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In the Dream House: A Memoir

4.75  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  158 reviews
A startling, moving, and innovative memoir from the National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Graywolf Press
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Average rating 4.75  · 
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Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With exacting, exquisite prose, Carmen Maria Machado writes about the complexities of abuse in queer relationships in her absolutely remarkable memoir In The Dream House. She deftly chronicles the wildness of succumbing to desire, the entrancing tenderness of loving and being loved, the fragility of hope, and the unspeakable horror when the woman you love is a monster beneath and on the surface of her skin. What makes this book truly exceptional is how Machado creates an archive where, shamefull ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
In this intimate, formally experimental memoir, Machado recalls how she survived an abusive relationship, but gives her own experiences a wider context: As she illustrates by giving examples from real life, art and scientific texts, violence in lesbian relationships has rarely been acknowledged and discussed, thus rendering the victims almost invisible and making them even more vulnerable. With "In the Dream House", Machado wants to add to the archive of stories about the human experience, turni ...more
Sarah Etter
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An innovative blend of memoir, research, and cultural commentary that masterfully grapples with domestic violence in queer relationships. I couldn't put it down. Split up into powerful, dense vignettes, In The Dream House just made me cancel all of my plans so I could finish it immediately. So excited to see this one enter the world- one of the best of the year, and one you will not forget. For fans of Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, I think these two books sit really well togethe ...more
Roman Clodia
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick read but is alive with intelligence, insight and empathy, detailing how a young woman finds herself, unexpectedly, in an abusive relationship. Machado is honest about her emotions: her vulnerability and desire for love, her retreat in the face of the gradual uncovering of the inner nature of her lover, her pretence and self-deception, her attempts to encourage her lover to get professional help, her final escape.

As well as detailing an intensely personal story, this i
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Harrowing, phenomenal, unputdownable memoir. Machado is absolutely brilliant.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't generally read memoirs, but when I got a copy of this book and flipped through it I knew it was going to be something different. And having read Machado before I also knew it would be beautifully written. What I got was something so astonishingly brilliant, so unique, so gorgeous, so visceral, so undeniably raw, it broke my heart and mended it in equal measure. This book absolutely blew me away.

Look, I don't gush very often. I don't give out many 5 star reviews. But this book
Justin Tate
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
YES YES YES!!! A 1000x better than expected, and I expected nothing short of holy scripture.

Months earlier I stumbled upon the description and knew this book would be monumental. As early reviews crept in, my anticipation grew. I had my Kindle fully charged and stayed up until midnight so I could start reading the second it released. By 2am I was 30% done. A few marathon readings later, I reached the last page with breathless finality. The result? Monumental doesn't even begin to cov
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
sometimes, when extremely lucky, i read something that is so incandescent it feels as though i am floating through space and being held by an author’s sentences, their use of language, their way of literally breaking the ground beneath all of our feet to unearth something terrifying but something we need to look at.

i shivered through every page of this book. as a queer sort-of-mostly-woman, seeing a queer woman explore this terrain of intimate partner violence was... so much. we need this book.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From my review, now up at 4Columns (

In her new book, and first memoir, Carmen Maria Machado blasts her own experience with an abusive intimate partner into a sparking arc of story bits. Cycling through a staggering array of modes and strategies, In the Dream House wheels in and out of fabulist, formalist, and realist registers, cultural analysis and polemic to produce a fresh and unflinching interrogation of abu
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Take note, personal essayists of the future, because Carmen Maria Machado kinda just threw down the gauntlet. Divided into themed vignettes, IN THE DREAM HOUSE is an amalgam of memoir, feminist theory, pop culture critique and queer history. It's about as sobering a look at psychological violence in domestic partnerships as they come, but Machado's wit, honesty, and absolute mastery of the written word (seriously, pick a sentence at random and marvel) will make you briefly question the merits of ...more
Karen (idleutopia_reads)
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are books that have to be such a personal experience to the reader that one must feel compelled to allow each reader to enter the experience with a carte blanche. This is the case with In the Dream House. There’s so much that can be said about the book. It was hauntingly beautiful, it was a format that I didn’t expect, it wrung at my heartstrings and I was left awed at the vulnerabilities that Carmen Maria Machado allowed us to witness. Given the immensity of what she’s sharing, I can’t he ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, arc
Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House lures us through the onslaught of disquieting experiences she suffered at the hands of her female partner, whose compulsive, controlling, and at times narcissistic nature threatened to unspool the soft fabric of her already fragile sense of safety. Machado recounts their painful love story with alchemic purpose and precision, yet transforms her trauma — long etched into the walls of the figurative Dream House — into something therapeutic. Into something that inform ...more
Jan 15, 2019 marked it as anticipated-2019
folks, we have a cover!!

and it is gorgeous!!
Vivek Tejuja
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read a couple of short stories of Machado before picking up this memoir. I was also aware that this memoir, to a very large extent, would make me see my life and what I had gone through in a toxic relationship. Abuse need not be physical. In fact, the worst kind of abuse is the one that isn’t physical. The kind where no bruises are exposed, no scars are seen, no indication of violence is made known, and the one that isn’t heard or we feel that we cannot talk about it, as it is our own doin ...more
Katherine D. Morgan
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t wait for everyone to read this book. I just...Lord.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
When CMM was here last year, a man in the audience at the event asked her how men should write women convincingly, and I guffawed and she laughed and said "yeah..." before trying very kindly to answer his question.

