Book review: Notes to Self — by Emilie Pine

(Dial Press)
The appearance of this slim paperback belies the impactful nature of this collection. “They’re about alcoholism, and miscarriage, and sexual violence, and depression, and silence. And they are also about finding strength, and working hard, and learning to speak out.” The author’s own words, spoken to her mother when she asked what the essays would be about, more than aptly capture the vitality and urgency in this collection. Emilie Pine shines a necessary light on the very subjects women are conditioned to avoid discussing. By exposing her truths, she finds relief; by reading her truths, we find kinship, and temerity, and courage. “Notes to Self” is Pine’s first collection of personal essays, in her day job, she is a serious academic — an  Associate Professor in Modern Drama at University College Dublin, director of the Irish Memory Studies Research Network, editor of the Irish University Review — who has published widely in the fields of theatre and memory studies. The accounts she describes in her essays are stories she has never told anyone else before, and some she hasn’t even admitted to herself. It’s rare to encounter such an honest portrayal of one’s experiences, and reading it, like any great literature, gives you an insight into the human condition that, once learned, stays with you.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
8 Women’s Memoirs
Educated, by Tara Westover
Rough Magic, by Lara Palmer
The Girl Who Smiled Beads, by Clemantine Wamariya
Deep Creek, by Pam Houston
Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot
Maid, by Stephanie Land
Hunger, by Roxane Gay
The Body Papers, by Grace Talusan 

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