Book review: My Dead Parents: A Memoir — by Anya Yurchyshyn

(Crown Publishing Group)
Author Anya Yurchyshyn is tasked with cleaning out her family’s home after the death of her mother. Her father was killed in a car accident in the Ukraine, and her mother, mentally depressed her entire life, drank herself to death. Her older sister, by six years, has long been the caretaker of the family, but it is Anya’s turn this time. Her discoveries of letters and other evidence of a life her world-traveling parents lived very unlike the life she believed they lived is the source of this story. Not the makings of a propulsive narrative nonfiction read, you say? Let me explain further. This writer is gifted, forthright and memorable. Her anonymous essay, originally published on Tumblr, went viral, and the truth she exposed in her family history resonated with everyone who read it. The most enthralling, and yet unsurprising, hook of this memoir is that the author didn’t discover many of the truths about her parents until after both of their deaths. How true it is that we can never see our parents as people, they are always imprisoned by the expectations surrounding the concept of parent. A moving, unsentimental account.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
9 More messy family histories
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler
Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
Second Wind, by Nathaniel Philbrick
Driving with Dead People, by Monica Holloway
The Liars’ Club, by Mary Karr
All Over But The Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel

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