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My Unsentimental Education

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A misfit in Spooner, Wisconsin, with its farms, bars, and strip joints, Debra Monroe leaves to earn a degree, then another, and another, and builds a career—if only because her plans to be a midwestern housewife continually get scuttled. Fearless but naive, she vaults over class barriers but never quite leaves her past behind. When it comes to men, she’s still blue collar. A misfit in Spooner, Wisconsin, with its farms, bars, and strip joints, Debra Monroe leaves to earn a degree, then another, and another, and builds a career—if only because her plans to be a midwestern housewife continually get scuttled. Fearless but naive, she vaults over class barriers but never quite leaves her past behind. When it comes to men, she’s still blue collar. Negotiating the world of dating, Monroe pays careful attention to what love and sex mean to a woman ambivalent about her newfound status as “liberated.” Both the story of her steady rise into the professional class and a parallel history of unsuitable exes, this memoir reminds us how accidental even a good life can be. If Joan Didion advises us “to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be,” Monroe takes this advice a step further and nods at the people she might have become but didn’t. Funny, poignant, wise, My Unsentimental Education explores the confusion that ensues when a working-class girl ends up far from where she began.


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A misfit in Spooner, Wisconsin, with its farms, bars, and strip joints, Debra Monroe leaves to earn a degree, then another, and another, and builds a career—if only because her plans to be a midwestern housewife continually get scuttled. Fearless but naive, she vaults over class barriers but never quite leaves her past behind. When it comes to men, she’s still blue collar. A misfit in Spooner, Wisconsin, with its farms, bars, and strip joints, Debra Monroe leaves to earn a degree, then another, and another, and builds a career—if only because her plans to be a midwestern housewife continually get scuttled. Fearless but naive, she vaults over class barriers but never quite leaves her past behind. When it comes to men, she’s still blue collar. Negotiating the world of dating, Monroe pays careful attention to what love and sex mean to a woman ambivalent about her newfound status as “liberated.” Both the story of her steady rise into the professional class and a parallel history of unsuitable exes, this memoir reminds us how accidental even a good life can be. If Joan Didion advises us “to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be,” Monroe takes this advice a step further and nods at the people she might have become but didn’t. Funny, poignant, wise, My Unsentimental Education explores the confusion that ensues when a working-class girl ends up far from where she began.

57 review for My Unsentimental Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    R.A. Schneider

    Full disclosure: I'm a sucker. For memoir; for underdogs; for “Small-town Misfit Navigates Big Wide World' narratives; for authentic, unselfconscious narration of sex and LSD trips ("LSD is best taken in glorious weather when you aren't jostling for power with your boyfriend, I decided."). I am a sponge for a life’s worth of honestly-earned,generously dispensed wisdom. And I am a sucker for the serendipitous. How fortunate I stumbled upon Debra Monroe’s new memoir, "My Unsentimental Education," Full disclosure: I'm a sucker. For memoir; for underdogs; for “Small-town Misfit Navigates Big Wide World' narratives; for authentic, unselfconscious narration of sex and LSD trips ("LSD is best taken in glorious weather when you aren't jostling for power with your boyfriend, I decided."). I am a sponge for a life’s worth of honestly-earned,generously dispensed wisdom. And I am a sucker for the serendipitous. How fortunate I stumbled upon Debra Monroe’s new memoir, "My Unsentimental Education," satisfying all those cravings? Monroe’s tale of growing up in Spooner, WI and meandering from working class roots to a PhD, writing awards and multiple books, exudes a heartbreakingly honest truth and matter-of-fact authenticity. Unsentimental. No apologies. Early, Monroe's staccato sentences flit from detail to detail across verdant meadows of her childhood, sexual awakening and constant effort to find her way in a world neither woman- or smart-shaped. Memories of the early years are recounted in hundreds of tiny snippets, lofted gossamer of visual fragments, smells, impacts, comments -- delicately tossed tinsel giving shape and nuance to an ordinary tree. Why should the memoir be the territory of the rich and famous, or the self-serving recovery addict? The years go by, and the off-beat rhythm continues. More recent, more powerful memories are recorded more intensely and precisely, with a pointillist focus; clear targeted dot by dot application ... a little here, a little there, rapidly... I follow, intrigued by every dot, not sure how it makes sense, and then am blown away when the full picture is artfully revealed at chapter’s end. I grew up an intellectual outsider in the middle of nowhere, like Monroe, accumulating successes that began to weigh heavy in a community more focused on alfalfa farming and copper mines than on philosophy. So her story of escaping briefly to a writers' camp, where her gift was suddenly at home, struck a particularly raw, empathic nerve with me. She discovered at the camp she was not as alone as perhaps she thought, and for an intoxicating first time was lauded for her precocious skill. Leaving the camp was her first hangover: ... "That night, my parents arrived to take me home. They’d been confused by the whole episode, that I’d wanted to go, that I’d won a prize. They were used to prizes for best jam, best sales record for radial tires in the tristate area, best football playing—not best use of figurative language. We drove under interstate overpasses that seemed like cattle gates, one after another hanging over me as I passed through the chute toward home." Like the needlepoint hobby she intersperses in the narrative, Monroe slowly stitched together her education in a crazy-quilt path to a PhD and beyond. Progressing through this later arc the writing becomes more complex, sentences longer. I don't know if this evolution of sentence structure is intentional, but it reflects the evolution of this unconventional woman making her way in the world, by any means necessary, but mostly through hard work, an eye for the quirky, an unremitting love of language and keen awareness the life she would have would be the life she would make for herself. "My Unsentimental Education" is matter of fact; not dramatic, competitive recovery-porn, like so many recent memoirs. The title of this meticulously told, thoughtful memoir could not be more perfect distillation of the voice and story within.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Allen

