Cover Image: You Could Make This Place Beautiful

You Could Make This Place Beautiful

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Member Reviews

Written by poet, Maggie Smith, each word in this memoir was a gift. In You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Maggie shares the story of her journey from married mom of two to divorced, single mom. It is rich with struggle, honesty, and hard truths. For anyone beginning again and looking for a little hope along the way.

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Such an amazing insightful memoir. Smith really puts words onto the nuances of being a woman in a heterosexual marriage.

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This was a poetic exploration of a heart-wrenching, world-overturning divorce. Smith does a great job connecting to the reader and painting lovely images. This is not a plot-driven, character-driven memoir, so don’t go into it expecting that. 3⭐️, I liked it.

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It was incredible to interview Maggie Smith.
Thank you for the book so I was prepared.
AND!
My podcast just won an award for Diversity in Streming

https://www.wesaidgotravel.com/the-poet-maggie-smith-makes-this-place-beautiful/

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I didn't know what to expect from this book initially. While I couldn't relate to the majority of the content, I felt it was amazingly raw, real, and well written. The style, size and type of chapter layout was so different yet made for a very easy read. Would recommend to others!

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I absolutely loved this book. She made herself vulnerable without exposing everything about her life and the her trials. She shared her ongoing healing process and thoughts on her circumstances. A beautifully written book with some wonderful insights.

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I will read ANYTHING by Maggie Smith. She is so profound and wonderful, and this book had me captivated from the start. Absolutely beautiful, I would definitely read this again.

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Maggie Smith crafts some of the most beautiful, lyrical, lovely sentences I have read. She has a way with words that is nothing short of enchanting. I felt a bit cheated by this memoir because there's so much of "I'm not talking about that" woven into the stories, like there are some details that would be helpful for the reader that Smith is choosing not to share. But that's memoir, that's why it's not autobiography. This was very lovely and I enjoyed it. Nothing too groundbreaking.

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Thank you Netgalley for this memoir from Maggie Smith. You Could Make this Place Beautiful is Smith’s story after her marriage crumbles and her story of moving in. A deep and moving read.

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This book has inspired me to read more poetry, starting with the poetry by Maggie Smith. Her beautiful and emotional telling of her own story of her divorce definitely resonated with me. I really enjoyed the raw honesty of her emotions.

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Very well-written about a heartwrenching topic, exactly the kind of lyrical writing you'd expect from a poet. I appreciated Smith's decision not to 'tell all' and I think it also helped make the story more relatable. Thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending to patrons!

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I loved this memoir and its focus on a woman’s relationship to herself in the wake of separation and divorce. I enjoyed the structure, the inclusion of the author’s poetry, and that in many ways this was a book about recovering from grief. The cover is gorgeous as well. I bought this as a gift for my mom after reading it and will continue to recommend it.

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I loved this book. I read a lot of reviews criticizing Smith for the repetition of what she won't tell or give the reader but I loved it. It's a memoir but it wasn't about that. Smith writes beautifully and I was with her on her journey.

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Maggie Smith wrote the poem, Good Bones, and that was also the beginning of the end of her marriage. In her memoir she narrates her journey of betrayal, divorce and rediscovering herself through lyrical essays. This book is brutally honest, but it’s not angry. Would I have liked it this much a few years ago… before my own divorce? Probably, but there’s something so fulfilling about someone else speaking the words you couldn’t find. But even if you haven’t walked this exact path, as women, we’ve all experienced the power dynamics that exist in every relationship. We’ve struggled to find work/family balance and the invisible labor of mothering. This book connects to women in so many ways.
I loved this book, but not in a “Oh my gosh this was so good you have to read it” way. More like “These stories need to be told.”

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This book is stunning. The vulnerability in telling this story really touched my heart. The lyrical writing and occasional poem sprinkled throughout really elevated this memoir about her marriage that is coming to an end. I appreciated the honesty the author shared about this experience. As a child of divorce due to infidelity, I loved hearing from the person in her shoes.

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You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith is a memoir about the ending of the author's marriage and how she made it through a better, stronger human being. I really enjoyed her honesty and thoughtfulness throughout this entire book. Here's a passage I highlighted: "How I picture it: We are all nesting dolls, carrying the earlier iterations of ourselves inside. We carry the past inside us. We take ourselves--all of ourselves--wherever we go. Inside forty-something me is the woman I was in my thirties, the woman I was in my twenties, the teenager I was, the child I was. Inside divorced me: married me, the me who loved my husband, the me who believed what we had was irrevocable and permanent, the me who believed in permanence. I didn't lose these versions of myself or leave them behind. I carry them. It's a kind of reincarnation without death: all these different lives we get to live in this one body, as ourselves." Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy. All opinions are my own.

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Would you like to tap into righteous feminine rage? Then read this.

At times this is as beautiful as it is painful - a rumination on creativity and what constitutes "work," the devastation and elation of motherhood, the balancing act that is marriage and what it means to be a partner. The difficulty of forgiveness, especially when there's no remorse on the other side of the equation. Even if you've never experienced some of these struggles directly, you've heard about them. You've listened to friends and family talk about these things, and you can feel her emotions lifting off the page to help you see and understand. It's relatable even when it's not your experience, and that's the best kind of memoir. It provides perspective.

I have to be honest though, her ex-husband is a right c*nt. I hope his children grow up to see him with benign contempt. I hope he experiences subtle and petty discomfort for the rest of his life. I hope someone redacts his tears (that is a reference to a part of the book that nearly made me throw it across the room, but I was reading in the bathtub and was afraid it would fall in the water.) I hope Maggie never forgives him, but realizes the only person she needs to forgive is herself for trying to be small, trying to be perfect, trying to bend herself into a shape that wasn't her truth to make someone happy who never deserved it. She sounds like an awesome mom and is a phenomenal writer.

This is agony on paper, but you can't look away. I highly recommend this memoir. It's also written in short essays and prose poems so it goes quickly, and flows together well. There were moments that made me smile and laugh too, and in that way it encompasses the idea that even when we're hurting we can't help but find the joy too. It's what makes this place beautiful.

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SO beautifully written and such a rollercoaster of emotions. Loved the perspective throughout the book.

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There is no denying that Maggie Smith is a talented writer and there is some truly beautiful prose in this book. I think that if this had been a book of prose, essays, or poetry, it would have been more effective. I have never before read a memoir that shamed the reader so persistently for reading it - it felt like Smith was judging readers for reading her words. The vignettes and poetic sections were the strongest. but the content was so repetitive, and not in a way that I felt benefited the book. Very disappointed because I think prose on divorce has such potential, but I just really didn't enjoy the process of reading this book.

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thoughtful and lyrical prose on the dissolution of a marriage. Sharing tidbits of the history of their love and the breakdown of their partnership without going overboard with salacious detail works in Smith's favor, at least for this reader. I love how fragile yet strong she can be as she shares her tears and uncertainty and hints at recovery. Relatable as a woman and a wife and mother. I love the music piece and that her teen age daughter makes her a compilation of music in a never ending playlist. Worth the hype.

Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley

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