We gave it an A
”First thing is the belt/worn soft from my father’s pant loops/curling like a black eternity glyph/across my legs.” Thus begins Albanese’s lyrical and often graphic memoir, told entirely in free verse. She survives a stormy suburban adolescence (”I passed out at the wheel/smashed into a house/totaled the car”) and lands a job in New York City, but never shakes her roots. The day she sees Picasso’s Guernica her heart throbs: ”I’ll never catch up/because I am a daughter of blue suburbia/raised on Campbell’s soup casseroles/and cans of crispy onions.” Later, she grapples with marriage, parenthood, and her mother’s death, nearly suffering a nervous breakdown. As she pulls back from the edge and finds joy in life, Albanese delivers a rare reading experience — moving but never sentimental.