Carmen, whenever you are next in DC, please let me buy you a cocktail and tell you how glad I am that you exist and are writing. I should have stood in line and said it then, and now I've read this wonderful and horrible book too and there is even more to say. Thank you for all of it.
Wynne Kontos
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carmen. Maria. Machado.

They say never meet your heroes and ain't that the frickin troof. The more events I work, the more writers and creators I interact with the more disillusioned I become. No wonder Cormac McCarthy doesn't do interviews, he can't hardly stand that shit. But in my still fledgling writing career, you get a few shining moments with writers who give generously of their time and energy and CMM is one of those people. In our interview, she shared this project with me (t
Megan O'Hara
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
absolutely fucked up that she could make me chuckle at least once or twice during this dark-ass sad-ass book!! I would maybe go as far as to say that this is as innovative and compelling as advertised, the framings of the chapters are apt and/or thought provoking. I also just think everything she says and thinks is interesting! Sue me! Very excited to read everything she ever writes.
Cheyenne Tattersall
This is my first Goodreads Giveaway win, and I'm honestly so happy to have received this one.

I loved the book - read it from start to finish in a day and am seriously debating re-reading it again tomorrow just to absorb more.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favourites
Debating rereading this from the second I closed the book because it's SO GOOD.
Maya White-Lurie
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could not me more grateful to Machado for writing this memoir. It's beautiful and gripping and devastating.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

Listen, there's not a bad word to be seen or heard about this book out there, which is exactly as it should be. This is one of the best memoirs of all time in my opinion. I've written about this book a lot already, for a lot of review outlets, but I still have such difficulty finding the right words. (I think the reason is that Carmen Maria Machado used them all already, so.) IN THE DREAM HOUSE
Bethany Sanjenko
Nat Marlin
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dream House as Reflection

A history can double as reflection. A mirror. Reading accounts similar to our own can be conduits for processing the personal. Carmen Maria Machado showed me this could be true.

I knew going into this book, as a queer abuse survivor myself, that its subject matter alone would wreck me. I didn't know just how much of it would come from how Machado interweaves structure effortlessly, allowing echoes of several pasts to overlap. Machado's prose is ste
Hillary Smith
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the Dream House is truly remarkable, a memoir that deftly sidesteps that categorization. I opened this book one afternoon excited to read the new Carmen Maria Machado, even if it wasn't more fiction, and then the next thing I knew it was night. I would say that I devoured this book, but I am not quite sure that it didn't devour a few pieces of me in turn. The most beautiful, devastating, lovely, strange, playful memoir I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-nonfiction
But will any book I read from now until the end of time be as good as this one?
Hannah Fenster
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Did I devour IN THE DREAM HOUSE, or did it devour me? I lived on the line. I picked it up every hour, though it wouldn’t always let me. It’s a compulsion, the sharpest book I’ve read all year. Sometimes, I danced to its pulse. Other times, the beat thumped in my ears. Be warned: as Machado fills a gap in popular thought about women, queerness, and domestic violence, she'll open a space in you, too. Her pointed honesty, intellect, and language drilled a well of sadness and boldness in me. Actuall ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just... wow.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Machado writes in the afterword for this novel,

"In The Dream House is by no means meant to be a comprehensive account of contemporary research about same-sex domestic abuse or its history”.

And yet that is in a way what she has created.. More powerful because of the memoir format in which it is presented.

There are parts of this memoir where you can viscerally feel the fear that Machado feels. The slow grinding down of her spirit from the constant verbal, psychological, and physical v
Caleb Masters
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House has set itself apart as an instant classic within what is often a crowded field. Honest, inventive, unflinching, at turns playful and brutal; her examination of a past relationship and the abuse she underwent is never anything less than electric, essential reading. Each chapter is a short vignette often changing both in style, form, and voice and I found this to be endlessly compelling way to experience her story. From noir, choose-your-own-adventure, ...more
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Semifinal Round
2,298,888 Votes Cast
Carmen Maria Machado's debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Kirkus Prize, LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize, and the Crawford Awar ...more

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