The Unspeakable

The Unspeakable

And Other Subjects of Discussion

Book Club Kit - 2015
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"A master of the personal essay candidly explores love, death, and the counterfeit rituals of American life In her celebrated 2001 collection, My misspent youth, Meghan Daum offered a bold, witty, defining account of the artistic ambitions, financial anxieties, and mixed emotions of her generation. The unspeakable is an equally bold and witty, but also a sadder and wiser, report from early middle age. It's a report tempered by hard times. In "Matricide," Daum unflinchingly describes a parent's death and the uncomfortable emotions it provokes; and in "Diary of a coma" she relates her own journey to the twilight of the mind. But Daum also operates in a comic register. With perfect precision, she reveals the absurdities of the marriage-industrial complex, of the New Age dating market, and of the peculiar habits of the young and digital. Elsewhere, she writes searchingly about cultural nostalgia, Joni Mitchell, and the alternating heartbreak and liberation of choosing not to have children. Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with a warm humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Daum dissects our culture's most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through it all, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Picador,, 2015
Edition: First Picador edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
Branch Call Number: ABC 814.6 DAU
Characteristics: 244 pages ; 21 cm (1 set of 12 copies and reading guide)


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Jul 18, 2016

Love her low-level crankiness. Very real.

Apr 18, 2015

Bracing. Hilarious. Knowing.

manoush Mar 31, 2015

Pretty tame fare for such a bold title. Daum's essays range from the forgettable to the cutesy to the gossipy. The strongest essay is the book's first, a portrait of her mother and grandmother that's affecting and intense. But none of the essays live up to the author's claim in the introduction that she's a fearless truth-teller who says openly what others sugarcoat. Nothing in these pages is particularly bold or outlandish or transgressive. It's all very much in step with the current cultural themes of middle-aged angst, ranting about pet peeves, and claiming for oneself more originality and iconoclasm than one's writing actually delivers.

multcolib_darceem Jan 23, 2015

Funny, but not frivolous. I loved Daum's keen recognition of the absurd, her unapologetic honesty and many 1970s-80s pop culture references. What I loved most about these essays however, is how moving they were. How they started off so specific and individual and ended with broader truths about the expected reactions we've assigned to human experiences.

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