    I loved this memoir. As reviewers have said, Monroe's voice is witty and unapologetic, salty and blunt. I agree there was some laugh out loud humor in here. Her writing resists sentimentality for sure, but isn't short on genuine sentiment -- I found the book to be moving and emotionally resonant. This isn't your typical memoir in that it isn't about the narrator's major trauma or recovery. The narrator does something more interesting: she wrestles with and interrogates her past selves and experi I loved this memoir. As reviewers have said, Monroe's voice is witty and unapologetic, salty and blunt. I agree there was some laugh out loud humor in here. Her writing resists sentimentality for sure, but isn't short on genuine sentiment -- I found the book to be moving and emotionally resonant. This isn't your typical memoir in that it isn't about the narrator's major trauma or recovery. The narrator does something more interesting: she wrestles with and interrogates her past selves and experiences, selecting and arranging details in a way that makes the ordinary seem extraordinary.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sonya Huber

    I identified with many of the experiences in this book, and I appreciated Debra Monroe's excavation of Midwestern girlhood in particular. I loved her recreation of a world where prizes for figurative language are incomprehensible and prizes for "best sales record for radial tires in the tristate area" made sense. But what I value most is Monroe's lovely sentences. Her memoir rips along at a great pace, floating often above the level of scene in a storytelling voice that allows for analysis and e I identified with many of the experiences in this book, and I appreciated Debra Monroe's excavation of Midwestern girlhood in particular. I loved her recreation of a world where prizes for figurative language are incomprehensible and prizes for "best sales record for radial tires in the tristate area" made sense. But what I value most is Monroe's lovely sentences. Her memoir rips along at a great pace, floating often above the level of scene in a storytelling voice that allows for analysis and essaying about the themes of work, ambition, class-jumping, and longing through such details as pronouncing "merlot" with the "t." As Monroe so deftly observes, you don't know the class you're in until you leave. This reminded me of Mary Clearman Blew's "This is Not the Ivy League," which is great company to be in.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristan Campbell

    "My Unsentimental Education" is true to it's title and I'm impressed by Debra Monroe's ability to give an account of her life so objectively with a voice that's seriously witty and relatable. Personally, I think hers is an important story to share since there are preconceived notions about women that have achieved as much scholastically as she has. Monroe debunks stereotypes while driving us around the country and through her messy relationships - that she never allowed to succeed in obstructing "My Unsentimental Education" is true to it's title and I'm impressed by Debra Monroe's ability to give an account of her life so objectively with a voice that's seriously witty and relatable. Personally, I think hers is an important story to share since there are preconceived notions about women that have achieved as much scholastically as she has. Monroe debunks stereotypes while driving us around the country and through her messy relationships - that she never allowed to succeed in obstructing her creative and educational progess - with her honest insights all along with the way. It's a fun ride!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This was slow going at first. I couldn't understand why the author was telling the reader what she was telling. But then she wraps it up in the end. She makes sense of what she has shared in her life and what she has learned. I was attracted to the book because I live in the upper midwest and am vaguely familiar with Spooner, Wisconsin and UW Eau Claire--the author's early stomping grounds. Her family's life and the failed relationships were an uncomfortable read for me, but I appreciate her sen This was slow going at first. I couldn't understand why the author was telling the reader what she was telling. But then she wraps it up in the end. She makes sense of what she has shared in her life and what she has learned. I was attracted to the book because I live in the upper midwest and am vaguely familiar with Spooner, Wisconsin and UW Eau Claire--the author's early stomping grounds. Her family's life and the failed relationships were an uncomfortable read for me, but I appreciate her sense of self.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily Rybarski

