This was a phenomenal memoir and I can't believe it's not talked about more. The stories of her childhood were often heartbreaking and the hoarding was so interesting to read about. I really enjoyed reading about her education. This was a great read.
Acceptance is an unflinching memoir of Emi Nietfield's experiences growing up with a mentally ill hoarding mother and her subsequent foster care, hospitalizations and homelessness all while working relentlessly towards the goal of an ivy league education and ultimately acceptance into Harvard and the tech world.
Trigger warning: topics do include self-harm, addiction and assault. It was so frustrating to see Emi's struggles in life. She was let down by so many people...the mental health system, foster care system and all of the many adults who should have advocated for her. Luckily there were several people who did have Emi's best interests at heart.
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this amazing memoir.
"Acceptance" by Emi Nietfield covers her early childhood, college education and young adulthood. This book is a raw, honest and emotional account which is brilliantly written with maturity and intelligence. The complex relationship between parent and child is explored in depth. Her views of the world around us are interesting and enthralling, and I found this hard to put down.
This read is incredibly inspirational. I am confident that many readers will be able to relate, making it appealing and gripping. It is clear why this author has been nominated for awards, her work here is outstanding, and I will look for further releases without hesitation.
There are sensitive subjects throughout, which some readers may find upsetting, so vital comprehensive research is advised.
I would love to see this book explored in education settings, helping adolescents who may be experiencing similar situations and educating those who aren't.
I highly recommend it to any non-fiction fan. An absolute must-read of 2022!
As a kid, Emi learns about resilience the hard way. After her parents split up and her father transitions into a woman, her mother stops being able to provide a livable environment for her because of a severe hoarding problem. Rather than address her own problems, Emi’s mother brings her to an endless stream of doctors who medicate her for problems she never had in the first place. Through a childhood of homelessness, foster care, an eating disorder, and mental hospitals, Emi believes there's only one path to a livable future—getting into an elite college. Nietfeld lets readers know from the first pages of the story that she makes it, but the spoiler doesn’t decrease any moment of suspense as we watch young Emi navigate her way through impossible obstacles toward a better life.
This is an astonishing story that unflinchingly address topics of mental health, addiction, self-harm, what resilience means, the hypocrisy of the elite, and the pressure of packaging one’s pain to be the kind of success story that the public (and admissions committees) want.
With gut-wrenching honesty, Nietfeld gives us as much social critique as memoir. This is an astonishing book that should be required reading for every institution of higher learning. Not since Tara Westover’s Educated have I read a memoir this bold. I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Huge thanks to Penguin Press and NetGalley for the honor of reading this early in exchange for an honest review.
About halfway through this memoir, I thought I might need to put it down for a while. I've read literally hundreds of memoirs, but this one had me cringing and asking, "Just how much more can things get?" The author's childhood issues were further complicated by her intelligence and the painfully obvious: the author was more intelligent than the adults who were entrusted with her care. But, it was her intelligence that enabled her to overcome the insanity of others. Although she was the one labeled insane, she was in fact NOT. I found the memoir all the more intriguing when I learned that the author attended Interlochen. I was fascinated with her take on it, since I attended the academy in the late seventies.
A fantastic memoir from the opening page I was in awe of this young woman.Surviving being raised by a mother whose main occupation seemed to be hoarding.Overcoming homelessness succeeding an incredible story beautifully written.#netgalley #penguin
This coming-of-age memoir offers painfully honest reflections about the author's life as a neglected child, and her growth to achieve dreams of college, career, and family. Through the prism of personal experience, Nietfeld also comments on how American society fails to keep children safe and how therapy fails to address true needs of many teens. I think this book provides many launch pads for discussion in mature teen and adult groups. Spanning the years from early childhood through college and young adulthood, Nietfield also analyzes varieties of ambition, consent, relationships, mentors, and foster parents. She explores myriad implications of estrangement from her complicated father (who transitions from male to female) and mother (a hoarder). As such, the book is much more than a quest for identity--it is a contemporary quest for survival layered with many dramatic reversals of fortune.
Nietfeld won a prestigious Scholastic Creative Writing medal while in high school. Strong storytelling connects elements of personal experience with wider tensions in society. A courageous and compelling memoir filled with complex characters and an insider's view of how one teen survives and thrives against all odds.
A unique and extraordinary memoir of a very bright child with dysfunctional parents. As you read, you can't help but realize how unprepared and inept our social services system is at handling children outside the range of "normal." Again and again, the author is failed by those around her who should be protecting her. And her mother? A functioning hoarder? I just don't even know how express my amazement at her utter neglect in seeing what she was doing to her daughter.
This is a sad story that sheds light on what grit really is and the price one may pay for having it and having to have it. I hope the author has been helped by writing her story. It is beyond belief yet entirely believable.
I absolutely loved this book. It's a memoir about overcoming personal hardship that simultaneously critiques the concept of meritocracy with complexity and insight. I can't wait to share it with students and to recommend it to friends.
Heartbreaking story but it felt redundant at times, recapping over and over, especially towards the end. I understand the need to go over things and try to find some clarity or justification but from a reader's perspective, it felt repetitive. Probably a 3.5.
I couldn't put Nietfeld's memoir down. A rare, compulsively readable balance that I can't imagine how hard it is to craft from your own experience: wisdom and empathy, interrogation of the concept of resilience, dark traumas no kid should have to experience told in the voice of a woman who is somehow able to tell the story of them in all their nuanced complexities, who is able to see the adults in her life for the flawed full human beings they were and the broken systems they existed within while being real about all the ways they failed her. The back third of the book about Harvard had all the first 2/3 of the book's voice and immersive detail, with the added layer of feeling like an anthropological study of a place I'd never seen portrayed from this point of view.
An extraordinary memoir that complicates societal notions of grit and resilience. Beautiful written, harrowing, and often funny. I loved it!
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Press for the ebook. This is a pretty staggering memoir about the author’s childhood. Her mother’s mental issues manifested in debilitating hoarding, to the point that showers were out of the question because the tub is full of useless junk and the very air makes her ill. This is coupled with her father transitioning into a woman and leaving the family with very limited contact when the author was ten. This was at a time when both of these issues were rarely discussed openly and certainly misunderstood when they were. This leads the author in and out of different schools, to her own mental issues and self harm, a foster home and a long term abusive boyfriend. But the author always has her eye on going to an Ivy League college as a way to another life, although she gets such little encouragement from everyone she meets. It’s not giving anything away because the book opens with the author getting married after telling us she’s graduated Harvard and works at Google, but as we see in the following, sometimes harrowing chapters, achieving lifelong goals doesn’t promise a perfect happiness. This is a wonderful book, made even more so as the author doesn’t tell her story from a distance, but instead pulls you back in time to walk every step of her story right beside her.