■ The Source of All Things: A Memoir (Tracy Ross)
Memoir; review copy. I gave up on review copies quite some time ago (because, darn it, I want to read what I want to read!) but when I received an email regarding this "[p]owerful new memoir about childhood abuse and the resiliency of the human spirit," something prompted me to accept a copy.
Ross first described her stepfather's abuse and the role nature played in her recovery in a full-length feature article for Backpacker magazine, where she is currently a senior editor. This book-length treatment enables her to more thoroughly explore her survivor's journey -- from the first episode of abuse to her stepfather's late-in-life confession -- and all of the dynamics at work in her family. As might be expected, while Ross eventually finds meaning and hope in the woods, on the trails, in her work, in marriage, and in motherhood, her narrative is painful, difficult, harrowing. (I'm thinking particularly of her mother's refusal to give up on her husband when the molestation is finally reported.)
Although the subject matter and the frank nature of Ross' narrative prohibit me from making a general recommendation, I was much moved by her account.
■ Heaven Is for Real (Todd Burpo)
Memoir; religion. No, this is certainly not my customary fare, but the father of my daughters' dearest friend pressed this on me, and I thought, Oh, why not? Insert self-mocking head-shake here. Why not, indeed. More about this publishing phenomenon here.