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Persephone's Children: A Life in Fragments

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After years of secrecy and silence, Rowan McCandless leaves an abusive relationship and rediscovers her voice and identity through writing. She was never to lie to him. She was never to leave him; and she was never supposed to tell. Persephone’s Children chronicles Rowan McCandless’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relation After years of secrecy and silence, Rowan McCandless leaves an abusive relationship and rediscovers her voice and identity through writing. She was never to lie to him. She was never to leave him; and she was never supposed to tell. Persephone’s Children chronicles Rowan McCandless’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relationship. Through a series of thematically linked and structurally inventive essays, including a contract, a crossword puzzle, and a metafictional TV script, McCandless explores the fraught and fragmented relationship between memory and trauma. Multiple mythologies emerge to bind legacy and loss, motherhood and daughterhood, racism and intergenerational trauma, mental illness and resiliency. It is only in the aftermath that she can begin to see the patterns in her history, hear the echoes of oppression passed down from unknown, unnamed ancestors, and discover her worth and right to exist in the world.


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After years of secrecy and silence, Rowan McCandless leaves an abusive relationship and rediscovers her voice and identity through writing. She was never to lie to him. She was never to leave him; and she was never supposed to tell. Persephone’s Children chronicles Rowan McCandless’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relation After years of secrecy and silence, Rowan McCandless leaves an abusive relationship and rediscovers her voice and identity through writing. She was never to lie to him. She was never to leave him; and she was never supposed to tell. Persephone’s Children chronicles Rowan McCandless’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relationship. Through a series of thematically linked and structurally inventive essays, including a contract, a crossword puzzle, and a metafictional TV script, McCandless explores the fraught and fragmented relationship between memory and trauma. Multiple mythologies emerge to bind legacy and loss, motherhood and daughterhood, racism and intergenerational trauma, mental illness and resiliency. It is only in the aftermath that she can begin to see the patterns in her history, hear the echoes of oppression passed down from unknown, unnamed ancestors, and discover her worth and right to exist in the world.

30 review for Persephone's Children: A Life in Fragments

  1. 4 out of 5

    Soula Kosti

    Rowan McCandless created a unique memoir by a series of inventive essays, some of those resembling dictionary or encyclopedia entries, others looking like crosswords and puzzles, while another looked like daily journal entries with prompts and one was written like a play. In this unorthodox but creative way, McCandless discusses all the hardships that she went through in her life including abuse, trauma, and loss. Persephone's Children is the proof that there is no limit in the ways we can tell Rowan McCandless created a unique memoir by a series of inventive essays, some of those resembling dictionary or encyclopedia entries, others looking like crosswords and puzzles, while another looked like daily journal entries with prompts and one was written like a play. In this unorthodox but creative way, McCandless discusses all the hardships that she went through in her life including abuse, trauma, and loss. Persephone's Children is the proof that there is no limit in the ways we can tell our stories and that through skillful techniques more and more groundbreaking stories come to light every day. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ravina

    Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review! Through Persephone’s Children, Rowan McCandless has created a unique and beautifully crafted memoir that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. McCandless employs a variety of techniques throughout her essays to navigate through her experiences and articulate her journey through heartbreak, abuse, oppression, and trauma. We are introduced to McCandless’ world in her first essay, an alphabetic acr Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review! Through Persephone’s Children, Rowan McCandless has created a unique and beautifully crafted memoir that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. McCandless employs a variety of techniques throughout her essays to navigate through her experiences and articulate her journey through heartbreak, abuse, oppression, and trauma. We are introduced to McCandless’ world in her first essay, an alphabetic acrostic. She goes on to use the format of a contract to indicate how her husband controlled her, the rules that he imposed on her, and the abuse that she suffered. Other literary devices include crossword clues, writing prompts to explore varying aspects of her life, construction reports, and an inventory. My personal favourites were a quiz entitled “Hunger Games”, which allowed her to describe her struggle with an eating disorder and how the ways in which her family’s shaping of her identity contributed to this, and a short involving interactions with a director and scriptwriter as she and her husband took their respective parts in the script written for them to relay their relationship. Noteworthy in the latter is the blame placed on McCandless for the failings of the relationship, indicating her thoughts and feelings about her role as a victim of abuse. I also thought it was interesting how she identified with Persephone, a mythological character who has “a dual identity as queen of the underworld and as Kore the maiden and goddess of fertility. [McCandless] wondered how Persephone felt having to perpetually straddle two worlds through no fault of her own”. Born to a white mother and Black father, McCandless’ biracial roots and dual identity are woven through her essays. Ultimately, McCandless uses these methods of storytelling to enable herself to work through the trials of her journey to this point, but it makes for incredibly remarkable reading and a unique insight into the mind of a woman that has suffered from abuse, burden, loss, and a search for identity for a large part of her life. What never fails to come through this all is the love she has for her daughters, which is testament to the strength and resilience of her character. (4.5)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suanne

