GoodReads Review of Orphans by Molly Peacock

September 16, 2016
Molly rated 5 Stars – It was amazing
Joan Cusack Handler’s parents are so vivid in this memoir that they fly off the page. How often in a daughter’s memoir—here a memoir of her Irish Catholic parents, new to New York and bringing up a family in the 1950’s—can you actually feel the voices of the family? Orphans is not just in Handler’s voice, but in the voices of her parents, carefully recorded and presented with blasts of personality, joie de vivre, sadness, shame, religious fervor, cruelty, anger, thrill and celebration. What’s so magnificent about Orphans is that Handler fearlessly uses the whole palette of human emotions. Her gentle father with his commitment to God and her ferocious mother with the threats of the backside of her hand both bloom in this book. With guilt and backward glances, with acceptance and adult fulfillment, Handler, also author of Confessions of Joan the Tall, makes us know that voice is life itself. She gives us a tapestry of retrospection, and, as a side benefit to the stories of a man and a woman and their four children, a path for how to live. (less)

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