Meghan Daum faces life and Unspeakable subjects head on in this excellent book of ten very personal essays. She discusses her mother’s death, her lack of interest in having (i.e. creating) children (and subsequent exploration of advocate for foster children), her view of life pleasures as chores, and that life’s “ultimate lesson may be that we learn nothing”. From the cover blurb – Daum pushes back against the false sentimentality and shrink-wrapped platitudes that surround so much of contemporary American experience and considers the unspeakable thoughts that many of us harbor.
She is funny, bold, and brave in her declarations. I found myself nodding my head in agreement to so many of her observations.
p. 75 On the subject of growing up, or feeling that you have succeeded in doing so, I’m pretty sure the consensus is that it’s an illusion
p. 79 the vagaries of the digital revolution mean that I have more in common with people twenty years my senior than I do with people seven years my junior. i.e. reading actual books and not necessarily wanting to watch a movie on a three and a half inch screen.
p.88 I guess that is why wisdom is supposed to be the consolation prize of aging. It’s supposed to give us better things to do than stand around and watch in disbelief as the past casts long shadows over the future.
p.192 Just about everything I started off doing badly I’ve remained bad at because I never really bothered to work hard at it
p. 197 Past a certain age, it becomes tiresome to blame one’s deficits on one’s parents
Trust me, Unspeakable strikes a lot of nerves. Meghan Daum is a smooth writer, with well thought out chapters. I wondered if she somehow has seen me in life. I also wondered if she would be my friend. This is an interesting and humorous read – a touch of sociology, psychology, and humanity.