I am a big fan of memoirs. I'm also a big fan of lyrical writing, and not so much a big fan of dark humor, attitude, and heavy sarcasm. Those are important things to understand about me in the context of this book review.
I didn't love Nancy Bachrach's memoir of her bipolar mother, AKA The Center of the Universe. I didn't connect at all. It was emotionally disjointed for me, although very well written. For me, it lacked the element of poetry that creates—in me—empathy. This book felt wrapped in a hard outer shell, and I couldn't crack it. The pace was so fast and snappy that I couldn't always follow, and I tired of the Bachrach's cleverness within the first few chapters.
Do you see where I'm coming from? If you liked The Liar's Club (which I did not), you'll like The Center of the Universe. If you prefer lyrical memoirs like James McBride's The Color of Water, I wouldn't recommend this. It's all about what draws you, as the reader, in personally. It is difficult for me to connect with people in real life who are cynical and constantly clever, and this naturally carries over into my reading life. Again, Bachrach is a good writer, and the story is intriguing and unique in many ways.
For me, it's all in the presentation, and I missed the poet's heart of my favorite memoirs.
Other Reviews of The Center of the Universe
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