Blow Your House Down : A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason
by Frangello, Gina






"Gina Frangello is a long-married fortysomething devoted mom when her life is turned upside down by the sudden death of her closest friend. Worn down from years of caregiving both her elderly parents and three kids, Gina starts to interrogate her own mortality and what she once longed for as a younger woman : a kind of sexual, romantic and artistic intensity radically at odds with her comfortable but emotionally stagnant marriage. Falling into a passionate affair with a writer/musician, Gina begins living a shocking double life while continuing to outwardly project the image of having a "perfect family." As her parallel worlds begin to dangerously intersect, she makes the risky choice to leave her marriage and security in order to take a chance at finally becoming fully herself, midlife. However, when only months into her separation, Gina is diagnosed with breast cancer, her father dies, her divorce grows increasingly contentious and menacing, and her lover falls into a deep clinical depression, an inevitable breaking point approaches, revealing the irrevocable stakes of giving up everything for love, as well as what it means to be a woman in the contemporary American landscape. Examining pivotal moments in a complex family system about to implode, Blow Your House Down is about what happens when a woman who has been very good at playing all the roles society expects of her suddenly refuses to continue being the person her family and friends think they know. In a note from the author to her writing group, she wrote: "If we are all supposed to write the book we most need to read, then this is the book I wish I had had in front of me during the years my marriage was falling apart, the years I gave everything in me to my ailing parents and young children and angry husband until there seemed nothing left, the years I began a wildly selfish and euphoric affair that seemed to save me, the years I decided to leave my marriage but leaving ended up looking nothing like escape and instead like the end of the world, and the years that I was sick and in pain and having body parts removed at the speed of light and not knowing whether illness would destroy any new beginning I had fought so hard to find. This is the book I was so hungrily looking for, with all itsbrutality and grief and guilt and desire but didn't find. I hold in my head a woman who needs this book to save her own life.""-





Gina Frangello is the author of Every Kind of Wanting, A Life in Men, Slut Lullabies, and My Sister's Continent. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in Ploughshares, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Fence, Five Chapters, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Reader, and many other publications.





In this raw, red-hot memoir, novelist and editor Frangello's (Every Kind of Wanting, 2016) in-your-face starting point is the fact that she has committed adultery. She both indicts and defends herself, giving readers-her "ladies and gentlemen of the jury"-an intimate view of her first marriage and the all-encompassing affair that ends it and leads to her second. But Frangello's deeper aim is to address the steep price women pay in a patriarchal society in terms of biased stigma and impaired health and well-being whether they abide by or transgress its rules. Her evidence includes the sad story of her deeply loved parents' dysfunctional marriage and often-harrowing details of relationships she observed growing up in a low-income Chicago neighborhood. She shares her experiences as a wife, mother, parental caregiver, literary professional, and medical patient, of a woman who paints within the lines, until she vividly, wildly doesn't. How fulfilled is a woman allowed to be? In this gutsy, dramatic feminist manifesto, Frangello recounts the cost of eschewing security to choose the utter necessity of love, of being more tomorrow than she is today. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





In this raw, red-hot memoir, novelist and editor Frangello's (Every Kind of Wanting, 2016) in-your-face starting point is the fact that she has committed adultery. She both indicts and defends herself, giving readers-her "ladies and gentlemen of the jury"-an intimate view of her first marriage and the all-encompassing affair that ends it and leads to her second. But Frangello's deeper aim is to address the steep price women pay in a patriarchal society in terms of biased stigma and impaired health and well-being whether they abide by or transgress its rules. Her evidence includes the sad story of her deeply loved parents' dysfunctional marriage and often-harrowing details of relationships she observed growing up in a low-income Chicago neighborhood. She shares her experiences as a wife, mother, parental caregiver, literary professional, and medical patient, of a woman who paints within the lines, until she vividly, wildly doesn't. How fulfilled is a woman allowed to be? In this gutsy, dramatic feminist manifesto, Frangello recounts the cost of eschewing security to choose the utter necessity of love, of being more tomorrow than she is today. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





In a debut memoir, a novelist presents her life-altering affair in unsparing detail. Addressing her readers as "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury," Frangello invites us to join her in a meticulous examination of the background of‚?"and possible justifications for‚?"a midlife infidelity. Her best friend's death was the immediate cause of her emotional disorientation, but there were also the issues of her husband's temper, her coming-of-age in a neighborhood where girls and women were routinely mistreated, her absorption of more secondhand trauma in her job as a counselor, and her anxiety about reliving her mother's sexless marriage. Frangello pulls apart these and other rationalizations even as she presents them, including the suggestion "that my internalized fear of men was extreme enough to make me‚?¶confuse a man whose heart I shattered‚?¶with O.J. Simpson, with the weekly predators on Law and Order¬ and Criminal Minds, with the men of my old neighborhood." Before her first weekend with her lover, the author "had never burned a man before‚?¶never clipped a wrist cuff to a thigh cuff‚?¶never known intimacy so beyond the domain of ego or language." As she explains, it was precisely this intimacy that caused her to "question everything I ever understood regarding how to be Normal, how to be Good." When her twin 12-year-old daughters learned about her affair from reading texts on her phone, she had them keep it from their father for three years. Her husband's life, she writes, "forged on, now with three members of his family holding knowledge to which he had no access." Later in the narrative, referring to a gag order she refused to sign at the time of her divorce, Frangello writes, "perhaps you empathize with my husband's desire that I should be silenced." Though the author hopes her candor will be helpful to other women‚?"and it may be‚?"reader sympathy may be hard to come by. A furious expiation that takes every risk it can find. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





In a debut memoir, a novelist presents her life-altering affair in unsparing detail. Addressing her readers as "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury," Frangello invites us to join her in a meticulous examination of the background of‚?"and possible justifications for‚?"a midlife infidelity. Her best friend's death was the immediate cause of her emotional disorientation, but there were also the issues of her husband's temper, her coming-of-age in a neighborhood where girls and women were routinely mistreated, her absorption of more secondhand trauma in her job as a counselor, and her anxiety about reliving her mother's sexless marriage. Frangello pulls apart these and other rationalizations even as she presents them, including the suggestion "that my internalized fear of men was extreme enough to make me‚?¶confuse a man whose heart I shattered‚?¶with O.J. Simpson, with the weekly predators on Law and Order¬ and Criminal Minds, with the men of my old neighborhood." Before her first weekend with her lover, the author "had never burned a man before‚?¶never clipped a wrist cuff to a thigh cuff‚?¶never known intimacy so beyond the domain of ego or language." As she explains, it was precisely this intimacy that caused her to "question everything I ever understood regarding how to be Normal, how to be Good." When her twin 12-year-old daughters learned about her affair from reading texts on her phone, she had them keep it from their father for three years. Her husband's life, she writes, "forged on, now with three members of his family holding knowledge to which he had no access." Later in the narrative, referring to a gag order she refused to sign at the time of her divorce, Frangello writes, "perhaps you empathize with my husband's desire that I should be silenced." Though the author hopes her candor will be helpful to other women‚?"and it may be‚?"reader sympathy may be hard to come by. A furious expiation that takes every risk it can find. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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