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Something Like Beautiful by asha bandele - Book Review

The thing that strikes me the most about Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story by asha bandele is the honesty in her writing. Situations that might seem shocking, disturbing even, situations that might make one jump to conclusions, to stereotypes, are told so candidly that one easily falls into the life of this young, single mother. If she were any other speaker, we might think her a fool; but this woman is smart.

Still, she makes the big mistakes. She falls in love with a prisoner, a man held for involvement in a gangland murder. She conceives a child with him during conjugal visits. She meets another man who abuses her and battles with the depression and addiction that comes from living the regrettable. Still, through all of her honest telling, we see ourselves in her. Our decisions might not mirror hers exactly, but we understand how smart women make such amazingly stupid decisions.

bandale writes from the heart in unique mix of reflection and narrative. This can become disconcerting at times, but lends to the honesty in the telling. She never shies away from the seedy parts, nor welcomes pity. It’s easy to hear a poets voice on the page, where her greatest sonnets are reserved for her daughter.

My qualm with Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story lies in the depth of the tale. Because her flowery style is suited to the grandiose nature of the story, the actual details get watered down. I wish this story had been told in three parts (and I suspect I’ll be looking for The Prisoner's Wife : A Memoir to fill in the first part). In the end, I wanted to know more about her battle with depression, her freeing from abuse and her divorce. However, I suspect she wanted this memoir to be one of feeling rather than detail, and in that she succeeded.

Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story is recommended for memoir readers, women who’ve lost their way or found their way back.

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