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In the Dream House: A Memoir

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4.52  ·  Rating details ·  26,766 ratings  ·  4,036 reviews
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 a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piec ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Graywolf Press
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Average rating 4.52  · 
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 ·  26,766 ratings  ·  4,036 reviews


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Roxane
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
Kat
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
exquisite, cannot recommend highly enough.
chai ♡
If you need this book, it is for you”, so opens Machado’s star-bright and exquisitely crafted memoir, “In the Dream House”, the words like a hand on the reader’s back.

Very few works of writing are more fraught, more tremulous and dauntless, than a memoir. It’s mental self-flagellation: the prying open of one’s life, the splitting of the past like a cracked egg. To trap yourself in the mirrored halls of your own memory. The equivalent of digging a nail into an open sore.

Writers like Machado offe
...more
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 cover it.

The fu
...more
Michael
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs, 2020
Contemplative and inventive, In the Dream House dispels the silence surrounding abusive queer relationships. In her debut memoir Machado recounts the violence she endured for years at the hands of her first girlfriend, a rail-thin, androgynous unnamed white woman who routinely invalidated and gaslighted her. Written in arresting prose the work unfolds in a series of terse, terrifying sections, each of which centers on a single trope, from the conceptual (‘Epiphany,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Void’) to the gene ...more
Jenna
You enjoy reading memoirs because you like to get a better understanding of people, how they think and feel, to learn different perspectives. You are lesbian and particularly enjoy memoirs by people in the LGBQT+ community. You see this memoir come out (ha ha!) about a lesbian relationship and you notice a lot of people really love it. You assume you will too. You read and read and you don't ever get inside the author's head or have any idea of what she thinks and feels. You don't because she ra ...more
Marchpane
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
In the Dream House is a most unmemoir-like memoir. This account of Carmen Maria Machado’s years in an abusive same-sex relationship plays with form, blending elements of literary criticism, pop culture essays, folk tales and the shadowy worlds of her short fiction.

To tell this real-life story, Machado cleaves herself in two: the first-person, present-day “I” — settled, successful, safe — addresses the second-person, past “you”. This textual interplay between two Carmens affords more closene
...more
Gabby
Wow, this is a very powerful memoir about an abusive same-sex relationship. I listened to the audiobook for this, and this story was honestly felt like reading her diary - it was so raw and honest and devastating, plus the writing is absolutely gorgeous. I haven't read about abuse in a same-sex relationship before, so this book definitely shines a light on something very important.

But with quotes like this one, I was blown away by the writing: “A reminder to remember: just because the sharpness
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Shelves: queer
This was absolutely incredible. Just, wow.
Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 3 stars

While I definitely admire Carmen Maria Machado for having not only the strength to tackle such a difficult subject matter but to do so by sharing her own personal experience with her readers, and part of me also can't help but to recognise that In the Dream House: A Memoir is one of the most innovative memoir I have ever read, I would be lying if I said (or wrote) that it was flawlessly executed. I'm definitely glad to see that many other reviewers are praising it and or have clearl
...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Oh my god. Um. Oh my god.

This is the best book I have read, or will read, this year.
Meike
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
Winner of the Lambda Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction 2020
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
...more
Thomas
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a powerful memoir about a horrifying abusive relationship. In spare vignettes, Carmen Maria Machado documents the beginning, middle, and end of her relationship with an ex-girlfriend who threatened, humiliated, and tried to control her. I’m a sucker for short chapters and Machado writes them well here, describing the terror and confusion she felt at the hands of her ex-girlfriend with concise and exacting detail. With courageous honesty, she shares both the desire she felt for her ex-girlfr ...more
Collin
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 violence that
...more
Kai
“Love cannot be won or lost; a relationship doesn't have a scoring system. We are partners, paired against the world. We cannot succeed if we are at odds with each other.”

People kept telling me, basically shouting at me (in the nicest way possible) to pick up this book and read it. They said it was outstanding. They were right. I read this book in under 24 hours because once I started, I was unable to stop thinking about it.

I don't tend to read memoirs and I've only developed an interest in nonf
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Thank you Libro.fm and the publisher for the gifted audio.

Carmen Maria Machado narrates the audio, and this almost always knocks things out of the park for me when it’s a memoir. In this case, as you can see by my stars, Machado absolutely knocked it out of the park.

Machado tells her story of falling in love while also simultaneously falling to a toxic, abusive relationship. We may think we have read memoirs on that topic before, but not with this nuanced voice, and not this story.

