Giving up the Ghost

Giving up the Ghost

A Memoir

Book - 2003
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Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2003.
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780805074727
0805074724
Characteristics: 223 pages ;,22 cm.

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Indoorcamping
Nov 03, 2018

The voice of Hilary Mantel as a child is captivating. You read the words but feel the little life shaping and fighting and wondering why things are the way they are. The beginning hooks you in, as you wonder why she has to sell a home she love so much - that's the giving up the ghost of the title - leaving all her memories behind, especially memories of her step-father who is the "ghost."

I still don't completely understand why she has to give up the ghost. I had to move 47 times with my first husband and none of those moves had anything to do with ghosts, memories, or conscious decisions that weren't financial or work-related, or horrid circumstances, actually. So it's still weird to me that someone would move on and not really have a destination or practical motive. That's rich people for you?

Regardless, she's rich because she's one of the best writers alive. So good on you, Hilary Mantel. Do whatever it takes to tell us stories about what it was like to grow up so cold, so poor, so sick, so awfully sick actually. Share your situation and your story, your family, your pain, your explanation of why you chose the best bad decision out of all the available bad decision options. Enlighten the rest of the world about being so poor yet so brilliant in a gray, opportunity-less world. Explain your strength, surviving so close to death for so many years.

This is a memoir full of wisdom about her specific small childhood that blooms into grandly-themed, big picture, life lesson-type wisdom. And that's what incredible writing does: brings the little, close experience into a relatable learning experience, regardless of circumstance.

ser_library Jul 22, 2010

reflection rather than memoir, covering life with severe and chronic pain from undiagnosed endiometriosis.

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