EW reviews two of this fall's buzziest memoirs

By David Canfield and Leah Greenblatt
October 25, 2019 at 07:30 AM EDT
Graywolf Press; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Wild Game, by Adrienne Brodeur

Adrienne Brodeur can construct a scene with the best of them. Her debut memoir, a smart if unsubtle chronicle of devastating family secrets, opens on Adrienne at 14, summering at her family’s cozy Cape Cod beach house. Over the course of a bougie dinner party, she feasts on squab, endures an unsettling first sexual encounter, and takes on an enormous emotional burden: Her mother tells her she’s embarking on an affair— with her husband’s best friend. Adrienne is tasked to maintain the deception as she comes of age, anchoring a memoir that richly explores a complex mother-daughter bond. B+ —David Canfield

In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado

If there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them, Carmen Maria Machado has found a way to do exactly that, ingeniously, in Dream House — a book that manages to break open nearly everything we think we know about abuse memoirs. Each brief chapter is refracted through the prism of familiar pop culture touchstones: bad romance as soap opera, as stoner comedy, as déjà vu. In her quest to make sense of a lover who turns on her, Machado ricochets from queer-theory footnotes to Finding Nemo; the result is a gorgeously kaleidoscopic feat — not just of literature but of pure, uncut humanity. A —Leah Greenblatt

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