March 2016: Small Press Bookwatch,
The Biography Shelf.
Synopsis: In “The Broken Places”, author Joseph McBride, an internationally acclaimed American cultural historian, recalls his troubled youth in the Midwest during the 1960s. Searingly immediate and yet reflective, this is the McBride’s memoir of his breakdown as a teenager and triumphant recovery. “The Broken Places” gives an unsparing look at physical and psychological abuse, family dysfunction and addiction, sexual repression, and Catholic guilt. And at its heart, “The Broken Places” is a haunting, often joyous love story. “The Broken Places” offers an unforgettable portrait of Kathy Wolf, a brilliant, vibrant, shattered young Native American woman who taught Joe how to live even though she could not save herself. Kathy’s life exemplifies what Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.” “The Broken Places” is an extraordinary love story will move you and disturb you.
Critique: A candid, absorbing, thought-provoking, and compelling read from beginning to end, “The Broken Places” is a deftly crafted and intensely personal memoir that is very highly recommended for both community and academic library American Biography collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that “The Broken Places” is also available in a Kindle edition ($18.50).