Customer Reviews: Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life
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on April 28, 2000
After reading Getting Over Tom, An Actual Life, and Herb's Pajamas, I was thrilled to get Abigail Thomas's new book. This book is brilliantly written, revealing emotions that I before now didn't think could be expressed through written material. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has read anything by Ms. Thomas before, and to those who have not yet been introduced to this author's wonderful writing style. The book will make you laugh and may even make you cry. Ms. Thomas courageously reveals things that many people keep to themselves. I thank Ms. Thomas for sharing her life with us and writing such a wonderful book.
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on August 3, 2000
weep and laugh and most of all feel all the emotions life holds...Thomas writes______"this is not what I expected. I expected pure joy, and here are joy and sorrow mixing into the same moment." Doesn't that express so often how we feel, this book is filled with so many moments that I identified can you not love a woman who writes ..the truth was she didn't keep the can opener anywhere. The can opener was wherever she'd last left it; the can opener was where she found it. Abigail Thomas reveals so much of herself in this book but even more one finds so much of theirself as does leave one wanting to know even more about Thomas and her life.
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on May 2, 2000
As a writer and university professor of literature, I have rarely seen a new work as lovely and startling as Abigail Thomas's "Safekeeping." This raw, unsentimentalized portrait of an "average" woman -- from lost girl, mother of three, wandering barefoot through the wilds of '60s Manhattan, to secure, established, apple-cake-baking grandmother -- gorgeously rendered in short-short, wrenching, often hilarious vignettes, should top this summer's lists. Buy and read this elegant little volume, and give it away; then buy it and give it away again. "Safekeeping" is a keepsake for all time. Perfect for reading clubs -- Oprah's or yours.
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on July 13, 2000
I first read Abigail Thomas' work several years ago in the literary journal, "Glimmer Train." I never forgot those stories: smart, funny, real, brilliant. And her new book held up to that standard. I read it in one day. I just couldn't put it down. It was like a box of chocolates--I kept thinking, okay just one more...each "chapter" is very short, each packed with intelligence, grace, love. This is a great book.
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on April 13, 2000
to read this honest, large-hearted, memoir, told in a series of short (often only a paragraph, sometimes a page) vignettes. You won't regret it. Thomas reveals a life lived fully, with all senses engaged, smell, taste, touch, in these pieces about her first marriage when she was a pregnant teenager, to a second with a much older physicist ("Dance for me while the chicken is cooking," he says to her) whom she divorces and later becomes very good friends with, to her third, happy coupling, and the children she had during them. I could not stop reading this and suspect you won't be able to either. This book makes you feel full inside.
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on December 17, 2004
A life told in pastiche, favoring small moments of telling quietness over the Big Events that feature in most memoirs. Divorces and births are passed over with little comment, but scenes from marriages and parenthood and the friendships that persist after marriage ends are beautifully rendered.

Thomas shifts point of view, sometimes telling a piece in first person, sometimes in third. Her sister makes occasional appearances in the book, "correcting" Thomas and questioning her motives. The book jumps back and forth in time, and part of the pleasure of reading it is encountering the life in the order that makes most sense to its author, and piecing together the chronology as you go along.

Very short sections, nicely managed. Almost a collection of prose poems.
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on January 10, 2013
A wonderfully human and original book...a sort of memoir, set down in single sentences, in paragraphs, in pages, each small fragment functioning as part of a mosaic, or a tapestry depicting a woman of strong, deep feeling and the people in her life: husbands, lovers, children, grandchildren.
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on August 7, 2000
I absolutely loved this gem of a book. I found so much to relate to in Thomas's beautiful, honest descriptions of love, loss, grief and growing up. Reading it, I alternately laughed out loud and teared up. As deeply personal as the writing is, the emotions depicted in this unusual memoir are universal.
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on October 9, 2015
I learned of Abigail Thomas after reading an article on nonlinear narrative in The Writer's Chronicle. The article interviewed four writers, two with whom I was familiar: Paul Lisicky and Bernard Cooper. I had an opportunity to study with these men in the MFA Program at Antioch University and appreciated their style. The interview made me think I would like Thomas too, so I ordered two of her books, including Safekeeping.

WOW!! I want this woman to be my teacher! In writing AND in life. She has the ability to take the smallest moment and make it reveal so much on multiple levels. The pieces verge on prose poems, employing exquisite detail and achingly painful directness. Though the pictures that emerges is distinctly Abigail's story, the emotions the flow through the entire work will no doubt be familiar to many women. The last piece is absolutely stunning. I laid the book in my lap and just sat there breathing, wanting to hold on to all the feelings it evoked.
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on August 18, 2015
What an unusual book and memoir! How can a writer say so much with so few words?

Abigail seems to have taken the course in life repeatedly, recycling some of the same situations and mistakes. She doesn't say this directly. In fact, often she doesn't speak of herself in the first person, but as if she is people watching herself. Her life is both underwhelming, and at times, under water.

She is sharing her insides, but only a minute or two at a time. You gain in understanding as she does.

I STRONGLY recommend this book, not for its content, but for its style. If you wish to write a memoir, here is an outstanding example that is also unique, a journey vs. a show-and-tell. I've never read a memoir written like this before. Amazing what a gifted writer can do!
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