    Rowan McCandless uses a lovely, unique manner to create her memoir; she uses scaffolding of various types, including the alphabet that begins the book (A is for…), followed by a screenplay, poems, and crossword puzzles, along with essays. In this creative yet unorthodox manner, Ms. McCandless lays out all the hardships she endures in her lifetime, ranging from poverty, childhood and domestic abuse, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, and institutional racism. After eating three pomegranate Rowan McCandless uses a lovely, unique manner to create her memoir; she uses scaffolding of various types, including the alphabet that begins the book (A is for…), followed by a screenplay, poems, and crossword puzzles, along with essays. In this creative yet unorthodox manner, Ms. McCandless lays out all the hardships she endures in her lifetime, ranging from poverty, childhood and domestic abuse, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, and institutional racism. After eating three pomegranate seeds in the Underworld, Persephone must spend part of her year there and part on the surface of the earth, thus effectively straddling two worlds. Ms. McCandless, a biracial woman, must do the same, existing between her white and her black families. The alphabet that begins this work gives a baseline from which she and her readers explore her life. Though the timeframe isn’t chronological, the bouncing around gives some sense of how memories are explored and reframed over time. Overall, a powerful, moving book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Clare

    All right, this book is excellent. Which is remarkable because a collection of "fragments," you'd think, would be inherently raw and unpolished. Especially when the fragments themselves are so curious in form: the essay as crossword puzzle, as drama script, as quiz, as diagnosis. Pretty cool, right? A fun gimmick. But challenging to execute... In her debut collection, however, @rowanmccandlesswrites gets it right, each of these pieces so meticulously crafted to tell a story of a difficult childhood All right, this book is excellent. Which is remarkable because a collection of "fragments," you'd think, would be inherently raw and unpolished. Especially when the fragments themselves are so curious in form: the essay as crossword puzzle, as drama script, as quiz, as diagnosis. Pretty cool, right? A fun gimmick. But challenging to execute... In her debut collection, however, @rowanmccandlesswrites gets it right, each of these pieces so meticulously crafted to tell a story of a difficult childhood, of growing up Black and biracial, of surviving and escaping an abusive marriage. She writes about motherhood, mental health, and living with trauma. And this is a book that's going to surprise and delight you. What a triumph!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Persephone's Children was provided for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I read this on my kindle. 5/5 ⭐ The goddess Persephone has to straddle two worlds. As a mixed race woman, Rowan McCandless relates. In a collection of essays, Rowan shares with us her life. She shares her trauma, her recovery, and her resilience. This book was powerful. Rowan was sexually assaulted at a young age, belittled and abused by her parents, abused by several husband's, and struggled with mental hea Persephone's Children was provided for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I read this on my kindle. 5/5 ⭐ The goddess Persephone has to straddle two worlds. As a mixed race woman, Rowan McCandless relates. In a collection of essays, Rowan shares with us her life. She shares her trauma, her recovery, and her resilience. This book was powerful. Rowan was sexually assaulted at a young age, belittled and abused by her parents, abused by several husband's, and struggled with mental health issues like depression, anxiety and a restrictive eating disorder, all while facing the challenge of racism. The essay in this book are brilliantly written. Some examples are; Rowan writes out the alphabet, introducing us to her complex family and giving a baseline of her life experiences. She writes a play, to showcase how difficult it was to work with her abusive husband, M. Rowan writes a full psychological evaluation, detailing how and why her voice isn't always around. Rowan detailed her stays in a crisis stabilization unit by identifying writing prompts. The content of the essays isn't always in a linear time scale, focusing on several different time periods of Rowan's life simultaneously. I found it was appropriate, because when recalling trauma, memories arnt stirred up in a linear fashion. Overall, This essay collection was powerful, captivating, and moving. I highly recommend! A note: I had difficulty with the formating of this book. Often pictures would appear halfway through sentences, and new essays would start on the same page as old ones. Pictures wouldn't load on many pages either. Sometimes new paragraphs would start within the previous paragraph. I'm not sure if this is intentional, or if when the PDF was loaded onto my Kindle it formated weird.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Vail

