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In Orphans, a verse memoir, poet psychologist Joan Cusack Handler explores our most primitive and ambivalent relationships those with aging parents meanwhile confronting her own mortality. In a life lesson we re often unprepared for, Handler presents the reversal of roles and the eruption of unresolved conflicts that persist from childhood."
Paperback, 184 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by CavanKerry Press
(first published March 1st 2016)
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Joan Cusack Handler’s parents are so vivid in this memoir that they fly off the page. How often in a daughter’s memoir—here a memoir of her Irish Catholic parents, new to New York and bringing up a family in the 1950’s—can you actually feel the voices of the family? Orphans is not just in Handler’s voice, but in the voices of her parents, carefully recorded and presented with blasts of personality, joie de vivre, sadness, shame, religious fervor, cruelty, anger, thrill and celebration. What’s so ...more
I wasn't familiar with Joan Handler's work before Orphans was recommended to me. I don't currently read much by way of poetry, but the idea of a memoir in verse intrigued me. I found Orphans a page-turner; the alternating voices of mother, father, and child were really ingeniously done and pulled me into a world most reminiscent of a childhood favorite, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I would recommend this book highly, especially for those who have lost parents in middle-age and have begun to contemp ...more