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Vertigo: A Memoir, Vol. 1 written by Louise DeSalvo


Vertigo: A Memoir, Vol. 1 written by Louise DeSalvo


In her no-holds-barred family memoir, controversial scholar-critic Louise DeSalvo breaks the traditional silence around life for an Italian American girl coming of age in working-class Hoboken, New Jersey. Upon first publication, DeSalvo’s memoir–which sifts through painful memories of childhood incest, a sister’s suicide, a mother’s psychotic depression, and a father’s violent rage–enjoyed wide acclaim as an instant classic of the genre, written in "one of the most refreshing feminist voices around."—San Francisco Chronicle

Marketing Plans:
East Coast readings Extensively promoted with new anthology Taste This: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Identity

Louise DeSalvo is professor of English at Hunter College. She has published thirteen books, including the acclaimed Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work.


Grippingabout how 'a working-class Italian American girl' became a critic and writer.—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

DeSalvo (Conceived with Malice) frankly, and wisely, states that her memories of how she grew from a working-class, Italian American child in Hoboken to become a Virginia Woolf scholar may not be accurate because memory cannot always be trusted. This account, with its emphasis on her early years, is the way it seems to her to have been. Her happiest time, she claims, was during WWII, when the world as she saw it was composed only of women and children (she was only three at the war's end). Then the men returned and life became grim. Later her mother became depressed and was institutionalized, her sister committed suicide, she herself was sexually abused by a female family member. Books and the public library were her refuge. In hindsight she finds parallels between her life and Virginia Woolf's that might escape a casual reader. She also sees them in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, which she saw 11 times in one week when she was 15. A more exuberant period came in suburban Ridgefield, N.J., during what she calls her boy crazy period: "I have, in quick succession, `dated' the entire starting line up of my high school's basketball team... many of its football players, all the baseball infielders, and a few wrestlers." DeSalvo clearly has a sense of humor, and although her success in lifeshe repeatedly stresses the problems of being Italian, working class and a "girl"may not be as unique as she seems to think, her clarity of insight and expression makes this an impressive achievement. (Aug.)

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Title: Vertigo: A Memoir, Vol. 1

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