In the Dream House: A Memoir
Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir follows her wildly successful first book, Her Body and Other Parties, and could easily have paled in comparison. Her first book was dark, funny, shocking, and imminently readable. Her memoir is even better.
What Machado manages to do with In the Dream House is nothing short of revolutionary. While exploring her own past abusive relationship, she documents and archives lesbian relationships in a way no other book has done. By dismantling stereotypes, illuminating that which is often left in the dark, and unearthing and displaying the darkest moments of her own life, she lays bare a book that is equal parts cautionary tale and revolutionary primer. Written in short chapters that all begin with some variation of “The Dream House as,” Machado works through all the ways her lived experience can be viewed and read. The deep love she feels for her abuser is as real as the terror she experiences at that woman’s hands, and every page offers as many questions as it does explanations.
Machado’s In the Dream House does not attempt to be the loudest voice in the room, but it is the voice most worth listening to. Even when the language whispers, in the smallest moments of revelation and most hideous chronicles of pain, the book is grand and gratifying, and demands to be read.
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