All our lives are made of moments, both simple and sublime, all of which in some way partake of the cultural moment. Fleda Brown is that rare writer who, in narrating the incidents and observations of her life, turns her story, by wit and insight and a poet's gift, into something more. This is an unconventional memoir. A series of lyrical essays about life in a maddeningly complex family during the even more maddeningly complex fifties and sixties, it adds up to one woman's story while simultaneously reflecting the story of her times. A strange and erratic father, a resigned and helpless mother, a mentally disabled brother, a sister with a brain tumor: folded into Brown's reflections are the intimacies and ambivalences of family and marriage, girlhood and adolescence, identity and self-knowledge. Whether reflecting on the automobile industry or a wrenching parting from beloved pets or the process of aging, Brown's telling rings with great humor, profound perception, and a lyricism that makes even the most commonplace moment uncommonly good reading.
Fleda Brown, professor emerita at the University of Delaware and a faculty member of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, served as Delaware's poet laureate from 2001 to 2007. Her many books include, most recently, On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers, coedited with Billie Travalini, and the award-winning poetry collection Reunion.