    Debra Monroe is absolutely amazing! I had the honor of having her as a professor in a memoir class in grad school and she was fantastic. When I read her book, I related to it and developed a deeper appreciation for all that she had been through in her life. She was one of the most humble professors I have ever had! You will not be disappointed in this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Not a perfect book but overall a satisfying read. Frames her life of romances and non-romances in light of cultural pressures... starting w/ being raised to be a farm wife in northern WI. I recommend especially if you're 50+. Not a perfect book but overall a satisfying read. Frames her life of romances and non-romances in light of cultural pressures... starting w/ being raised to be a farm wife in northern WI. I recommend especially if you're 50+.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    My review for the Chicago Tribune: In the 1980s, linguistic anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath conducted a study on why people pick up and sustain a relationship with literature. Unsurprisingly, she found that the habit of reading most often arises in children for whom one or more parents modeled it, and that to become a lifelong reader, young people need to find others with whom they can share their hobby. Surprisingly, she found that "there's a second kind of reader," whose parents and peer gro My review for the Chicago Tribune: In the 1980s, linguistic anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath conducted a study on why people pick up and sustain a relationship with literature. Unsurprisingly, she found that the habit of reading most often arises in children for whom one or more parents modeled it, and that to become a lifelong reader, young people need to find others with whom they can share their hobby. Surprisingly, she found that "there's a second kind of reader," whose parents and peer groups offer no encouragement, but who become passionate readers nevertheless. She describes this type as the "social isolate — the child who from an early age felt very different from everyone around him …. And so the important dialogue in your life is with the authors of the books that you read. Though they aren't present, they become your community." In her sixth book and second memoir, "My Unsentimental Education," novelist Debra Monroe delivers a portrait of herself as someone who falls into this second-kind-of-reader category. This candid yet concise autobiography of a woman who unexpectedly departs her socio-economic background — blue-collar in small-town Wisconsin — to become a Ph.D. and a professor of creative writing hinges on her being "improbably educated yet addicted early to books." Although Monroe falls behind her class in first grade because she misses the start of the year due to a family crisis, once she does learn to read, she's unstoppable: "Obsessed with the lives of made-up people, I pondered stories .... Reading, more exciting than life, calmed me." Thus, while this book is engaging as an account of its author's intellectual and occupational awakening as well as her adventures — or misadventures, really — in sex and relationships, it is above all a love story, but with poetry and fiction more than with any person, and that's what makes it a pleasure to read. Monroe's enthusiasm for literature is contagious, and she writes, delightfully, like someone who not only reads but who has made a study of reading. Or, as one of the many funny-sad scenes in the book puts it, someone whose father warns her, "You're educating yourself out of the marriage market". Roughly halfway through the narrative, for instance, Monroe declares, "Let me pause now, intermission, and say that people disappear," elaborating, "In stories, people don't disappear. Every character who mattered just a little makes an appearance, another appearance, another. In the last chapter, everyone who's weighed in on page 1, page 81, page 181 reappears. Or news of them does. In life, though, people vanish." Her memoir's contents are messy and confused, full of bad choices and abrupt ends, but she writes with precision and polish, offering keenly observed lines like, "you can break one rule if you embed the broken rule in the midst of convention," and, "Professors who attended graduate student parties were young, male, white; professors who didn't attend graduate student parties were old, male white." She admits that her unpredictable entrée into the world of being a professor happened largely by accident, but she is also impressive for her drive, continuing to study and write through multiple low-wage jobs, lame boyfriends and disastrous marriages. She turns an unflinching eye on the casual sexism she has to overcome, as well, like when a male professor tells her, "It's good you're insecure. Otherwise, with your brains and feminine attributes, you'd scare me." She also presents a fresh and un-self-serious look at the broader subject of academia, wittily reframing the publish-or-perish cliché as, "You publish and die anyway, hopefully later." Monroe's honesty about the shortcomings not only of her milieu but also herself is what makes this a worthwhile read. She refuses to soften or hide her anti-heroic qualities or experiences, as when she says: "As anyone married a second time knows, a second divorce seems both harder and easier. Easier because you realize how quickly the promise, the covenant, dissolves. Harder because you resist serialized failure." Monroe has led an unconventional life, and in this unconventional memoir, she gives readers a jagged arc as opposed to a perpetually rising one, resulting in a genuine look at how "sometimes you go sideways or down before you go up."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Ferguson

