Playing with Dynamite: A Memoir
Sharon Harrigan’s autobiographical recounting of her own struggles in Playing with Dynamite examines her relationship with a brilliant brother and her international travels and studies, which all lead her deeper into a life made complex by induced memories and conflicted histories. Harrigan’s personal history includes an ill-considered marriage to a severely problematic person afflicted with a complex of agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and an unwillingness to self-extricate. Seeking freedom has to involve a choice of whether or not to terminate a probably-flawed pregnancy. As her inhibitions and self-worth problems are revealed, so, too, are the familial/paternal traumas that engendered them. Reading, one begins to be engaged with her explorations.
However, there is a dragging effect to the beginning of this exploration. Harrigan’s conflicts, erroneous memories/ suppositions, and contradictory emotional recollections make it somewhat difficult to engage with the tale. I have to believe that Harrigan’s target audience is women. Reading this as a male, it was obvious that doing so as a female would be tremendously more impactful. Familial relationships and their development and destruction are examined in excruciating detail. Feminine topics are richly evocative of thought when the author finally arrives at a stance requiring the reader to open their mind and resolve to re-examine long-held suppositions.
I earnestly recommend this excellently crafted personal history.
Truman State University Press