    Persephone’s Children floored me. It is so unique yet stunningly written and really gives a different perspective into how a brain processes trauma. How our minds jump to different memories via connections, how different experiences trigger us. I also appreciated the history sprinkled throughout the book, and Grandma Daisy’s story made me ache as an Atlantic Canadian. I was so ignorant of the history of the KKK throughout Canada, and the Maritimes and I cannot imagine the trauma. The book explore Persephone’s Children floored me. It is so unique yet stunningly written and really gives a different perspective into how a brain processes trauma. How our minds jump to different memories via connections, how different experiences trigger us. I also appreciated the history sprinkled throughout the book, and Grandma Daisy’s story made me ache as an Atlantic Canadian. I was so ignorant of the history of the KKK throughout Canada, and the Maritimes and I cannot imagine the trauma. The book explores domestic abuse and generational trauma very well and I felt privileged to have read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zilla Jones

    This is one of those books that makes me feel seen so completely, it’s a bit like “Killing Me Softly” - “I felt she found my letters and read each one aloud.” This is even the case with Rowan McCandless and I being from different generations and having very different life experiences. But we share the same city, some similarities to our upbringings (white family members who were distant and not accepting, the parental belief that you do not air your dirty linen in public, a devotion to religion) This is one of those books that makes me feel seen so completely, it’s a bit like “Killing Me Softly” - “I felt she found my letters and read each one aloud.” This is even the case with Rowan McCandless and I being from different generations and having very different life experiences. But we share the same city, some similarities to our upbringings (white family members who were distant and not accepting, the parental belief that you do not air your dirty linen in public, a devotion to religion) and the same overall experience of being a multiracial Black-identified person grappling with history, identity and decolonization. Even with the push for an increase in diversity in publishing, these stories are still relatively rare so that when I do encounter them it is like suddenly coming home. The book is a series of non-fiction essays that weave together the experience of childhood and domestic abuse with issues of race and hybridity in the context of being the daughter of a mixed marriage in a majority white society, and being relatively light-skinned and able to slip in and out of worlds (in one incongruity likely familiar to many of us, the author’s childhood friends’ father circulated a petition against a Black family moving into his neighbourhood, but allowed her presence in his home. On another occasion, a white woman in a support group horrifyingly tells her that Black women do not have eating disorders because no one judges our bodies.) Additionally she writes about mothering and the traumatic situation of desperately driving 12 hours to Calgary as her adult daughter’s life hung in the balance. Overall, it is a book of resilience and the strength needed to escape an abusive marriage and reclaim her voice and, as the title suggests, Greek mythology plays a role in that resilience. What I found most mesmerizing is the ingenious way the author plays with form: an abecedarian of all the things that have shaped her life (“A is for ancestry, R is for race,” etc), field notes of archaeological items found from her past, imaginary counsellors’ notes about her and so on. This uniquely provides a distance from highly emotional events that actually allows the reader to think and consider more readily. Most of the essays can be read alone, taking time to digest each, but I gulped them hungrily like a starving woman at a banquet, filled more and more with wonder at each page. Most of all, the book is an ode to the art and craft of writing to overcome loneliness, build community and heal. Writing changed Rowan McCandless’ life, and this is a book that will change your life too.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Thomas

    Persephone’s Children by Rowan McCandless 328 Pages Publisher: Dundurn Press Release Date: November 9, 2021 Nonfiction, Biographies, Memoirs, Domestic Violence, Counseling Rowan McCandless is a biracial woman living in Canada. She writes about her abusive relationships and her final escape. She shows how much it took to finally have the courage to leave. These are the names of the chapters. Blood Tithes: A Primer Binding Resolutions Articulations of Loss Trialogue: A Play on Words Today Thoughts on Keeping Persephone’s Children by Rowan McCandless 328 Pages Publisher: Dundurn Press Release Date: November 9, 2021 Nonfiction, Biographies, Memoirs, Domestic Violence, Counseling Rowan McCandless is a biracial woman living in Canada. She writes about her abusive relationships and her final escape. She shows how much it took to finally have the courage to leave. These are the names of the chapters. Blood Tithes: A Primer Binding Resolutions Articulations of Loss Trialogue: A Play on Words Today Thoughts on Keeping a Notebook Map of the World Forest, Tree, Branch, Root Therapist Revolving Doors Found Objects Orange Hunger Games: A Quiz Bait and Switch Practical Magick: A Beginner’s Grimoire Vocal Lessons: A Diagnostic Report An Inventory of Wants and Needs The book is written in a unique format. Some of it is written as a dictionary of terms with definitions. There are questions and quizzes with multiple choice answers. Each chapter discusses a specific times or events in the author’s life. Dealing with domestic violence is hard and the author shows her bravery in her worlds. She also talks about how words can hurt a woman, especially a woman with an eating disorder and a woman of color. When I started the book, I was confused with the first chapter but soon realized how the author was laying out the story. There are sayings in the book that will stay with me long after I finish the book. I enjoyed reading about Rowan and her courage to leave a violent situation. I recommend this book to see how hard it is to live with domestic violence and make the decision to leave.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pipa

