Cover Image: Women We Buried, Women We Burned

Women We Buried, Women We Burned

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Member Reviews

Women We Buried, Women We Burned by Rachel Louise Snyder ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to @netgalley and @bloomsburypublishing for the ARC. Pub date is tomorrow!🎉

My rating is solely based on the structure of the book and not the story itself. This story is one of resilience, grief, forgiveness, and learning how to live. Absolutely a 5-star read.

So why only 4 stars? I felt like I read 2 different books. The first part of the book (the part about being a child) was rich with detail and vulnerable. It explored grief, new families, religion, and growing up. The second half of the book (the part about Cambodia and thereafter) lost the detail and the intense vulnerability. This jump to Cambodia felt abrupt and disrupted the chronological, methodical way the story was told up to this point. After this, the book read like it was on fast forward, moving through different parts of the author’s life before landing back in the US.

All in all, I enjoyed reading both halves of this story; however, I was just a bit confused with the structure. Check this one out if you’re looking for a memoir to read this summer!
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I'm in the rut of all reading ruts and have picked up, started, and put down so many novels. I finished this one, but it didn't break my slump. Interesting premise!
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It was so wonderful to read a book from a fellow Semester at Sea alum! Rachel Louise Snyder is a woman who has lived many lives and her capacity to forgive continuously astonished me throughout this book. To come away from a book that contains so much pain with a sense of hope and of love for other people is no small feat. It's beautifully written and every piece feels intentional.
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Snyder has lived through a lot. After losing her mother at a young age, her father quickly remarried, moved them to IL and went off the religious deep end. Her growing years were tempestuous, partly due to her parents but also from choices she made.
The memoir is about having her reckoning, several times, and surviving through determination and tenacity. 
Her book illustrated  all have to live our best lives, wherever and in whatever form that means.
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This memoir BLEW me away.  I didn't know if it would have been a book that I would have been interested in, yet I was proven wrong almost immediately.  What an empowering story.  Unlike many others that have read this book, I really knew nothing about Rachel Snyder.  I didn't know the genre that was typical for her, let alone anything about her personal life.  Immediately, I was drawn.  Her resiliency throughout the book was astonishing. 

From losing her mother at a very young age, to being uprooted by her father shortly after, Rachel continued to persevere.  Not only was she moved from her family home, but her father also remarried and brought the family into a "born-again Christianity" cult like experience that provided a whiplash of sorts to Rachel and her siblings, especially since they were raised as Jewish.  Rachel rebelled, causing her to leave home, drop out of high school, get into partying and drugs, etc.  Despite all the challenges, she continued to move forward.  She formed relationships with others that helped her move in a positive and constructive direction.  She received her GED and made it to college.  She had gotten married and had a child of her own.  She traveled the world. I think the part I most admired was that she came back to support the family that did not show the same support to her.  She became a fierce advocate for her dying stepmother to ensure she lived her last days with dignity and respect.

I will 1000% read other books by this author.  I cannot wait to be immersed in her other stories.  Thank you, Net Galley, for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!!
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Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a new memoir by Rachel Louise Snyder, detailing her troubled childhood and how she eventually became an international journalist and advocate for victims of domestic violence.

The memoir begins with the untimely death of Rachel’s mother and the aftermath of that enormous loss. I loved how well she described what that loss was like from a child’s perspective, realizing now all that she didn’t understand then. Her father became entrenched in an evangelical church and remarried, blending families. These events began a tumultuous cycle of domestic violence within the family, which culminated when Rachel and her siblings were kicked out of their home as teenagers.

Rachel holds little back as she describes her own culpability in the events of her teenage years. She was a rebellious child who refused to be controlled. She fell into self-destructive patterns and was expelled from her high school.

Over the years that followed, Rachel eventually found her feet. She discovered her love of writing and her love of travel. As she learned more about the world and its people, she began to better understand herself and her own family.

This book is about strong women and the things that get in their way. It’s about disease and grief and death. It’s about faith and knowledge. It’s about messy family relationships and self-discovery.

If you liked Tara Westover’s Educated, you would probably like this book as well. Sensitive readers should know this book contains adult language, sexual content, child abuse, and drug use.
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"Cancer took my mother. But religion would take my life." (loc. 379)

When she was a child, Snyder's life took an abrupt turn: her mother died, her father remarried, and Snyder was expected to switch from low-key Judaism to fervent conservative Christianity. It...did not go well. Years later, her life took another abrupt turn: she left the country for the first time and experienced cultures other than her own. (That went rather better.)

From the description, I thought I might be getting something along the lines of Putsata Reang's "Ma and Me", although that might just have been the bits about Cambodia and travelling the globe. But in a lot of ways this is a fit for readers who loved "Educated"—harsh applications of religion, growing up much too young and also being spit out into the broader world with little understanding of how things worked, variations on violence. (I'll note that you can't go wrong with any of these three books, though you might draw different connections between them than I do.)

There is *so much* in here. Snyder tells a mostly linear story, and I think too much getting into the details here would detract from the reading experience, but I'll just say that she has the writing chops to tell her story well and to ultimately portray the complicated people in her life in all their, well, complicated glory. At one point there's a significant time jump, and it makes a lot of sense for the story, but it also means that I'm probably going to have to hunt up some of Snyder's shorter-form writing, because it sounds like her curiosity about the world has led her to story upon story upon story that could use books of their own.

