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8 by Amy Fusselman


All True: Unbelievable

by Amy Fusselman

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 1-58243-368-2
Publisher: Counterpoint

Musings on the nature of time, the relationship between victim and victimizer, parenting, alternative healing therapies and any other aspect of her life that strikes the author’s fancy.

Fusselman (The Pharmacist’s Mate, 2001) writes in short paragraphs, some only a sentence long, and groups them together into semi-chapters, each headed by the figure eight. The number’s significance is not made clear, but it may represent repetition; the author writes of her experience as a figure skater in the 1970s, when she repeatedly practiced executing an eight on ice. Viewed from another angle, the figure could symbolize infinity. Fusselman, who speaks directly to the reader, is not inhibited by rules about writing; her mini-essays flow in whatever direction her mind chooses. When her editor finds one childhood incident unbelievable, she includes the editorial discussion that ensues, bringing the reader into the writing process. Her reflections, which could be entries in a personal journal, include references to her encounters with a pedophile when she was four, her reactions to sessions with a hands-on healer and her child’s sessions with a craniosacral therapist, her efforts to sleep-train her two-year-old son and her motorcycle-riding lessons. She also offers her thoughts on such abstractions as joy, reality, space and time. Her fixation with a song by the Beastie Boys, the lyrics to which she paraphrases at considerable length, may puzzle readers who are not into the group, but her interpretation of it as a complex piece of artistry is fascinating.

Having no apparent direction, beginning or end, Fusselman’s freewheeling memoir is alternately serious and trivial, entertaining and exasperating.