From a bestselling memoirist, a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity, complex sexuality, and enduring family relationships
At age 36, while serving on a jury, author Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew. Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler, Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it, but something inside her had changed irrevocably. Instead, she would discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we’d like to believe.
Like many of us, Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves: we’re “born this way.” Suddenly she realized that her story was more complicated. Who was she, she wondered, if something at her very core could change so radically? The Fixed Stars is a taut, electrifying memoir exploring timely and timeless questions about desire, identity, and the limits and possibilities of family. In honest and searing prose, Wizenberg forges a new path: through the murk of separation and divorce, coming out to family and friends, learning to co-parent a young child, and realizing a new vision of love. The result is a frank and moving story about letting go of rigid definitions and ideals that no longer fit, and learning instead who we really are.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Molly Wizenberg’s previous two memoirs chronicled her creative partnership with her restaurateur husband and the opening of the couple’s popular Seattle pizzeria, Delancey. The Fixed Stars presents us with a third-act twist. While on jury duty, Wizenberg meets a female attorney who catches her eye. The truth is she can’t stop thinking about this woman—and her newfound desire competes with the guilt she feels toward her husband and young daughter. Wizenberg’s writing is so eloquent and emotionally raw that her sexual discovery seems both ordinary and immensely powerful. Drawing on her reexamination of the past and honest, often difficult conversations with loved ones, The Fixed Stars is a beautiful story about the pleasures and perils of redefining yourself.
In this intimate memoir, Wizenberg (A Homemade Life) shares the story of her changing sexual orientation, the dissolution of her marriage, and the challenges of coming out to her friends and family. While serving on a jury as a 36-year-old married mother of a toddler, Wizenberg became captivated by a female attorney she met. Soon after the trial, she shared her newfound feelings and confusion with her chef and restaurant owner husband, Brandon, who responded with a mix of kindness and fear. Just as "astronomers know that every star is in motion and that each moves along its own trajectory, according to its own properties," Wizenberg writes, she realized she needed to let go of rigid definitions about identity and face the challenges of navigating the complexities of love. Throughout, she integrates observations from well-known researchers, in particular the work of Lisa Diamond, who found that the norm among women "was not stability in sexual attraction and identity but change." Wizenberg writes with a remarkable openness about being true to herself and to others, and gives those looking to understand the complicated issue of sexuality a compassionate example of the many forms that love takes. This honest and moving memoir will enlighten and educate those seeking to understand their true selves.