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Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays –…

Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Lauren Hough (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
693301,910 (4.31)1
Teoksen nimi:Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays
Kirjailijat:Lauren Hough (Tekijä)
Info:Vintage (2021), 320 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

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Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing: Essays (tekijä: Lauren Hough)


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näyttää 3/3
These brilliant and brutal essays are written from the anger and despair of a cult background. The author was brought up in Children of God, later known as The Family, headed up by the stereotypical monster who sexually preyed on children and young women. After leaving, Lauren was barely able to subsist and drift until she landed in the Air Force, the proverbial frying plan from the fire. Here, as a lesbian, she had her car torched and her life continually threatened until she self-reported under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and received an honorable discharge. For some reason, maybe the skill of the writer, her story remains striving and hopeful as she cycles through ongoing searches for family to replace the two she left, and finds it mostly while bartending, where the back of the house workers are mostly misfits also, and also in a ten year stint as a cable tv service technician. How Lauren became a whole person again, a warrior against hypocrisy, and a fine writer under these circumstances is fairly miraculous and a riveting adventure for the reader.

Quotes: "It may not be as visible a mark of your class as bad teeth, but a history of violence being acted on you by those you love is just as effective at keeping you from climbing too high."

"My friendships, if you could call them that, were built on all the depth and intimacy of a fourth-grade relationship that starts and ends with "We sat together at lunch for a week" and lasted as long."

"It's no wonder we're all depressed. Our culture doesn't value experiences or living. We value work so you can buy things."

"I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Living the fucking dream. The problem was, I didn't want any goddamn part of it. Once I saw it, it's like a stain on the ceiling. It's all you can see anymore. You start noticing all the other stains."

"I was only trapped by my fear of losing it all. And when I added it all up, "all" was just stuff I didn't need anyway."

"Somewhere, deep down, we've always known that it's not just us but our entire society that balances one misstep away from unraveling. It's why prophecies of the Apocalypse work so well on Americans, why postapocalyptic fiction has never seemed entirely fictional." ( )
  froxgirl | Jun 12, 2021 |
Heard about the controversy surrounding this author's comments, trolling, and flame war regarding Goodreads reviews on Twitter, and my first thought was, "What a complete asshole!" Then I thought, "But a lot of my favorite books have been written by complete assholes . . . "

Hough writes with propulsive prose that occasionally stumbles over itself about a life so packed that the tendency to digress doesn't annoy as it opens up avenues worth further exploration. She exhibits a real swagger in her narration, but it belies the trauma she has suffered: homophobia, rape, court martial, jail time, and being raised in the Children of God cult.

When I read, I don't usually look for quotes, but I felt compelled to post three passages from this book that really struck me.

I'll be interested to see what Hough writes next . . . just not on Twitter. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jun 8, 2021 |
Wow, this woman can write! Born in Berlin in the 70s to a hippie couple who'd embraced life in a "religious" cult called the Children of God, Lauren Hough grew up all over the world, as the cult was often on the run from the law, due to its brainwashing, abusive practices. The elders of the group apparently had their pick of young girls as bed partners. So there's that. Added to that, Hough was gay, mannish and six feet tall, and quite casually calls herself a dyke. She was still a teenager when she escaped the cult, then called "the Family," fleeing with her mother and younger brother to Texas. Always an outsider, she joined the Air Force after high school, where she flunked out of Vietnamese at DLI and ended up a glorified clerk at an airbase in South Carolina where she was sexually harrassed and finally forced out of the service for being gay. Diagnosed with depression and PTSD for the assaults and abuse she suffered throughout her life she was "treated" with various drugs dispensed by the VA as she bounced between various crappy jobs in the DC area, including a bouncer at a gay bar and a nearly ten-year stretch as a "cable guy." LEAVING ISN'T THE HARDEST THING is billed as an essay collection, but it's a memoir, no question, and one of the best ones I've read in a long time. A lot of very dark stuff in here, sexually explicit and brutally frank, but it's leavened throughout with a deadpan, equally dark sense of humor that will make you chuckle and even laugh aloud. Hough is no MFA product. She's the real deal, a blue-collar worker who's been writing continuously and trying to tell her story for twenty years. And here it is - finally - and it's a doozy. I loved it. My highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
1 ääni TimBazzett | Apr 30, 2021 |
näyttää 3/3
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If you ask me where I'm from, I'll lie to you.
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There are few codes held more deeply among the poor, the religious, and the uneducated than that it is good and healthy and wholesome parenting to hit your kids. That their kids grow up with anger-management issues, who like hitting almost as much as they like getting hit, is not taken as evidence that maybe they're wrong here. Its right there in the Bible: "Spare the rod, and spoil the child." The Bible also says, "Violence begets violence." But the Bible says a lot of dumb shit.
People describe falling in love as meeting someone who they feel like they've known all their lives. Someone who understands them immediately. To me, that seems more like a nightmare than a fantasy. I always thought love meant the process of discovery, the work to understand someone. I want to know what it feels like when someone tries to figure me out, and keeps trying. I want someone to ask the questions and listen to the answers. I want to be studied the way I study others and learned the way I learn them.
I told him it would be a week, seven to ten days to get a new line. He said through his teeth he needed an exact day. I gave him my supervisor's number. This whole time, his wife was in the kitchen wiping a clean counter.

I was filling out the work orders and emailing my supervisor to give him a heads-up on a possible call from a member of every cable tech's favorite rage cult when his wife knocked on my van window. She stepped back and called me "ma'am." Which was nice. Her husband with the tucked-in polo shirt had asked my name and I told him Lauren. He heard Lawrence because it fit what he saw and asked if he could call me Larry. Guys like that use your name as a weapon. "Larry, explain to me why I had to sit around here from one to three waiting on you and you show up at 3:17. Does that seem like good customer service to you, Larry? And now you're telling me seven to ten days? Larry, I'm getting really tired of hearing this shit." Guys like that, it was safer to just let them think I was a man.

She said she was sorry about him. I said, "It's fine." I said there really wasn't anything I could do. She blinked back the flood of tears she'd been holding since god knows when. She said, "It's just, when he has Fox, he has Obama to hate. If he doesn't have that . . . " She kept looking over her shoulder. She was terrified of him. "I'm sorry," she said. "I just need him to have Fox." I got out of my van.
Viimeiset sanat
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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Contents: Author's Note -- Solitaire -- The Slide -- Badlands -- Speaking in Tongues -- Boys on the Side -- How to Make an Enemy -- Cell Block -- Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing -- Pet Snakes -- Cable Guy -- Everything That's Beautiful Breaks My Heart -- Acknowledgments

Some stories originally appeared, in slightly different form, in the following publications: "Cable Guy" as "I Was a Cable Guy. I Saw the Worst of America." in HuffPost (December 30, 2018); "Pet Snakes" as "My Drug Dealer's Snake" in Gay Magazine (May 16, 2019); and "Solitaire" in The Wrath-Bearing Tree (December 4, 2017 and January 1, 2018).
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