- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (March 6, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416591818
- ISBN-13: 978-1416591818
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 55 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.78 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Reading My Father: A Memoir Paperback – March 6, 2012
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
""Reading My Father" is the memoir of a childhood in an intellectually glittering, artistically engaged and emotionally precarious household. In this portrait, by turns tender and unsparing, we meet William Styron, the charming bon vivant undone by depression, the gifted and prolific writer whose long struggle to finish his final novel may have imperiled his sanity. Fluid and fascinating, dark and funny, Alexandra Styron's book brings her father before us in all of his complexity, a literary lion, roaring his way through America's post-war landscape."--Geraldine Brooks, author of "March" and "People of the Book"
"Alexandra Styron is a natural writer, fluid and engaging... A consummate guide to her father's tumultuous life. Styron fans will delight in this unique portrait of a true literary lion."--Eric Liebetrau, "Boston Globe"
"Ardent, sophisticated and entirely winning... Her touch throughout this memoir is quite fine and very sure. As tough as she is on her father, she sees clearly the better man he could sometimes be.... This is a grown-up memoir, taut and true."--Dwight Garner, "New York Times"
"William Styron's autobiographical writings were both candid and withholding, and this penetrating memoir shines light on what they left out; it does so with tenderness and compassion. This would be a bracing examination of the father-daughter relationship even if its suffering hero were not famous."--Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of "The Noonday Demon"
"By turns brilliant and shocking... Alexandra Styron's account of ... the slow dawning of the severity of her father's condition is handled with great skill."--"New York Times Book Review"
"A gene has been passed from father to daughter. Alexandra Styron, a born writer, tells the story of her father and the price he and his wife and children paid for his gift. Hers is a shocking book, painful in its truthfulness and moving in the love that holds this remarkable family together as depression and darkness claim the great man who is the center of their lives."--Mike Nichols
""Reading My Father" is a beautiful, utterly absorbing portrait of the artist, and moving proof of how his youngest daughter grew up to become a writer who would make her father proud."--John Burnham Schwartz, author of "The Commoner" and "Reservation Road"
"Alexandra Styron's account of her father is clear-eyed, frightening, and compassionate: an often lyrical view of Styron's struggle with despair, writing, and living. She is unsentimental about the toll his depression and alcoholism took on his work, and even less sentimental about the damage it did to his family. William Styron was a great writer and complex person; his daughter does him justice.."--Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of "An Unquiet Mind" and "Nothing Was the Same"
About the Author
Alexandra Styron is the author of a novel All The Finest Girls. A graduate of Barnard College and the MFA program at Columbia University, Alexandra’s work has appeared in several anthologies as well as in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Avenue, Real Simple, and Interview, among other publications. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-4 of 55 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Alexandra’s glimpses into her father’s life were snippets known through each of his novels in progress. And of his notable friends who came around their house in Connecticut or in their summer place in Martha’s Vineyard where they decamped often. Parties happened frequently, and the liquor flowed freely. Her dad had a glass in hand even if company wasn’t around.
After college and moving to New York City, Alexandra watched how her father suffered and his bouts with depression worsened. She harbored so much resentment for what was missing in her life and how the great Bill Styron with all his capabilities as a talented writer and provider for the family was also lacking as a father.
In her memoir, she delves into her father’s childhood, the losses he suffered and how that shaped who he became. The dark world in which his mind resided and how much he wanted to escape it, even in his old age. It is a loving, even, and raw look at a man, a tribute to an artist, a young girl, a family, and an adult looking back and looking forward in the hopes to understand and ultimately heal.
This book is full of famous names because the Styrons were part of that literary circle of giants where everyone famous seemed to know everyone else. She switches back and forth in chronology and so sometimes I was a little lost about where we were but it was worth it to continue. If you are interesting in writing or literature, I think there is much to learn in this book.
The father sits on the broad fireplace hearth his arms up and gesturing. Surely he is telling a story to the eager and enchanted young girl leaning forward on the sofa. A happy, and calm domestic scene, and the photograph on the cover of Reading my Father, Alexandra Styron family memoir. The Styron family was very much like the cover of the book presenting a happy façade while hiding dark secrets that even they had trouble facing. "Honest confrontation was not part of my family's skill set," Styron confides.
While the reader walks away knowing a great deal about the life and inward workings of author William Styron (Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie's Choice), this is not a biography; it is a memoir of a by-far youngest fourth child in a family beset by fame, fortune and misfortune. The happy times are happy, indeed almost spectacularly happy. Martha's Vineyard neighbor Ted Kennedy drops by on his neighbors unannounced. President and Mrs. Clinton come to a dinner so crowded that everyone under forty is seated at the "children's table" in the living room. The host and his friends want to talk politics; the President insists on talking books. There are trips to Europe and long vacations. A home in Connecticut as well as Martha's Vineyard. A good life--yes; in part.
When the dark times come, they are dark indeed. William Styron's deep and disabling battles with depression overcome happiness of fame, fortune, friends and family. He can not write, and because he can not write he becomes depressed. Or, is it that because he is depressed, he can not write? His daughter wonders about the causality, but two facts remain: he is depressed; he cannot write.
This is, though, more than a story of a daughter, her father, and an illness. It is the tale of a strong family. In spite of the hardships of mental illness, Styron, her two sisters and her brother create strong lives for themselves, each following their individual dreams. Their mother, Rose, equally strong, manages to build her own life and live it even as her husband faces his own demons. Further, the four children and their mother stay close, the family ties grown strong.
The Styrons are a fascinating family, but they are a family throughout. In a letter nineteen-year-old Alexandra Styron wrote to her father (the first she suddenly realized that she had ever written to him) she captures the feelings that still clearly exist these many years later. "You have been an ogre and a grouch, but you have also been one of the kindest, most generous men, too. I think I can speak for all your offspring in saying that we wouldn't dream of having anyone but you as our father."