Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday's Book Club Recommendation: INVISIBLE SISTERS
Exactly a year ago, I read Invisible Sisters for the first time.
I'd read an excerpt -- an essay that was published years before the birth of the book and that was nominated for a Pushcart Prize -- while I was in graduate school at Queens University of Charlotte with the author, Jessica Handler. Because we were both writing and studying primarily creative nonfiction, Jessica and I were often in the same writing workshops. Early on, I recognized her gift for artful storytelling, but more than that, I recognized that her compelling personal story would eventually find its way into the world.
And, no surprise, it did just that.
This week, I read Invisible Sisters again, and was as moved by this second read as I was a year ago.
You can buy Invisible Sisters in hard cover or Kindle versions. (http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Sisters-Jessica-Handler/dp/1586486489)
From the publisher, Public Affairs:
A compelling, lyrical memoir of a girl who must navigate the loss of her two sisters before she can discover herself
When Jessica Handler was eight years old, her younger sister Susie was diagnosed with leukemia. To any family, the diagnosis would have been upending, but to the Handlers, whose youngest daughter Sarah had been born with a rare congenital blood disorder, it was an unimaginable verdict. By the time Jessica Handler turned nine, she had begun to introduce herself as the "well sibling;" and her family had begun to come apart.
Invisible Sisters is Handler's powerfully told story of coming of age—as the daughter of progressive Jewish parents who move south to participate in the social-justice movement of the 1960s; as a healthy sister living in the shadow of her siblings' illness; and as a young woman struggling to step out of the shadow of her sisters' deaths, to find and redefine herself anew. With keen-eyed sensitivity, Handler's brave account explores family love and loss, and what it takes not just to survive, but to keep living.
Jessica Handler's nonfiction has appeared in Brevity.com, More Magazine, Southern Arts Journal, and Ars Medica. An essay derived from Invisible Sisters was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize, and her work has received Honorable Mention for the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Prize. A teacher of creative writing, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.