Abandon Me by Melissa Febos | Review

Intimate and heartbreaking

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Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
Bloomsbury Publishing
February 28, 2017
(320 pages)

I had been under the impression that good memoirs could only be written by those people who have had lived extraordinary lives. Whip Smart, the story of a college age dominatrix certainly fit into that preconceived notion. This new memoir, however, centers more on the ordinary. Here, we are given the easier to identify with experience of love and loss. We see the limits of devotion and the hunger for a solution to the story of oneself. Doesn’t everyone want to be loved? Don’t we all want to know where we came from? The examination of how these questions intertwine makes for a beautiful and compelling journey.

A few pages into Abandon Me, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s emotional truth of “Loving is so short, forgetting is so long” from “Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines” came to mind, hitting me with the same gut punch reminder of how love is often all consuming. Where Melissa Febos’ prior memoir Whip Smart lived in the dark, Abandon Me runs to the light, but both stories nonetheless are about transformation. Here, we see the aching truth about love, how it is craved, and how it must be survived. In this return to the life of a former dominatrix, there still is beauty and pain for all to see, but this time it is expressed in a journey out of one relationship and into an understanding of personal history.

Intimate and heartbreaking, this is the story of endurance through hope and grace despite tendencies to do otherwise. This is a marvelous glimpse into what love makes us do and feel and what it allows us to become.

Thanks go out once again to NetGalley for the review copy. Abandon Me is to be released in February 2017 by Bloomsbury Books.