    My review for Brevity Magazine: Like Debra Monroe, I grew up in the ’70s with a scrapbook called My School Years. Each grade ended with a section called “When I Grow Up I Want to Be…” with occupations divided by gender. Boys had choices such as astronaut or basketball player; girls, secretary or model. I remember feeling perplexed and ill-suited to every option, but I had to check a box. In kindergarten I went with “airline hostess.” First grade I selected “other” and wrote in “ballerina.” Second My review for Brevity Magazine: Like Debra Monroe, I grew up in the ’70s with a scrapbook called My School Years. Each grade ended with a section called “When I Grow Up I Want to Be…” with occupations divided by gender. Boys had choices such as astronaut or basketball player; girls, secretary or model. I remember feeling perplexed and ill-suited to every option, but I had to check a box. In kindergarten I went with “airline hostess.” First grade I selected “other” and wrote in “ballerina.” Second grade, I again picked “other” but wrote in “teacher” on the boys’ side. From third grade on it would appear I gave in to my fate, dutifully checking “school teacher” as a girl. In My Unsentimental Education, Monroe writes that as a child faced with these divisions of labor, she didn’t yet comprehend lack of parity between the genders—though it’s implied she eventually will. Monroe spends her youth struggling between education and tradition, as her dueling binaries of “bookish self” and “homebody” foil her next evolution. From writing camp to tenured professor, from first kiss to adult relationship, she details her “slow shift in understanding what wooing and mating would be during a large-scale movement of women into the professions.” Monroe and I both grew up during the last gasp of stenography (we learned it, then didn’t use it), and the new generation of single women who could legally obtain the pill. We attended colleges with many female students but encountered few female professors. We saw how women scholars would wind up as over-educated typists for their husband’s dissertations. Not Monroe. She consistently placed her career over the men in her life. Monroe is haunted by her bizarro self, the divorcée in the rural Midwest, used up by a dead-end job and a passel of ungrateful kids. Okay, so that life sounds terrible. Who would miss it? Yet Monroe somehow conveys survivor’s guilt combined with nostalgia for what she lost—a place to belong. I’m not sure I buy the “unsentimental” aspect, for every time a love is lost or a moving truck packed, melancholy lingers. Perhaps the most poignant of these choices is the first, when she chooses college over her first love. She fumbles to return his class ring hanging around her neck while he sobs. Monroe has broken the silent covenant with her community in Spooner, Wisconsin, that young girls settle down and marry nice local boys. She confuses her mother. Her father warns that she’s educating herself out of the marriage market. Her future stepfather is more blatant: “high-on-your-horse, know-it-all-c***.” In these moments and throughout, Monroe deploys wry language worthy of a former Flannery O’Connor Award winner as she morphs through various personas, changing costumes that she often sews herself: Dorothy Parker—“I hated peyote. But mutual interests are the foundation of marriage.” Judge Judy—“Don’t move in with someone unless you have first and last month’s rent, plus a deposit.” Dear Sugar—“I didn’t know yet that love seesaws forever between regard for the other and wariness for the self.” Late Night Bourbon Confessor—“It takes a special kind of courage to call off a wedding, and I didn’t have it.” My Unsentimental Education is not The Notebook. The boyfriend at the beginning does not return with his class ring at the end, trying to patch things up. Thank God. Or at least, I was much happier wandering around Monroe’s complicated but truthful experience. Monroe, in her My School Years scrapbook, also refused the prescribed boxes, checked “other,” and wrote in, “missionary”; however, the pious life wasn’t meant to be. The journey we take in life might be untidy, or as Monroe observes, “sometimes you go sideways or down before you go up.” The important thing, it seems, is that you go.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    A good read I liked this book on many levels. It's insightful and well written. I had my first taste from an excerpt on "longreads" and immediately wanted to read more. There's an honesty throughout. In the beginning a naive honesty and moving to a more realistic one where what is revealed, though still open, has more of buffer about it. That's just my subjective feeling 5 minutes after finishing the book. Having read the kindel version I was immediately solicited for my review and rating. This is a b A good read I liked this book on many levels. It's insightful and well written. I had my first taste from an excerpt on "longreads" and immediately wanted to read more. There's an honesty throughout. In the beginning a naive honesty and moving to a more realistic one where what is revealed, though still open, has more of buffer about it. That's just my subjective feeling 5 minutes after finishing the book. Having read the kindel version I was immediately solicited for my review and rating. This is a book that i enjoyed and will reflect on for some time. I will think about why I empathize with the author, how she made me feel and brought me into her life. The balance between a totally unique life and a normal one was expressed delicately and artistically. Writing about oneself is tricky and I don't usually read these kind of memoirs. Is it a sort of character development through flashbacks? I felt the author had a strong point of view from the first chapter and though there were many branches and events there was no one monumental revelation or moment of satori. As important and life changing as motherhood was, the story progressed at an even pace and the author remained steady. There was a gentleness in the years passing, the changes and the humor and honesty in the telling of it. I felt a reaffirmation of life with all it's knotty problems and subtle beauties. The writing is the real treat. I was really taken in, not so much as what happened but, by the telling of it. Perhaps the highest praise is that after having read the book I would love to meet the author for lunch and conversation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