This was not quite the book I was expecting, and it was better for it—because I never quite knew where the next chapter would take me, but I trusted that it would be somewhere interesting.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.
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Thanks to NetGalley & Bloomsbury publishing for the ARC.

This is a deeply personal and moving memoir from the talented author behind—No visible bruises: what we don’t know about domestic violence will kill us. We learn about her tumultuous childhood & adolescence and how she makes a path for herself as a global writer, writing on complex issues around the world. And then, finally she comes home & tackles the grief of losing her mother young & then her stepmother to cancer. This is a book about finding one’s way in the face of grief and all the messiness that entails. A tough read, but worth it.
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In Women We Buried, Women We Burned, Snyder faces the trauma of her childhood beginning with the death of her mother, her tumultuous and abusive home life, and ultimately her healing as an adult. The book focuses largely on her youth, as she struggled to cope with her grief and anger following the loss of her mother, and rebelled against the abuse and control of her evangelical father and stepmother. After a few aimless young adult years, Snyder finds her way in college, ultimately landing as a journalist living abroad in Cambodia. Her time there sounds like it would make for an interesting book of its own. Her reflections on family, loss, and motherhood come full circle as Snyder returns home, with a child of her own, at the end of the book to care for her dying stepmother. Snyder writes clearly and candidly about her life, and tells a powerful story of healing and redemption.

Overall, this was a good read. Some sections felt a bit uneven in their coverage and slow at times, but Snyder tells a complete story that comes together well. 

CW: cancer/death of parent, religious/domestic/child abuse, sexual assault

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an advance review copy of this book.
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I was unable to finish this book. It was a bit more intense than I expected. Amazing writing just a bit too heavy for me.
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I won’t lie, this book was not what I was expecting. I requested an ARC copy based solely on the title thinking it was going to be about the Salem Witch Trials 😅 It is not, by the way. 
This book was extremely heavy. 
We follow the author as she details losing her mother to cancer and her father to religion very early in her life. Her household was very abusive and she was kicked out of her home at an early age. 
It was beautiful seeing the way her life turned out even after everything she had been through. 
My one piece of advice before reading this is to check TW because triggers are PLENTIFUL.
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Powerful and raw book. It's an emotional read of trauma, resilience and perseverance. I would recommend reading this book with a box of tissues.
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A young girl loses both parents, one to cancer, and one to a cult like religion. Heart wrenching and hopefully. I read the e-book version, but the book was so good, I will be purchasing a physical copy to keep in my home, I loved it that much
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Oh the things that ill-informed and misguided parents do to their children, often in the name of religion. That Rachel Louise Snyder not only survived a childhood cloaked in an Evangelism that was harsh and abusive, but actually triumphed is a marvel of her will and determination to survive and overcome. I read this book in one big gulp, rooting and cheering every time Snyder pushed past the limits being placed on her, found her agency and rose above her challenging origins. Snyder is an accomplished author who turns her gift inward to tell her own story in moving and clear-eyed prose.
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This is my third exceptional read by this author. Each one, better than the last and all of them 5-star quality. Her writing is rich and engaging,  
                                                                                                                                                      A beautifully written memoir, Snyder seamlessly weaves the story from the devastating and untimely loss of her mother at such a young age, to the turbulent relationship with her father and step-mother. Forced to relocate across the county and thrown into her aunt and uncles "religious lifestyle." 

 With deftness and grace, Snyder navigates the complicated terrain of her childhood trauma and presents a model for how to reconcile with the ghosts of your past. Her life as an expat in Cambodia, along with her travels and gutt-wrenching reporting on wars, typhoons, hurricanes, and other tragedies, were descriptive and interesting. 

After she moved back to the U.S. and acquired a job as a professor in D.C., her relationship with her family, especially her stepmother, was given a second chance, growing into one of respect and caring. An exceptional read.         

Many Thanks to NetGalley, Author Rachel Louise Snyder and Bloomsbury Publishing for the advanced readers copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review.
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The tragedy and madness our author faced makes for an enlightening story full of grace and the blunt truth of facing our past. How she overcame the struggles of life and the inevitability we all eventually stand at. You definitely go into this story not quite prepared for the harsh truth of life she delivered to us. Plenty of things that would have those succumb to it. But I’m all reality they pushed her to strive for better and keep moving on no matter the sacrifice. Her writing was the perfect combination of abrasive charm and stunning poise.
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This was an emotional read!! I really enjoyed the writing and the personal account. The writing was emotional and informative.
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My first 5-star read of 2023! What a powerful and beautifully written memoir! I was left in awe of the author's strength, determination, grace and poise throughout her life as she shared with us some of her deepest, darkest experiences and feelings.

This is truly a story of resilience and thriving against all odds. Snyder had me feel grief, despair, anger, fear, determination, joy, pride, and peace along with her. So many times I wanted to reach out and hug her and I found myself cheering for her all along the way. So many people would have used her early life experiences as an excuse to quit but she used them to propel her forward and I have so much respect and admiration for her.

I will absolutely be seeking out her other books because she writes beautifully and I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a motivational story to carry them through a setback.or just as a reminder of the tenacity of the human spirit.
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This was a book I couldn't put down. It was a heart wrenching and powerful story. Snyder has presented topics that are not easy to read about or even comprehend in a way that gives honor to those you have survived. Even with the heavy topics throughout the book, you are left with a sense of hope.
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An interesting read. I lot of time is spent on her growing up years and then we quickly move to her current life, I would have enjoyed more of a transition. Rachel's life is an inspiration reminding us that we can rise from the ashes.
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