From the opening lines, it’s clear The Girl at the center of these poems is damaged—which is another way to say she’s a survivor. If the Girl Never Learns moves from the personal to the mythic to the apocalyptic, because The Girl would do anything, even go to hell, to save her soul. So, she resists, takes action to overturn society’s suffocating ideal of Good Girldom. The poems’ sense of breathlessness reflects The Girl’s absolute need to control her own destiny, to outrun her past, while at the same time chasing a future she alone has envisioned and embodied. Because The Girl is, above all else, a badass.
Sue William Silverman’s first poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon. She is also the author of four books of creative nonfiction. Her most recent book, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, was a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award. Her memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, won the AWP Award, and Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction is also a Lifetime TV original movie. Her craft book is Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and she teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Gentile reader, and you, Jews, come too. Follow Sue William Silverman, a one-woman cultural mash-up, on her exploration of identity among the mishmash of American idols and ideals that confuse most of usãor should. Pat Boone is our first stop. Now a Tea Party darling, Boone once shone as a squeaky-clean pop music icon of normality, an antidote for Silvermanês own confusing and dangerous home, where being a Jew in a Christian school wasnêt easy, and being the daughter of the Anti-Boone was unspeakable. And yet somehow Silverman found her way, a gefilte fish swimming upstream, and found her voice, which in this searching, bracing, hilarious, and moving book tries to make sense of that most troubling American condition: belonging, but to what?
Picking apricots on a kibbutz, tramping cross-country in a loathed Volkswagen camper, appearing in a made-for-television version of her own life: Silverman is a bobby-soxer, a baby boomer, a hippy, a lefty, and a rebel with something to say to those of usãmost of usãstill wondering what to make of ourselves.