    I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. Personally, I always find it difficult to critique a memoir, because it's what actually happened in someone's life, versus fiction, which, as we all know is just kind of made-up and random though, of course, is open to interpretation based on the author's experiences, yada, yada, but, still, how can you fault someone for simply choosing to write about things that actually happened? I suppose you could argue with the way they choose to tell the story I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. Personally, I always find it difficult to critique a memoir, because it's what actually happened in someone's life, versus fiction, which, as we all know is just kind of made-up and random though, of course, is open to interpretation based on the author's experiences, yada, yada, but, still, how can you fault someone for simply choosing to write about things that actually happened? I suppose you could argue with the way they choose to tell the story—perhaps it's too rambling or boring or whatever—but the story is what it is. In any case, I happened upon this book randomly while searching my library's online catalog for another book. I'd never heard of this woman and the picture of a naked dressmaker's dummy wearing a string of pearls on the cover made me feel like I would be reading a book about a haunted textiles factory or something equally bizarre, but clearly that was not the case. Instead, it's an honest, gritty, slightly sardonic tale of an ordinary woman growing up in the Midwest who realizes the small-town dream of early marriage, motherhood, and domestic homemaking she's been raised to believe is her fate is so not for her. In the process of finding herself, she gets sidetracked, falls in love, marries, divorces, gets her PhD. Not so ordinary, but not really sensational either in the vein of celebrity tell-alls or dramatic brushes with death, wild animals, or failed porn careers. Her writing is from the heart, less humble brag than unrepentant truth, and I think that's what makes this an interesting read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received this book from the publisher for free via the Goodreads Giveaways. Here's my review: First, it took me awhile. The book I received is 200 pages, not 256 as Goodreads would have had me believe. Not big, and I thought this would go pretty quickly. The first half was just hard for me to get into, it went very slowly for me. Secondly, the timelines moving around really confused me. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention in the beginning, but the person she seemed to describe herself as in I received this book from the publisher for free via the Goodreads Giveaways. Here's my review: First, it took me awhile. The book I received is 200 pages, not 256 as Goodreads would have had me believe. Not big, and I thought this would go pretty quickly. The first half was just hard for me to get into, it went very slowly for me. Secondly, the timelines moving around really confused me. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention in the beginning, but the person she seemed to describe herself as in the beginning when her student wanted to be like her - didn't seem like the person she was at the end. Also, that was never tied back in again, so I felt like nothing was recapitulated or summarized and I missed that. Third, while some parts went at a fine pace for the book, but slow in my page turning; there are some parts that she just never really discusses. I guess they're parts of other books, but going into detail about lover and lover and then merely mentioning Marie seemed unbalanced and unfair to the reader. Finally, I did like the FINAL paragraph sort of trying to tie things up but the last chapter/section focusing on an ex-husband really felt out of place in her memoir. I mean, it's her memoir and it is her life so it should go where it goes -- but maybe I just felt it was an odd place to end. So, overall, I was interested in her memoir and my perception of why I think she wrote it -- a solid 3-stars, but I couldn't give anymore for all the confusion and back-and-forthing and writing that was sometimes hard to follow chronologically.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trilla Pando

