You can ask that a book tell you a compelling story, that it dazzle you with vivid writing, that its emotional content be pure and stirring, that the issues it tackles be timely, relevant, and put forth with candour and a tonic dose of humour. Paradise, Piece by Piece is such a book.
Molly Peacock is an award-winning writer, and Paradise, Piece by Piece describes the coming of age of a poet and the flowering of her art. It is a self-portrait that speaks to the most intimate questions a woman can ask of herself and answers them with courageous introspection. It is the story of a child who had to grow up too soon; of the complicated web of relationships in which she, like all of us, defines herself – loyal friends, quirky relations, and tempestuous lovers; of the lifelong labour of self-determination, and finding ultimate fulfilment.
Peacock’s language is emotionally charged, full of wit and dead-on accuracy. Her skill with narrative and character, her ability to write a vibrant scene, make her memoir as compelling as good fiction. Paradise, Piece by Piece is a virtuoso performance.
This witty, involving memoir by award-winning poet Peacock (Original Love) tells the story of her decision not to have children, a choice first contemplated at the age of three when her sister, Gail, was born. A native of upstate New York, Peacock recounts her coming of age and the quasi-maternal role she had to assume with her alcoholic father and flower-child sister while her spunky mother, Polly, shouldered the family's finances by buying and running a small store. Describing her education as a poet, Peacock interweaves epiphanies about motherhood into the details of her life, including a college roommate's abortion, her satisfaction as a public school writing teacher and her decade-long relationship with a domineering, if occasionally charming, Hungarian dance-troupe director with whom she became pregnant accidentally in her late 30s. Peacock had an abortion and a tubal ligation before her lover abandoned her, leaving her feeling bereft yet free to resume a liaison with her first boyfriend, now a Joyce scholar in Canada, whom she then married. Peacock, president emerita of the Poetry Society of America, writes vividly, sensitively, poetically, recreating her life as artist and woman. Author tour.