    This was a really interesting take on writing a memoir. Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! It’s an account of McCandless’ journey to recovery after a lifetime of abuse. From a toxic home environment, she is catapulted into toxic relationships and marriages which ended up equally abusive. I enjoyed the explorative nature of this. McCandless recounts her experiences of abuse and recovery not in the conventional memoir way, but instead through different collections of This was a really interesting take on writing a memoir. Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! It’s an account of McCandless’ journey to recovery after a lifetime of abuse. From a toxic home environment, she is catapulted into toxic relationships and marriages which ended up equally abusive. I enjoyed the explorative nature of this. McCandless recounts her experiences of abuse and recovery not in the conventional memoir way, but instead through different collections of writing. This includes an A-Z of word association, memories from different addresses, memories associated with different trees, research data, psychiatrist reports, and word searches. This almost stream-of-consciousness style was really illuminating; I get the feeling that these sections were written as essays to help her come to terms with her experiences, and that these essays were then compiled into a book. Personally I quite enjoyed this approach - but it may not be to everyone’s tastes, and I did grow a bit tired of it towards the end as it felt like a repetition of the same points in different ways. It does, at points, make for really tough and heartbreaking reading. However, it is some of the most breathtakingly beautiful, raw and perceptive writing I’ve come across in a while. As well as a personal testimony, it does also include some interesting social commentary; there were many elements of this that I found myself nodding in agreement with. Her perspective on life as a female of mixed heritage (and therefore highly vulnerable in an environment rife with racism and objectification) were enlightening.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nurai

    Rowan McCandless writes about being in an abusive relationship and the damage and trauma this has caused, even long after she has decided to leave. The structure of this memoir is so interesting and unlike anything I'd read before: each chapter is written in a different format. One chapter takes the form of a contract; one is a crossword puzzle; one details a diagnosis of her vocal chords and the damage the relationship caused to her voice. My favourite (though this sounds strange to say about a Rowan McCandless writes about being in an abusive relationship and the damage and trauma this has caused, even long after she has decided to leave. The structure of this memoir is so interesting and unlike anything I'd read before: each chapter is written in a different format. One chapter takes the form of a contract; one is a crossword puzzle; one details a diagnosis of her vocal chords and the damage the relationship caused to her voice. My favourite (though this sounds strange to say about a book that deals with such difficult topics) was the chapter that took the form of a screenplay: she and her then-husband played fictionalised versions of themselves, and the director and writer kept trying to fit their story into different genres. The way McCandless writes about her experiences is so vulnerable and sincere. She talks about growing up in a mixed-race household and the complexities this brings; she discusses being sexually assaulted as a teenager and how the shame and guilt she felt influenced other events later in her life. She writes about writing and how this played a big part in her recovery after leaving her abusive husband. Though I don't think the format of the memoir always worked perfectly, I really loved the parts where it did and really admire McCandless for trying something so different. I enjoyed her writing and look forward to seeing what she writes next.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Naima

    i received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review content warnings: emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, gaslighting, intergenerational trauma, anti-black racism i'll admit, this almost became a DNF for me based off of the first 14%, and i think that's a shame, because mccandless makes a lot of innovative and frankly groundbreaking formatting and writing decisions throughout, but beginning the book with an alphabetical list of key words that will be used throughout the b i received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review content warnings: emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, gaslighting, intergenerational trauma, anti-black racism i'll admit, this almost became a DNF for me based off of the first 14%, and i think that's a shame, because mccandless makes a lot of innovative and frankly groundbreaking formatting and writing decisions throughout, but beginning the book with an alphabetical list of key words that will be used throughout the book, when the reader hasn't been introduced to the narrator just yet, made it very difficult to get through. when i finished the book, i thought very distinctly that the first and last sections of the book should be swapped - it makes far more sense for the 'needs/wants' section to begin the book and the alphabetical glossary to conclude it. as i finish it, i think that the digital formatting of the book is probably to its own detriment, and that anyone that's interested in reading it would enjoy a physical copy more. the digital formatting made it difficult to scroll back and forth to gain context, to 'flip' through the pages to connect a lot of the larger sections of the book, and overall made what i know to be a cohesive novel disjointed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elo

