A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • A Good Morning America Recommended Book • A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Bustle Most Anticipated Book of the Month
"A pathbreaking feminist manifesto, impossible to put down or dismiss. Gina Frangello tells the morally complex story of her adulterous relationship with a lover and her shortcomings as a mother, and in doing so, highlights the forces that shaped, silenced, and shamed her: everyday misogyny, puritanical expectations regarding female sexuality and maternal sacrifice, and male oppression." —Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game
Gina Frangello spent her early adulthood trying to outrun a youth marked by poverty and violence. Now a long-married wife and devoted mother, the better life she carefully built is emotionally upended by the death of her closest friend. Soon, awakened to fault lines in her troubled marriage, Frangello is caught up in a recklessly passionate affair, leading a double life while continuing to project the image of the perfect family. When her secrets are finally uncovered, both her home and her identity will implode, testing the limits of desire, responsibility, love, and forgiveness.
Blow Your House Down is a powerful testimony about the ways our culture seeks to cage women in traditional narratives of self-sacrifice and erasure. Frangello uses her personal story to examine the place of women in contemporary society: the violence they experience, the rage they suppress, the ways their bodies often reveal what they cannot say aloud, and finally, what it means to transgress "being good" in order to reclaim your own life.
In this searing memoir, novelist Frangello (Every Kind of Wanting) charts the spectacular highs and devastating lows of her midlife with extraordinary candor. Frangello was married for years to her husband, a reliable but quick-tempered man with whom she shared three kids, when she fell "madly in love" and began an affair with a married writer. Frangello celebrated rediscovering her sexuality, but things took a devastating turn after her daughters read her text messages and discovered she was cheating on her husband. Feeling like a "monster," she confessed to her husband. The marriage quickly disintegrated, and seven months after their separation, Frangello was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then the divorce turned ugly; Frangello's husband, she writes, "turned off all the utilities in the home I lived in with our three children" and "drained our joint bank account to zero" shortly after she began chemotherapy. Meanwhile, she was taking care of her aging parents as they deteriorated and eventually died. Frangello describes this bold and tumultuous period of her life in intimate and remarkable detail, and despite the tumult celebrates her own resilience. This unapologetic account both moves and fascinates.