I attended author's presentation of this book several years ago at Vancouver Writers Festival.

Author's mother abandoned her disabled husband and 2 growing children and returned to Brazil, the country of her birth. After many years of no contact, the authors; chooses to visit her mother and get to know her and that family. The author is forgiving. I don't know if I would be..
Dec 29, 2013 added it
I enjoyed this book. I
Ike the form of weaving in film.. Also like the attempt to be an observer when it he subject was so close. Must have been difficult to live and write.. And the reader is brought into that. Engrossing.
Carole Yeaman
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Insightful to read. Insightfully written? Mother and daughter perfectly well-matched. Uncle Fernando (hideous creep) is right on, Priscila. My blood will be running colder for the rest of my life after reading this.
Patricia L.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
What an honest account of an encounter with a runaway mother.
Yes, you can live without a mother.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking but well-written and thoughtful examination of famiiies, identity, grief, motherhood and culture.
Margaret Bryant
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great, engrossing read!
Adrian Hoad-Reddick
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Apr 06, 2014
Bren Pickel
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Jan 26, 2016
Jenna Caruso
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Jul 31, 2018
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Priscila Uppal was a Canadian poet, novelist, and playwright. poet, academic, and professor of Humanities and English at the undergraduate and graduate levels at York University. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts Council. Her creative and academic interests frequently intersected and she has published work that explores the tensions and dynamics between women (par ...more

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