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In the Dream House

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  9,577 ratings  ·  1,559 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 ...more
Audiobook, Unabridged, 6 pages
Published December 19th 2019 by HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books (first published November 5th 2019)
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Average rating 4.60  · 
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 ·  9,577 ratings  ·  1,559 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, ...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.

Chaima ✨ شيماء
I just finished this book, and I am searching in some disused closet of my memory for the right words, but they all feel so terribly inadequate, so dwarfed by the magnitude of the experience, that they wilt in my throat like an unwatered flower.

There's so much of this memoir in my mind right now, all of it seething and bleeding and writhing. Full review to come, when I can finally untangle all my thoughts, one strand at a time.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 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 ...more
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 closeness
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, ...more
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
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 ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
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
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 clearly
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 ...more
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
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.
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
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, ...more
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 emotionallyremoved.

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
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 ...more
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
Review in note format :

* An excellent personal account and scholarly exploration of abuse in same-sex relationships.
* I admired this tremendously, a particularly feat, as I loath memoirs generally.
* The motif index of folk literature footnotes were sometimes amusing - impregnation by leaf of lettuce ? but oftentimes they added nothing.
* Ahhhh, enough already with these chapter headings
* I wish "the villain" was more fleshed out or explicable in some way and yet maybe that was the point

* I will
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
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This memoir about emotional and psychological domestic abuse was written in such a unique and compelling way. The author explores the myths and the cultural beliefs that abuse doesn’t happen in lesbian relationships. The memoir is told through multiple vignettes centered around the time her girlfriend lived in a particular house while enrolled in an MFA program. The unique structure bolstered the powerful and impactful writing.
Jessica Woodbury
This is a memoir that plays with structure, that recognizes implicitly that this is a book people will sit down and read, and that understands the world and the record it is coming into. It is a world where we still don't really recognize that domestic abuse takes place in queer relationships, we don't recognize abuse as anything except physical harm from a man acting on a woman. Machado knows she is facing an uphill climb, especially since abuse memoirs have an inherent problem of explaining to ...more
WOW YES In the Dream House is everything people tell you will be an more. Experimental in form, this memoir is part theoretical analysis, part literary reference, part deeply personal narrative of a traumatically abusive relationship. What Machado has achieved here, is nothing short of exceptional. Every sentence of this memoir is carefully constructed and measured, and each chapter deeply affecting in a range of ways. This memoir is a critical contribution to literature and discussion of ...more
You were not always just a You. I was whole—a symbiotic relationship between my best and worst parts—and then, in one sense of the definition, I was cleaved: a neat lop that took first person—that assured, confident woman, the girl detective, the adventurer—away from second, who was always anxious and vibrating like a too-small breed of dog.

Better than I hoped it would be and perhaps my favourite of everything I’ve read so far this year.
Eric Anderson
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carmen Maria Machado's “In the Dream House” is a highly inventive memoir which primarily focuses on a past abusive relationship and the effects of it. Part of what drew me to reading this book was a curiosity to see how she'd meld her fantastical style of writing - which she displayed in her excellent short story collection “Her Body and Other Parties” - with her own autobiographical experience. In this book there are many straightforward recollections of her past particularly concerning an ...more
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.
Sarah Etter
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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.
Anita Pomerantz
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a literary memoir about domestic abuse in a lesbian relationship. I've read nothing like it and expect I never will again.

The structure is unusual. Very short chapters each with a theme that is encapsulated in the title of the chapter i.e. Dream House as Time Travel, Dream House as Confession, Dream House as Romance Novel, etc. Many of the titles allude to a literary style or genre, but plenty refer to other things. Honestly, as I type this, it sounds utterly distracting, and yet in
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Play Book Tag: In the Dream House/Machado - 5 stars 26 35 Dec 03, 2019 02:06PM  
The Wild Detectiv...: Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House 1 14 Dec 03, 2019 06:13AM  

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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 ...more
“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.” 38 likes
“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.” 12 likes
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