Articles by Jessica Freeman-Slade

April 30, 2013

Ivy League from the Outside: Andre Aciman’s Harvard Square 1

It’s interesting that so few narratives about Harvard have ever been told from the non-elite, unassimilated experience. Such a void is, finally and wonderfully, filled by Andre Aciman’s brilliant new novel.

April 12, 2013

Alienation for Two: Fiona Maazel’s Woke Up Lonely 0

As I lost myself in Maazel’s gorgeous, dryly comic prose, it made me wonder about all the great love songs of the past: do we not write songs about the ones that come easy? Or do we hope that in capturing loneliness, as Maazel does so very well, we can better understand it, face it, and appreciate its possibilities?

March 7, 2013

Like a Woman Scorned: On James Lasdun’s Give Me Everything You Have 34

In order to paint Nasreen as a mad woman with a powerful grudge, Lasdun takes an unnecessarily dry and impersonal tone, using supplementary texts on the nature of obsession to further his case. As he goes into his analysis, painting Nasreen as a stalker and himself as a heroic naïf, the more he starts to sound like Humbert Humbert, more complicit than innocent, more culpable than defensible.

December 26, 2012

In A Far Off Land: Emma Donoghue’s Astray 2

Donoghue throws the windows of the world open in fourteen stories of wanderlust, exploration, and possibilities promised by new and unknown lands.

November 26, 2012

The Mad Girls Next Door: Mary Stewart Atwell’s Wild Girls 0

It’s hard to resist a story of girls gone bad.

September 13, 2012

At Sea in the Deserts of Letdown: On Davy Rothbart’s My Heart is an Idiot 2

But the laziness with which Rothbart’s hookups and hangouts are depicted, highlighting major moments of failure without meditating on their significance, indicates a troubling trend in young memoirs. It takes more than experience to make a narrative voice, and not every failure or triumph should be destined for memoirization.

March 23, 2012

The Story of Us, A People in Exile: On The New American Haggadah 1

Contrasting voices bring out the multitudes of questions and quandaries inherent in the Passover story, and by secularizing the commentary, giving it over to political, liturgical, literary, and elementary analysis, they have made this into a vitally relevant piece of philosophical inquiry.

January 26, 2012

So, Nu?: Shalom Auslander’s Hope: A Tragedy 3

And therein lies the brilliance of Auslander’s novel: Hope: A Tragedy is about the fact that you can’t escape your own legacy, no matter how great your desire for a better world.

July 13, 2011

To Jobs that Pay the Rent: Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar 1

What we do with our time is an essential expression of who we are and who we hope to be. The multitudes of working life are beautifully chronicled in this anthology of short stories edited by Richard Ford.

May 19, 2011

Working the Wound: Meghan O’Rourke’s The Long Goodbye 1

I read this book in batches, putting it out of my reach until I could bring myself to pick it up again. I ran scared from this book, not because I didn’t think it would be worth reading, but because when I read it, I unraveled.