Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning
Content is thrilled to host Claire Dederer, author of one of our favorite books of 2017, just out in paperback: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning. Dederer will discuss her work in conversation with activist Rita Thorson and sign books. Love and Trouble is a blazingly intelligent, wickedly funny memoir about going off the rails in midlife, from the NY Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.
When Claire Dederer, happily married mother of two, turned forty-four she began to have what she can only describe as “a lot of extremely inconvenient feelings”—feelings of recklessness, of impatience, and of a kind of voluptuous erotic reawakening. This exuberant memoir shifts between her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of unruly and mysterious new hungers, and her recollections of herself as a teenager—the last time she experienced life with such heightened sensitivity and longing—two periods uncannily similar in their emotional intensity. From her hilarious chapter titles (“How to Have Sex with Your Husband of Fifteen Years,” “Recidivist Slutty Tendencies in the Pre-AIDS-Era Adolescent Female”) to her irresistible voice and formal caprice—a scathing letter to Roman Polanski on the occasion of her daughter’s thirteenth birthday; a history of ruinous kisses; a geography of Seattle in the eighties; the ABCs of Oberlin—Dederer captures the perils and pleasures of girlhood, womanhood, and life itself.
Praise for Love and Trouble
“Love and Trouble is the most surprising and subversive memoir I’ve read in years. Come for what you think is a standard mid-life crisis story. Stay for the luminous, gritty map of Seattle in the eighties and nineties; the perfectly recalled angst of adolescence; the dark midnights of men and whiskey; the intelligent meditations on women, their vulnerability and sexuality. Put the book down with gratitude for the Claire Dederer’s unshrinking honesty and mastery of her material.”
“In equal parts hilarious and haunting, Love and Trouble captures the ways in which our past selves are never really past. In loose, edgy, confident prose, Claire Dederer peels back layer after layer of herself as an erotic creature, and in so doing has crafted a book that grabs the reader in an utterly visceral way. This is an exciting, daring memoir.”
“Love and Trouble is a welcome deep dive into Claire Dederer’s girl self and grown self, and the way the two have overlapped and pulled apart over time. is knowing and original memoir abounds with intelligence, wit, earned nostalgia, and an impressive degree of understanding about no less than being female and becoming a person.”
“Love and Trouble is unlike any memoir I’ve ever read: formally inventive and wise, have-to-put-the-book-down funny yet somehow tinged with grief. And the sentences! They simply sing. I’ve never thought so deeply, or in so many different modes, about my own sexuality, femininity, and motherhood. Though I don’t mean to suggest that this is a book just for women—I kept reading passages aloud to my husband, as a way of asking him to understand something essential about me, and about himself, and about marriage in general. I began reading Love and Trouble thinking Dederer was writing about herself; halfway through I decided she was writing about me. By the time I finished I realized she’d written to me, and to my daughters—to all of us.”
“When I got my hands on Claire Dederer’s new book, I instantly turned off my phone, cancelled all my appointments, curled up in bed, and read all day in grateful — and thoughtful — abandon. As always, I was delighted with what I found in her writing. Dederer is not only a brilliant author, but an honest and brave one, who is not afraid to deep-dive into her own history and her own heart in order to examine what it really means to be a woman right now. Love and Trouble is a book caused me to think differently about marriage, about intimacy, about middle-age, and especially about what it means to have once been a sexually adventurous teenage girl. I saw myself all over these pages, and a think a lot of other readers will, as well.”
“Claire Dederer, in a ferociously honest new memoir, “Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning,” walks this minefield. Most shocking of all, she does it with bracing humor…This is an unflinching exploration… She is a delightfully mordant companion. You could ask for no better guide to the center of yourself.”
What emerges, in the course of this vivid, hilarious, daring self-portrait of a book, is a person who has achieved clarity about her own contradictions, or at least has figured out how to use those contradictions as an excuse to bring lively writing into the world. Told from changing points of view, the memoir is practically a master class in narrative technique… The world is troubling, yes, but this narrator’s intelligence, her curiosity about the ambivalence that defines interiority, and the unique light cast by her experiences growing up in Seattle the 1970s and ’80s yield insight and laughs on every page.”
“Dederer is unstintingly honest and unafraid as she excavates her motivations and res-ervations, her fantasies, and the implications of the choices she has made—and those she has yet to make. Insightful, provocative, and fearlessly frank, Dederer seduces readers with her warmth, wit, and wisdom.”
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“Edgy, frank, and outright hilarious…This candid memoir will resonate with women (and quite possibly men) of all ages, but particularly those in midlife. Dederer brings a startling intimacy and immediacy to her version of growing up female in America.”
“Her elegantly structured, expansive, and unapologetic account captures the sense of one woman’s self about as honestly as it is possible to do on a page… Dederer’s memoir speaks eloquently to questions all women have.”
—Library Journal (starred review)