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In the Dream House

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  34,977 ratings  ·  5,364 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, 251 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Graywolf Press
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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 ·  34,977 ratings  ·  5,364 reviews

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Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Machado uses her lyrical writing skills to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship, a difficult subject that is not often discussed. The writing is lovely and haunting, taking the lens of speculative horror fiction to frame her real experience. She describes the complexities of being in an abusive relationship with the added layer of societal expectations for what a queer relationship should look like; these topics and emotions would definitely resonate with anyone who has ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
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
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I am both sheltered and naive, hopefully a little less of each after reading this memoir. It took a short time for me to adjust to the format - some “chapters” as short as one sentence - but I was hooked from the start. Like Tara Westover’s “Educated,” this story evoked emotions across the spectrum of human feeling - for oneself and for others. I marvel at the strength of people like Ms. Machado, and I am grateful that she shared her life with us. She is a treasure.
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
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, recs
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
Elle (ellexamines)
“I thought you died, but right now, I’m not sure you did.”

This is, genuinely, my favorite book I read in the entirety of 2020, and maybe one of my favorite books ever. Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir about a queer abusive relationship blends reality with media and its mirrors. It flurries between grandeur and media and the simple, the human, varies between detailed tales and hypothetical quandaries to tell the story of a relationship.

Everything is a metaphor and not. Homes are a metap
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
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chelsea by: Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Shelves: queer
This was absolutely incredible. Just, wow.
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
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
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
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
The writing was so beautiful and haunting and I can tell how much work and emotions were put into it. The book, the story, and the writing is so overwhelming that I’m finding myself unable to put my thoughts into words. This is a memoir about same sex abuse, a topic that I haven’t read about before and it was written in such a raw honest way. It describes what’s it like to be emotionally and verbally abused and how it’s hard when you don’t have any visible scars to show what you’ve been going th ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
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
Skyler Autumn
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
What a hell of a memoir...I have never read anything like this in my life. This book tore me up. I mean I was sobbing in some sections, but it was such an important read and one I didn't even realize I needed. Trigger warnings for strong language, abuse, manipulation, homophobia, slight abuse of power dynamic from authority figure

I thought I had my top books of 2020 figured out, but then I was gifted this book by Bethany and this is definitely one of the best books that I put my hands on in 2020
“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
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
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.
Lucy Dacus
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is no readying yourself for this one. Carmen is a modern legend, case closed.
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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you 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
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Books with Brittany
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Julie Ehlers
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fulfilling my 2020 goal to read (at least) one book each month that i bought in hardcover and put off reading long enough that it is now in paperback.

review to come!
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
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: 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
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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.” 123 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.” 56 likes
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