Saturday, August 30, 2008

Straight Up and Fabulous...

Straight Up & Dirty, Stephanie Klein

Girl crush, right here, my friends. I want to buy this woman a drink and maybe kiss her goodnight.

Klein's candid and almost uncomfortably honest account of getting through and over her divorce is one of the best reads I've had in a long time. When dating a bevy of men ("a pair and a spare") proves unsuccessful, Klein undergoes an at times painful journey of self-discovery that hit close to home in a way I've never encountered through the written word.

I'm finding that memoir is becoming far more riveting to me than fiction--had this book been fashioned about a character, invented inside the mind of a writer, it would have been good, probably great. But the fact that, as I'm reading it, I am constantly aware of the fact that this is a real, flesh and blood woman, sharing her real flesh and blood experience, it makes the act of reading the words a form of communication one just doesn't get with a novel. She could have easily created a character and written a "semi-autobiographical" account of a woman struggling to find herself, "loosely" based on her own life. But the rawness of memoir, especially this one, makes the story that much more alive. This is not a character, but a real woman, one who you might walk by on the side walk, or sit next to at a bar. And she lived this.

Not that it's an extraordinary or unusual experience she's gone through. When I was the age she is in this memoir, I went through a similar sort of experience, although it wasn't as messy as divorce. I went through a similar journey to find a sense of satisfaction, contentment and peace in my life. I knew other women had to have gone through it, too; I knew I was not unique in my grief and in the transformation I went through. But I've never read it before. Never seen it put out there so eloquently and beautifully.

Reading Straight Up & Dirty took me back to that time in my own life, to both the pain of loss and the elation of self-discovery and self-reliance. Tonight as I absorb the last bits of the book into my consciousness, I am so grateful to have picked up the book and to have not only read Stephanie's story, but to have reminded myself of my own journey to the woman I am today.


Megan said...

I LOVE Straight Up and Dirty!! Do you read her blog, Greek Tragedy?

Liz said...

Sounds very interesting. I'm going to see if my library has it (I'm on a "don't buy/borrow" campaign, these days). This book is in the interactive fiction genre, not so much memoir, but also helps with the journey of self-discovery. Really, really fascinating and powerful. The author embraces femaleosophy -- all about women, their strength and their wisdom. And she lets us into a woman's mind to find out what's hiding in there, including moral decisions, ethical decisions, the struggle to do what's right -- kind of helping us all find, listen to and HEED our own inner voice.

Deetree said...

I've been looking for a good read - love memoirs.This sounds great! Thanks!