There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
~ Emily Dickinson

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. ~ Helen Keller

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Review: The Invisible Girls: A Memoir

The Invisible Girls: A Memoir
The Invisible Girls: A Memoir by Sarah Thebarge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While reading this book I became afraid to finish it, feeling that other books would feel narrow and unimportant following it. It is a book that contains such a sea of deep feeling and broad experience that it seems to contain everything a book and heart can hold. All this abundance of life is disproportionate with the age of its author. Sarah Thebarge was in her twenties, working on her second graduate degree at Columbia, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her feelings of abandonment by God, family, church, and boyfriend made me realize how quickly one may be cut off from comfort, to disappear in a horizon of pain. Like my favorite play W;t (which also deals with cancer and abandonment) grace comes through kindness, when Sarah meets a Somali family who are just as adrift in an American city as she was in her battle with death. Five rambunctious, foul-mouthed girls who don't know their own birthdays become her sisters. At first the indigent family couldn't seem more different from their Ivy League-educated 'benefactress', but Sarah soon discovers that their shared invisibility as girls in fundamentalist cultures can become a shared story of grace. My only complaint is that the book could have been more detailed. However, this seems to be due to the recent rawness of Thebarge's pain, as well as the fact that she published this book to start a college fund for her new little sisters. Thebarge's exploration of a Christianity freed from the fundamentalism that makes girls and women invisible is a subject dear to my heart, so it was truly serendipitous when my mom chanced upon this exquisite memoir.

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