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Vertigo: A Memoir (The Cross-Cultural Memoir Series) Paperback – August 1, 2002


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Vertigo: A Memoir (The Cross-Cultural Memoir Series) + The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
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Product Details

  • Series: The Cross-Cultural Memoir Series
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY; 1 edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558613951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558613959
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

DeSalvo (Conceived with Malice) frankly, and wisely, states that her memories of how she grew from a working-class, Italian American child in Hoboken to become a Virginia Woolf scholar may not be accurate because memory cannot always be trusted. This account, with its emphasis on her early years, is the way it seems to her to have been. Her happiest time, she claims, was during WWII, when the world as she saw it was composed only of women and children (she was only three at the war's end). Then the men returned and life became grim. Later her mother became depressed and was institutionalized, her sister committed suicide, she herself was sexually abused by a female family member. Books and the public library were her refuge. In hindsight she finds parallels between her life and Virginia Woolf's that might escape a casual reader. She also sees them in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, which she saw 11 times in one week when she was 15. A more exuberant period came in suburban Ridgefield, N.J., during what she calls her boy crazy period: "I have, in quick succession, 'dated' the entire starting line up of my high school's basketball team... many of its football players, all the baseball infielders, and a few wrestlers." DeSalvo clearly has a sense of humor, and although her success in life?she repeatedly stresses the problems of being Italian, working class and a "girl"?may not be as unique as she seems to think, her clarity of insight and expression makes this an impressive achievement.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Growing up Italian American in the 1950s and observing the women around her, DeSalvo became keenly aware of the severely limited opportunities available to women generally. Determined not to live a life like her mother's, filled with frustration, depression, and fear, she turned to literature and education for solace and direction. This memoir traces DeSalvo's struggle to become a woman independent in her own right and eventually a professor at Hunter College and author of the biographical study Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on her Life and Work (LJ 2/1/90), among other books. DiSalvo conveys her experiences with wit, style, and creativity yet permits the pathos of her life to surface occasionally, for example when she describes her attempts to deal with her mother's death and her sister's suicide. Writing and research provide the focus and stability in her life, relieving an ever-hovering tendency toward depression and illness. Her story will inspire all women faced with making choices in today's dizzying atmosphere.?Nancy Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Louise DeSalvo's memoir captivates the reader. It offers an honest portrayal of depression's effects on her life, as well as the lives of her more clinically depressed mother and sister.
DeSalvo transforms the pain of her life into art. This is an inspirational story that will allow you a deeper look into the effect depression has had on this brilliant Virginia Woolf scholar.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on January 30, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read a great many books on writing, and written a few myself. But Writing as a Way of Healing has gone straight to the top of my list of favorites, and I suspect that it will stay there for a very long time--perhaps for all time. But in the process of reading this book, I discovered I had to read the book that went before it, and now I want to tell you about both.

Louise DeSalvo has been teaching English and creative writing for nearly twenty years. The first in her working-class Italian family to graduate from college, she escaped a soul-deadening home life--a depressed mother, an angry father--by reading, going to the movies, and dating, dating, dating. It wasn't until the late 1980's, when she wrote a scholarly book about the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the life and work of Virginia Woolf that she began to come to terms with her own childhood traumas and the lingering shadows of her mother's death and her sister's suicide. She dealt with her pain, anxiety, and depression in a memoir called Vertigo (now available in paperback, published by Plume), in which she explored her own story. Vertigo isn't a pleasant book, or easy--it's about hidden pain and the depression and despair into which a woman can fall when she attempts to avoid self-knowledge. But it is a necessary book, for through it, DeSalvo learns that the process of life-writing is also the process of healing. What she discovered in Vertigo, and what she subsequently put to use in her own teaching, is the subject and object of Writing As a Way of Healing.

DeSalvo's section and chapter titles, by themselves, are helpful clues to the book's significance.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Louise never disappoints. Really gives a great insight
to so much in life. A memoir about growing up in the fifties and
sixties from an extrodinary prospective
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By Kindle Customer on October 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read this for a memoir course for my English degree. The writing is immaculate, and an immense help for emerging writers.
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