    A life in Fragments really describes this book very well. I found it to be a bit confusing, jumping from one thing to another (though always with a running theme) but it make perfect sense in all with the title. I was provided with an advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I’m throwing a guess now, but I think this is a book you’ll want as a physical copy, as an e-book formatting might not be the best to enjoy the different format as best as you can. The au A life in Fragments really describes this book very well. I found it to be a bit confusing, jumping from one thing to another (though always with a running theme) but it make perfect sense in all with the title. I was provided with an advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I’m throwing a guess now, but I think this is a book you’ll want as a physical copy, as an e-book formatting might not be the best to enjoy the different format as best as you can. The author uses different kind of tools for storytelling that brings a different perspective to highlight her history of abuse. I am not Canadian, but having lived in Canada for a few years, it was enlightening to read about the experience of a biracial black Canadian woman and how difficult it was. If you enjoy linear, « classic », storytelling, this book might not be for you. However, if you like trying new things, and are ready for a non-fiction book that changes a bit from the chronological format, give this one a try.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Persephone's Children is an unique, different memoir. The vibes are "memoir x poetry collection" - made with an assortment of different formats, each Fragment tells you a new bit of the author's life. The writing style also contributed to the poetry feel. This creative non-fiction creates a different type of interaction with the book and with the "story", and seems particularly fitting when discussing the parts of a life that deal with pain, abuse, discrimination/oppression and trauma. Most of t Persephone's Children is an unique, different memoir. The vibes are "memoir x poetry collection" - made with an assortment of different formats, each Fragment tells you a new bit of the author's life. The writing style also contributed to the poetry feel. This creative non-fiction creates a different type of interaction with the book and with the "story", and seems particularly fitting when discussing the parts of a life that deal with pain, abuse, discrimination/oppression and trauma. Most of the book deals with heavy, dark moments /periods of McCandless life, mainly regarding her abusive relationships, and her road as a survivor. Other themes include race (biracial), eating disorders, sexual assault, being a mother, abortion, being a woman. TW/CW: abortion, relationship/domestic abuse, sexual assault, racism, eating disorders, medical issues (specifically in giving birth). I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jayden

    *ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* Persephone’s Children is a memoir unlike any other. It is told through many different essays, in many different forms, including (but not limited to) an alphabetized list, a field study, multiple choice Q&A, religious and cultural rituals, text message exchanges, a glossary of terms, as well as regular essays. The main subject of the memoir is McCandless’s most recent abusive marriage, and how she got help to leave. The *ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* Persephone’s Children is a memoir unlike any other. It is told through many different essays, in many different forms, including (but not limited to) an alphabetized list, a field study, multiple choice Q&A, religious and cultural rituals, text message exchanges, a glossary of terms, as well as regular essays. The main subject of the memoir is McCandless’s most recent abusive marriage, and how she got help to leave. The author also discusses the domestic abuse from her first marriage, childhood sexual assault, her eating disorder and how it relates to her racial identity as a mixed Black person with intergenerational trauma, and her relationship with her parents and other family members that may have led her to “lose her voice”. She discusses how therapy, her daughters, and ultimately writing and its surrounding community helped her find her voice again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    HollyLovesBooks

    This was an interesting read. It is a memoir exploring domestic violence and all that relates to this. The format is confusing at first, but it is a unique and powerful method of telling the story. I read this as an eARC but my feeling is that this format doesn’t do it justice. I think a physical book would capture the poetic methods used within these pages. The author explores all the different ways that domestic abuse are manifest, from physical to controlling to demoralizing. Essentially, it This was an interesting read. It is a memoir exploring domestic violence and all that relates to this. The format is confusing at first, but it is a unique and powerful method of telling the story. I read this as an eARC but my feeling is that this format doesn’t do it justice. I think a physical book would capture the poetic methods used within these pages. The author explores all the different ways that domestic abuse are manifest, from physical to controlling to demoralizing. Essentially, it is a story about the ways that an abuser can chip away at the humanity of the abused. This is an interesting and powerful look into an abusive relationship. I would like to see a final version of the book to see if the style choices work better than they did in the eARC. The author was very creative with the approach. #PersephonesChildren #NetGalley #DundumPress

