Two Stunning Memoirs Illuminate Family Trauma, Struggles and Self Discovery


My Reviews:

Lyrical prose pared with harrowing stories of childhood, parental relationships and survival mechanisms make both these memoirs must reads!

How to Say

How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair is about the author’s life growing up Rastafarian in Jamaica with her strict father, mother and siblings. There is a lot to learn about this Rasta family; I was surprised and upset by the lack of agency women had, the physical and emotional abuse that was prevalent, the seclusion that was forced upon the family by the father and not quite as shocking was the casual drug use introduced to the children. Safiya Sinclair’s strength and will to continually strive for what she set her sights on, beginning as a young girl and transcending into womanhood, and standing up to her controlling, paranoid father and the Jamaican culture she was born into was brave and inspiring. Sinclair is an award winning poet and it shows in her expressive writing. How to Say Babylon is Read With Jenna’s October pick.

Safiya Sinclair

About Safiya Sinclair

SAFIYA SINCLAIR was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of the memoir How to Say Babylon, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in October 2023. She is also the author of the poetry collection Cannibal, winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Cannibal was selected as one of the American Library Association’s Notable Books of the Year, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Seamus Heaney First Book Award in the UK, and was longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize. 

Sinclair’s other honours include a Pushcart Prize, fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, MacDowell, Yaddo, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerGranta, The Nation, PoetryKenyon Review, the Oxford American, and elsewhere.

She received her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia, and her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. She is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Arizona State University.


Everything, Nothing, Someone by Alice Carrière, daughter of a German stage and screen actor and an American artist and novelist recounts her lonely upbringing searching for affection and approval from her parents, both who’s odd and often very disturbing executions of parenthood and boundaries were damaging and destructive. Alice’s medical guidance to uphold her mental health seemed inadequate and often haphazard, and her well being suffered, yet with descriptive and honest storytelling she shares how she persevered in order to define and save herself.

Alice Carriere

About Alice Carrière:

Alice Carrière is a graduate of Columbia University. This is her first book. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and Amagansett, New York.

Book Nation by Jen

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