In the Dream
...more
Lucy Dacus
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is no readying yourself for this one. Carmen is a modern legend, case closed.
Skyler Autumn
2 Stars

I don't usually review books that are about a survivor recounting their journey because I believe these stories should be told whether writing is something you are gifted at or not. That's why I never rated Chanel Miller's Know My Name because although there were flaws in style and presentation who am I to tell a survivor that they didn't do their own story justice. That being said although abuse in queer relationships are stories that need to be told. The fact of the matter is Carmen
...more
Tatiana
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2020
There is too much Iowa MFA in Machado’s writing, and ultimately the elaborate, intricate, inventive, convoluted prose takes away from her personal story, IMO.
Brandice
I finished In the Dream House last month but have been struggling with how to review it. The book has received great praise and I agree, it’s well-written.

Carmen Maria Machado discusses falling in love in a toxic relationship. Her girlfriend is never named by name. Machado does a good job shedding light on abusive same sex relationships — As an avid reader, I haven’t seen a lot on this subject though I haven’t specifically sought it out either.

In sharing her story, Machado demonstrates how emo
...more
Julie Ehlers
In the Dream House is an unusual memoir; a tale of domestic abuse in a same-sex relationship, it's loaded with references to myth, folktales, and literary genres. This sounds like heavy going, but the short chapters and simple but eloquent writing style instead make the book compelling, a page-turner. I don't think I've quite plumbed the depths of what this book is doing, but as Machado points out, stories of domestic abuse in female–female couples are underrepresented in the literature and ofte ...more
Ace
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dream House as Sodom
Like Lot’s wife, you looked back, and like Lot’s wife, you were turned into a pillar of salt, but unlike Lot’s wife, God gave you a second chance and turned you human again, but then you looked back again and became salt and then God took pity and gave you a third, and over and again you lurched through your many reprieves and mistakes; one moment motionless and the next gangly, your soft limbs wheeling and your body staggering into the dirt, and then stiff as a tree trunk a
...more
Rachel
I finished In the Dream House a few weeks ago but I haven't found myself able to rise to the challenge of reviewing this book.  It's one of the best things I've read all year; one of the best memoirs I've read ever.  My instinct is to say that this book won't be for everyone due to its highly inventive structure, but where I find that literary invention tends to be alienating, Carmen Maria Machado's memoir is so fiercely personal that I doubt anyone could accuse it of being emotionally removed.

I
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: https://themillions.com/2019/07/most-... because I can't resist
TW for domestic violence, emotional manipulation, physical threats, inability to escape.

Carmen Maria Machado writes in a creative way about her own experience in an abusive relationship, and also within the broader context of lesbian and/or queer domestic abuse. All the pieces of her life, experiences, and relationships create this Dream House that also in some ways creates a structure that surrounds the experience.

Some of the sections are just one page, exploring a fragment of an idea that con
...more
Lotte
4.5/5. One of those books I was certain I was going to love — and I did. In this gorgeously written memoir, Carmen Maria Machado reckons with an abusive past relationship and lays bare the widespread societal ignorance towards the issue of abuse in queer relationships. What impressed me immensely was Machado's ability to intimately recall the emotional distress of her experiences while also inhabiting a more distanced, nuanced perspective towards this abuse. She views it from different angles, t ...more
Read By RodKelly
In The Dream House is a grief-spangled reconstruction of love dissembled and fractured by abuse and betrayal, the titular Dream House being an actual house, but in the scope of the memoir, functioning as archival vessel for retrieving and preserving the memory of experience, acting as a sieve for the evidence of trauma, the traces of pain that linger in the body, that hiss around in the atmosphere long after danger has passed.


Fives stars earned for -
⭐️ being a secondary source-informed text in
...more
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
In the Dream House is a haunting, lyrical memoir chronicling the author’s relationship with an abusive partner. She discusses the difficulties of being in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and how the fact that you have no visible wounds to show makes oneself and the public doubt if there was any abuse at all while also discussing how different it is to be in a queer abusive relationship. The dynamics are vastly different, the stakes are higher because members of the queer communi ...more
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
An INCREDIBLE memoir. The content is a subject that doesn't get nearly enough attention: domestic abuse in queer relationships. It's horrifying. On top of the unique content, Machado is playing w/ form throughout the book, (re)telling the story through the lens of folk tale tropes, genres, and formats (including a harrowing "choose your own adventure" section). She often talks about her past self as "you" giving the reader an unsettling intimacy. Somehow this is compulsively readable despite the ...more
Hannah
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, painful, clever, impossible to put down. My heart hurts.
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 is also a boo
...more
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Center for Litera...: * We're back! 1 4 Sep 17, 2020 08:57AM  
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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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“A reminder to remember: just because the sharpness of the sadness has faded does not mean that it was not, once, terrible. It means only that time and space, creatures of infinite girth and tenderness, have stepped between the two of you, and they are keeping you safe as they were once unable to.” 86 likes
“We deserve to have our wrongdoing represented as much as our heroism, because when we refuse wrongdoing as a possibility for a group of people, we refuse their humanity.” 37 likes
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