  16. 4 out of 5

    Haja

    Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review! OH MY GOODNESS. This is a 5 star book. I can say with great confidence that I have never, ever read a book like this before. McCandless' creativity and imagination were on full display with this work - she pushed the creative nonfiction genre lightyears ahead with this work and I can't wait to read more of her work in the future. This book...goodness me. It chewed me up and left me in tears at the end. I'm in aw Thank you NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review! OH MY GOODNESS. This is a 5 star book. I can say with great confidence that I have never, ever read a book like this before. McCandless' creativity and imagination were on full display with this work - she pushed the creative nonfiction genre lightyears ahead with this work and I can't wait to read more of her work in the future. This book...goodness me. It chewed me up and left me in tears at the end. I'm in awe. ++ i wrote to Rowan McCandless and she responded so quickly and was so, so encouraging and sweet! please support her because she's doing the work!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Claire O'Sullivan

    This is a beautiful book - lots of lists and thoughts and metaphors. Trees and houses and moving forwards . It felt like the privilege of being inside the jumbled thoughts of an abused woman living in a nightmare into moving on into list making and sorting and surviving.. The kind of writing that stays with you. ARC from Netgalley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Macpherson

    Wow, this book is like nothing I’ve read before. It is so original and creative, and incredibly moving. It’s a memoir of a woman’s journey to leave an abusive relationship, told in essay form BUT each of the essays is structurally very different. Think: script for a play, a multiple choice quiz, a crossword. There is a lot of mythology, horticulture, and magic woven into the story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    It was an interesting read. I just kept getting lost. The arrangement was choppy and disjointed, making it difficult to follow at times. I liked reading about the author’s family history and also all the pictures that were included. Thanks to the publisher, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for the early read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raegan Salander

    A very interesting memoir. Though I did not find it as engaging as one written like a story, full marks for ingenuity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Lechner

    Persephone's Children is an incredibly unique memoir told in a multitude of styles, all representing different aspects and moments in Rowan McCandless's life. Over the course of the memoir you discover not only McCandless's story, but also elements of your own story throughout the connection with another. I really enjoyed this novel. I've never read a memoir as uniquely told as this one (a crossword chapter, anyone?) and every moment throughout it I found myself leaning closer and closer, eager t Persephone's Children is an incredibly unique memoir told in a multitude of styles, all representing different aspects and moments in Rowan McCandless's life. Over the course of the memoir you discover not only McCandless's story, but also elements of your own story throughout the connection with another. I really enjoyed this novel. I've never read a memoir as uniquely told as this one (a crossword chapter, anyone?) and every moment throughout it I found myself leaning closer and closer, eager to see the growth and change and strength that comes through so many moments of difficulty and strife. This memoir really honors McCandless's story, and I found myself completely drawn into figuring out how she had the strength to accomplish all of the things she did. None of this could have been easy to write, let alone live through, and I want to thank McCandless for feeling open enough to share her story with the world. Thank you Dundurn Press and NetGalley for the eARC!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Neilsen

    An interesting book about a woman’s journey. I enjoyed it. It was something new to me and I learned more about someone who I might not have met otherwise.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matt Wiebe

    https://mattcanada.wordpress.com/2021... https://mattcanada.wordpress.com/2021...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    3.5

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This was a clever, unique and quite beautiful way for the author to have written her memoir, of escaping and healing from domestic abuse, child abuse, institutional racism and an eating disorder. The book was written in essay form, essays that included being written as a script, an acrostic poem, and my favorite (as an SLP) an SLP report to show how she, the author, lost and reclaimed her voice. This book was very creative in it's form, I didn't necessarily feel as if I got to know the author and This was a clever, unique and quite beautiful way for the author to have written her memoir, of escaping and healing from domestic abuse, child abuse, institutional racism and an eating disorder. The book was written in essay form, essays that included being written as a script, an acrostic poem, and my favorite (as an SLP) an SLP report to show how she, the author, lost and reclaimed her voice. This book was very creative in it's form, I didn't necessarily feel as if I got to know the author and her family very well which is what I enjoy about memoir, but I guess that wasn't really the point of this book. I would give a 5 for brilliance and how cleverly the book was written, but a 3 for my engagement, which averages out to a 4! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renee Hall

    This story and cover art drew me right in! Thank you Net Galley for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

  28. 5 out of 5

    Backstreet's Backlist

  29. 5 out of 5

    Iris

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

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