Curator Reviews

Damian Barr

I couldn’t choose between her two two memoirs so I’m taking this along with It’s All Made Up. Combined, they tell the story of one very small west of Scotland town through three generations of unforgettable women: her sister Cora is one of the most glamorous and threatening women I’ve encountered on a page. Like Janice, we flinch from her but can’t help but be attracted to her big beehive hair and carefully made-up face. Janice finds refuge in books and music and, eventually, boys—as did I. As with The Color Purple, here is a woman telling her own story in her own voice. For me, reading the west of Scotland idiom, gave me permission to write in my own voice in Maggie & Me. She herself calls them ‘anti-memoirs’ to draw attention to the unreliability of memory and the pure subjectivity of it all.

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