Thursday, February 9, 2023

BOOK REVIEW: The Hero of This Book: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken

The Hero of This Book: A Novel by Elizabeth McCracken is a fictional memoir. Or, it is a memoir hidden in a novel. The narrator is a writer, which further blurs the line between fact and fiction. Is the distinction important for enjoying this book? Not at all.

In the story, the narrator, a middle-aged woman who has recently lost her mother, returns to London to contemplate her mother’s life and her own bereavement. She spends her time in galleries, a cafe, and a theater. All things she used to do with her mother. Her mother, the hero of the story, had cerebral palsy but refused to let her limitations define her. More defining, as least in how it influences the narrator, was the fact that both her parents were hoarders.

This is a quiet remembrance, a celebration of a life well lived, and also a rumination on the art of writing. Relatable insights pop up throughout. It reads as a sweet and sad story of loss, poignant but with flashes of humor. However, it’s not a book that moved me enough to stick with me.

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