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In Spite of Everything: A Memoir Hardcover – July 12, 2011
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“If you've been through the pain of a divorce or watched one at close range, you may recognize emotions here that you've never seen written down anywhere else….Thomas' deeply felt prose and pitilessly intelligent self-analysis raise her story to something on the order of a generational anthem (which, as Gen X enters middle age, it sorely needs).”
“By turns hilarious and heartbreaking….As profound as it is rollickingly funny….What sets Susan Gregory Thomas’ In Spite of Everything apart from other tales of charred families is the propulsive force of her writing, and her effort to connect her parents’ divorce, and later her own, to a larger generational narrative….If you’ve ever thought about getting married, or wondered about how best to raise children, real or hypothetical, or had parents, put In Spite of Everything on your list.”
“A lively narrative…[sprinkled] with broadening references to literature, religion, pop culture, and statistics….Let’s face it: It’s fascinating to watch a marriage unravel….Happily for us, [Thomas’s] pain and missteps, and the exploration and enlightenment they provoke, make for a page-turning saga.”
“Razor-sharp….If Generation X is not unique in suffering; its particular suffering is unique, and Thomas provides an insightful, well-researched, sometimes funny and often harrowing view of it.”
--San Francisco Chronicle
“Raw and courageous....A memoir that speaks intimately, and with honesty, for an entire generation that needed to be heard.”
“Raw, funny, searingly honest and electrifyingly intelligent . . . As a field guide to the beat-up, busted heart of Generation X, it’s damn near definitive. Thomas solves the mystery of her devastating divorce—and the emotional catastrophe that defines a generation.”—Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians
“This smart and emotionally mighty memoir will show you how every family of divorce is unhappy in ways we can all relate to, learn from, cry about, and (after reading such a great book) transcend. Sad and funny, In Spite of Everything is the first book to dissect, with scientific definitiveness, the Busted-Marriage Generation. It also tells a very moving personal story with real beauty.”—Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
“At once a literate and poignant memoir and incisive journalistic illumination of the cult of domestic consumption, In Spite of Everything is a remarkable and moving study of an American generation's uneasy search for home.”—Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
“Honest, riveting and illuminating . . . An indelible portrait, not only of a family, but of an entire generation shaped by loneliness. Breathtakingly beautiful from start to finish.”—Lisa Dierbeck, author of One Pill Makes You Smaller
“This book is brave, startling, profoundly moving, and I could not put it down.”—Joanna Hershon, author of Swimming
“In In Spite of Everything, Susan Gregory Thomas goes way beyond American pop culture’s cute, run-of-the-mill bromides about marriage and parenting and gives us a work that's shot through with a stark and clarifying light of honesty. It is an inspiring book—and an often uproariously funny one, too. In Spite of Everything establishes Susan Gregory Thomas as one of the most important new voices in American writing.”—Jeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World
“Engrossing . . . A deeply moving and personal tale of divorce, love, motherhood, and what makes us who we are.”—Marian Fontana, author of A Widow’s Walk
“Harrowing, hilarious, and profoundly wise . . . [In Spite of Everything] is the work of a supreme talent and an emotional daredevil, a woman courageous enough to reveal every scar that lines her heart.”—Brendan I. Koerner, author of Now the Hell Will Start
“As a memoir, In Spite of Everything is both raw and smart; as a generational analysis, it is spot on—culturally, economically and psychologically. This is an engaging and fast-paced memoir . . . and a generational portrait for those who refuse to be categorized.”—Lisa Chamberlain, author of Slackonomics
“In Spite of Everything is a profound emotional history of the last forty years. Susan Gregory Thomas is the expert on Generation X’s emotional fallout. All recovering latchkey kids should read this book.”—Ada Calhoun, author of Instinctive Parenting
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Strangely, I had also recently read Claire Dederer's GenX parenting (and yoga) memoir, Poser, which I found unengaging and irritating. Thomas hits many of the same themes - including what it's like to be a parent after being a child of divorce and the lure of "attachment parenting" for many of our generation -- but her book blows Dederer's out of the water both in the quality of the writing and the depth of her self-knowledge and emotional experience. I was so drawn into the story of her family -- then and now -- that I read the book in two days and haven't stopped thinking about it since.
With all that said, the author's neuroses seem to run so deep that she only seems to scratch the surface, and many of her self-destructive tendencies seem to play as subtext rather than narrative. Thomas claims that Gen X's defining urge is to be a group of iconoclasts - to be "terminally unique." I think that misses it - Gen X is the most "self-aware" of any generation. Because our parents were so self-involved, and so disconnected from us, we were forced to be hyper aware of our emotional landscape to survive. While Baby Boomers valued being true to the self above all else, Generation Xers seek an ever-expanding global awareness - we want to have a truth that is as informed as possible.Read more ›
As for the reviewer who found the book irritating because of the upper-middle class trappings presented, I feel that Thomas was pretty straightforward about who she was and where she came from. The book is not a request for sympathy, but one, well-thought-out, at times excruciatingly painful, example (her own upbringing / adulthood) of a greater trend she has observed (how divorce has impacted Gen X'ers current family lives & structures).
And, the expensive renovations and purchase of a single family home in an expensive neighborhood seemed to me to represent less what Thomas was upset about during that period of her life, and more her scrambling to gain every sign of external (X-ternal?) stability and safety when, internally, she had been raised without the capacity to believe in these things. In my reading, these were examples of what she WAS getting since she couldn't find any safety or stability internally.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sigh. The writing is good but, geez, what a micromanager Ms. Thomas is. Okay, I'm a parent of Gen X'ers and I did all of the things that she seems to think are so terrible. Read morePublished 5 months ago by juki654
You will need a thesaurus for this one! The author expressed so well her emotional state during and after her marriage, her struggles with the mental breakdown, and her eventual... Read morePublished 21 months ago by tiffanyturtle
I could not finish this book--pushed myself to get to 30 percent. Boring. The author is a very good writer, likes to use big words, and sounds like a philosopher---but what... Read morePublished 21 months ago by JanRDmom
I read this memoir because I've reached the age where the people around me are getting divorced. I'm married and I'd like to stay married, so it seemed like a good book to check... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Narcissistic and self-aggrandizing, but at least she seems aware of it. She's also weirdly obsessed with Eminem and the word "gestalt."
Insert Alec Baldwin "Bored. Read more
You don't have to be children of divorce to understand the symbolism and angst inherent in Susan Gregory Thomas' world of Generation Xers. Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by Avid Reader
I could really relate to the authors childhood and teen experiences. Her young adulthood was the same as mine and many of my friends. Read morePublished on December 4, 2012 by heidi teti
I tried to write a two-word review for this book but they wanted twenty.
So here are my two words:
I'm a fan of memoirs, especially memoirs written by women. I am also a Gen X child of divorce, like Susan Gregory. I enjoyed this book a lot, and Gregory's writing chops are real. Read morePublished on October 23, 2012 by Amy S. Hale