Cover Image: Abandon Me

Abandon Me

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Member Reviews

Beautifully-written story. The prose was graceful and the details fascinating. I'd definitely recommend it!
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Beautiful book. I loved how Febos addresses her personal history and weaves in psychology so gracefully and clearly. So many thought-provoking passages, along with beautiful writing. Febos takes a thoughtful approach to examining and re-confronting her family's history and damage, while never blaming and never letting herself off the hook. I'd like to re-read it.
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Raw but controlled. Febos writes emotionally with an underlying core of intelligence that pokes out in her ability to step out of herself and examine her life. This is a love story to her Captain which really made it all more interesting-the good, the bad, the balance- which works well.
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How do I know a book deserves an automatic five-star rating? When I have eight pages of quotes in my journal. EIGHT.

I could have copied this whole book down and still needed to go back and copy it all again. Melissa Febos’ prose is FLAWLESS. God. It’s so beautiful that I can not find a single thing to criticize.

It is also DRIPPING with sex.

In fact, most of the negative reviews on Goodreads say something like “Why does this book have to be so sexual?” Um, guys, you picked a book by dominatrix…did you expect something G rated?

This isn’t so much about her time as a sex worker–that’s another book–but about every other loaded section of her life. As she puts it:

“I am Puerto Rican, but not really. Indian, but not really. Gay, but not really. Adopted, but not really.”

The memoir’s story follows her abusive relationship with a married woman and her constant struggle to escape it. She details her addiction to self-harm, then alcohol, then drugs, and then love–all in an effort to gain control over her own body. We get to know, some along with her, the heartbreakingly damaged people in her life.

But the most important point of this book is how she teaches us of the incredible psychological trauma of the Indigenous Peoples of America. At one point, she has a conversation with her agent about how no one wants to read about Native Americans, that she should write something more akin to her dominatrix book, something about her–urban and edgy. So she does just that with this book–writing her love story, but still managing to weave in Native American history in every stop that is made, and let us know just how that genocide and erasure has affected the people we have tried so hard to push down.

Prove that agent wrong. Order this book immediately, guys. It’s sexy, it’s beautiful, it’s IMPORTANT. There are LGBTQIA+ and Native and POC people everywhere in this. And you know, that agent is right about one thing–we don’t see too many Native American authors–but that shouldn’t mean a lack of wanting them published. We need more stories like this, and we can start with Melissa Fabos. GO ORDER THIS BOOK, YA’LL.
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Most of the chapters in this memoir are filled with beautiful imagery and thought-provoking prose. Other chapters, however, feel like Febos is using way too many metaphors instead of just telling us what happened. Anytime she talks about her relationship with her adoptive father, her affection for him comes through strongly and those are easily the best parts of the book. Really, any of the chapters about her interactions with the people in her life are great. When she slides into discussing various psychologists and how their theories apply to her relationships, though, the book starts to feel more like an essay for a psychology class.
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Thank You to Bloomsbury USA for providing me with an advanced copy of Melissa Febos' memoir, Abandon Me, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- In her memoir, Abandon Me, Melissa Febos explores a range of topics; including a complicated family history, her Native American heritage, a heroin addiction, and her difficulty in fully committing to romantic relationships. 

LIKE- Abandon Me is lyrical and beautifully written. Febos weaves literature and historical information, into her personal story. Abandon Me is structured in a non-lineal style, and Febos writes in what I can best describe as a controlled stream-of-conscious. Her writing feels loose and free-form, but it never seems careless or without intention. Initially, I may not have know where she was heading with a thought, but it always came to a powerful conclusion. Brilliant storytelling.

Febos takes a hard look at her family, specifically her fathers, exploring the long term impact they had on her life. Her birth father, was a addict, who abandoned her as a toddler. Febos reconnected with him and meets family members from his side, as an adult. As a child, her mother remarried a sea captain, a loving man, who would go on to formally adopt Febos. As a sea captain, he would leave for months at a time, creating a series of mini abandonments in Febos' life. As an adult, Febos admits to putting herself in the position of being the one who always leaves first in a relationship, and this becomes complicated when she meets a woman ( a married and emotionally abusive woman), whom she loves. Along with this difficulty in forming attachments with other people, Febos dulls her pain with drugs. She is able to hide her drug abuse, through managing to keep the other aspects of her life together. Febos is constantly trying to mask her pain and fears.

Febos also explores her Native American heritage and what it means to be part of a people who were systematically decimated, and who currently have high rates of poverty and drug abuse. Her Native American heritage is from her brith father, and although Febos was not raised on a reservation or with much knowledge of this part of her heritage, she looks at how it has impacted her father, and by extension, her. 

DISLIKE- Not so much a dislike, but I thought that it warranted mentioning that it took me about fifteen pages to fully engage in Abandon Me. It took me a bit to become comfortable with Febos' style of writing, rather than it be writing that immediately grabbed my attention. However, after those initial pages, I was hooked.

RECOMMEND- Yes. Febos is a gifted writer with a unique voice and perspective. Abandon Me is  richly layered and engaging. It would be a great pick for a book club or class discussion.
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I love memoirs, but I feel like I've read so many of them. Everyone thinks their life is so interesting.  Why is this person's life more readable than someone else?

As mentioned by another review, this memoir was overtly sexual in nature. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT, but I dislike the word "lover" and felt very turned off when reading it over and over and over.  

While the writing itself had almost a musical quality, there wasn't really a point for me. Like...what and why am I reading an essay about hickeys? I got bored very quickly and just powered my way through to see if it got any better. 

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.
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3.5-- I preferred Whip Smart, which I gave 4 stars. I really enjoyed parts of this book, but it strikes me as strange that I've since forgotten virtually everything that happened, not even two weeks after completing it. In contrast, Whip Smart has stuck with me.
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I'm a reader who usually sticks with supernatural YA, so this was far out of my usual genre. But the cover, title, plot summary and author intro intrigued me and I decided to request it. Pretty quick into reading I had the feeling this would not be My Kind of  Book, but the lovely writing kept me going for much longer than I would have otherwise. I did not finish this one because it was not my cup of tea, but I could see some people loving this and hitting a resonant note in them. Particularly fans of literary memoirs that skew slightly off kilter in an abstract narrative sort of way.
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Regrettably, this archived before I downloaded.  I was interested and wanted to read it.  Good luck with the publication.
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