    It’s not an unusual story. A mid-twentieth century family has low aspirations for themselves and even lower for their daughters. Get married. Find yourself a good man who will take care of you. The standard high school graduation present—a typewriter. Mine was. So was Debra Monroe’s. A girl needs to learn to type so if she has to work when she finishes having the babies. The end. But not for Monroe. “Sometimes you go sideways or down before you go up,” Monroe says. She certainly did. Sideways, d It’s not an unusual story. A mid-twentieth century family has low aspirations for themselves and even lower for their daughters. Get married. Find yourself a good man who will take care of you. The standard high school graduation present—a typewriter. Mine was. So was Debra Monroe’s. A girl needs to learn to type so if she has to work when she finishes having the babies. The end. But not for Monroe. “Sometimes you go sideways or down before you go up,” Monroe says. She certainly did. Sideways, down, up, and around in circles as she moved through her life. Always, always with her eye on up. I practically became dizzy with the adventures, the wins, the setbacks. Still, like Monroe, I kept going. A great story teller, Monroe picks her tales so that her narrative stays fast moving and upbeat even through the drinking, the pot, the rough times with parents, and the rougher ones with spouses. How could this story ever have a happy ending? I’ll tell you and I’m not giving it away—the author’s biography also tells us. Today, that once erratic, troubled high schooler is using her typing skills to write books. And more, as an MFA professor she teaches others to get their own words down. I knew Monroe’s had brought her life to an even keel because several years ago I read her moving account of adopting her daughter in her memoir, On the Outskirts of Normal. I recommend that book as a companion to this one. They complement and don’t repeat.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    "My Unsentimental Education" is a powerful account of one woman breaking through the twin bonds of misogyny and low expectations. Monroe, born in a small Wisconsin town, falls in love hard and early with words and literature. Thus begins an unlikely, jagged journey towards a Ph.D. a college professorship in creative writing, and the authoring of several books. Along the way, there are a number of romantic mishaps as she navigates such foreign land. This memoir will ring true for anyone who has " "My Unsentimental Education" is a powerful account of one woman breaking through the twin bonds of misogyny and low expectations. Monroe, born in a small Wisconsin town, falls in love hard and early with words and literature. Thus begins an unlikely, jagged journey towards a Ph.D. a college professorship in creative writing, and the authoring of several books. Along the way, there are a number of romantic mishaps as she navigates such foreign land. This memoir will ring true for anyone who has "risen above her raisings" because quite often such unexpected achievement creates a destabilizing distance from one's childhood friends and family. Monroe's candor and humor makes this a compelling read. I highly recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Geller

    I liked this book but it is painful to watch this interesting, self starter of a woman who writes well, is clearly motivated and bright and able to leave her limited background make so many terrible choices, about men, her career, etc. it is so clear that she was in badly in need of a mentor and astonishing how far she got on her own and despite many horrible choices she made in men. Well written.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jane The Pale

    Her writing style is not my taste at the moment. Like a sketch there are some words missing. It covers her life through school to her current marriage. This is the kind of memoir i have liked and hope to enjoy in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Struggles of a young woman growing up in near-poverty in Wisconsin who succeeds in getting a PhD and a job in academia. I couldn't relate to her sticking with deadbeat husbands and lovers; she seemed pretty street-smart in most other respects. Struggles of a young woman growing up in near-poverty in Wisconsin who succeeds in getting a PhD and a job in academia. I couldn't relate to her sticking with deadbeat husbands and lovers; she seemed pretty street-smart in most other respects.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard McDonough

    wonderful book i lost track of for a long time and finally finished in June. Monroe is a combination of hero, sassy critic, and amazing mother. Every book by her is an adventure. More!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Smiley938

    I'm in a reading rut and unfortunately, this book didn't inspire me out of it. May try this again when I can give it a fair chance. I'm in a reading rut and unfortunately, this book didn't inspire me out of it. May try this again when I can give it a fair chance.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aleah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Arija

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzy Spencer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Craig Reinbold

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Hollyberry

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Déry

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lori Dewender

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leandra

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  32. 5 out of 5

    Renée

  33. 5 out of 5

    Liza

  34. 5 out of 5

    April

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ksh

  36. 4 out of 5

    Graham Oliver

  37. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  38. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Schwarzer

  39. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  40. 5 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  41. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  42. 5 out of 5

    Penny lurkykitty

  43. 5 out of 5

    Leland Lee

  44. 4 out of 5

    Anne Marie

  45. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Needelman

  46. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  47. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  48. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Cole Marie Mckinnon

  49. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

  50. 5 out of 5

    Vykki

  51. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

  52. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

  53. 4 out of 5

    Swensonbooks

  54. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  55. 5 out of 5

    D

  56. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  57. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Snoek-Brown

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