In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart , Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment.
In her dazzling Abandon Me , Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself.Read more...
In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment.
In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another.
At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-09-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Feboss (Whip Smart) second memoir is part lovesick devotional and part meditation on the intersection between desire and identity. She outlines the progression of a doomed relationship in exquisitely romantic detail (Her mouth the soft nail on which my life snagged, and tore open) alongside the story of reconnecting with her birth father, a Wampanoag Native American and career drug addict and alcoholic. As she explores her native roots through the lens of historical trauma and cultural erasure, she finds an explanation for a viscerally felt absence and her willingness to be colonized by a controlling lover. She captures the contradictions of female sexuality, complicated further when the object of ones desire is another woman, and delves into the push and pull of the other relationships that molded her, as with her adoptive father, a sea captain whose fierce love and frequent absence were contradictory formative influences: Every time he left port, we wrecked again. Her mastery over metaphor is astonishing: describing a moment of heartache, she writes, I was the sound of breaking. Pedestrians and bicyclists looked around, covered their ears. What might be mere navel-gazing for a less brilliant author is made powerfully universal here. Though the particulars are hers, just about anyone can relate to the feeling of a chasm opening up inside. Febross awakening to her full identity, even its ugliness, is a powerful and redemptive epic. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Mar.)