Dani Shapiro Slow Motion: A True Story

ISBN 13: 9780679456315

Slow Motion: A True Story

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9780679456315: Slow Motion: A True Story
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From one of the most gifted writers of her  generation comes the harrowing and exqui-sitely written true story of how a family tragedy saved her life. Dani Shapiro was a young girl from a deeply religious home who became the girlfriend of a famous and flamboyant married attorney--her best friend's stepfather. The moment Lenny Klein entered her life, everything changed: she dropped out of college, began to drink heavily, and became estranged from her family and friends. But then the  phone call came. There had been an accident on a snowy road near her family's home in New Jersey, and both her parents lay hospitalized in critical condition. This haunting memoir traces her journey back into the world she had left behind. At a time when she was barely able to take care of herself, she was faced with the terrifying task of taking care of two people who needed her desperately.
            Dani Shapiro charts a riveting emotional course as she retraces her isolated, overprotected Orthodox Jewish childhood in an anti-Semitic suburb, and draws the connections between that childhood and her inevitable rebellion and self-destructiveness. She tells of a life nearly ruined by the gift of  beauty, and then saved by the worst thing imaginable. This is a beautiful and unforgettable memoir of a life utterly transformed by tragedy.

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Review:

Dani Shapiro was rescued by tragedy. At the age of 23 she is a wreck. A Sarah Lawrence college dropout, she is living as the mistress--one of many, she would later find out--of her best friend's stepfather, Lenny, a high-profile New York City lawyer. It is the height of the excessive '80s, and Lenny goes to extravagant lengths to keep his woman--putting her up in a large downtown apartment, draping her in furs and flashy gems, and spiriting her away by Concorde to Paris for weekend flings. When she isn't with Lenny, Shapiro leisurely courts an acting and modeling career and actively pursues her drug dealer, who delivers cocaine to her door. She is at an expensive spa in California--at a far remove from the middle-class, orthodox Jewish home in which she was raised--when, one snowy night, her parents' car careens into a highway median. When she returns to New Jersey, to her parents' hospital bedsides, she begins the journey to discover and mine her inner strength. She succeeds, and though the process is as arduous as it is painful, Shapiro finds within herself the power to nurse her mother through nearly 100 broken bones, to survive her father's death, and to reset the course of her life. Slow Motion ends where its subject's troubles began: with Shapiro, newly single, re-enrolling as an undergrad at Sarah Lawrence.

Shapiro, who is the author of three previous novels, writes sparely and lacks the excessive self-consciousness that plagues some memoirs. She develops her story carefully, drawing readers ever closer into her most intimate thoughts and fears. This honest, and sometimes brutal account of loss and recovery is an inspiration.

From the Back Cover:


"A superb book by a true storyteller that reads like a novel. Dani Shapiro has told the touching, powerful story of her funny and tragic Jewish family, and her own climb from lost girl-woman to writer, with grace, dignity and humility. It's the kind of book that makes you want to hug your loved ones today, right now, while you still can."
--James McBride, author of The Color of Water
"Slow Motion is a story about how a person finds herself--that is, uncovers both the best and worst parts of her heart--in the pain, urgency, and needs of her own family's history. Gripping, impressive, and heartrending from first page to last, Slow Motion is now among the modern memoirs I treasure most, and I have no doubt that I will be recommending it as required powerful reading for years to come."
--Mikal Gilmore

"Slow Motion is a remarkable rite-of-passage story that is narrated with a heartbreaking candor. This outstanding book is plotted like a novel, and achieves the elegance and grace of poetry. Its painful honesty resonates long after the last page."
--Caryl Phillips

"I was dazzled and moved by Dani Shapiro's memoir. It has the page-turning suspense of a spy thriller, but in this case the writer is spying on her former self, and bringing the Cold War of suburban families to life on the page with an audacious honesty that makes us both squirm and laugh. . . . Beautifully written, intellectually aware, absorbing, and a delight to read."
--Phillip Lopate

"Dani Shapiro has put the heartbreaking facts of her life under a microscope and discovered, shining through misery, a larger truth. Her story is provocative, tender, funny, and horrible, and she offers it boldly in this luminous memoir, written with cinematic urgency and narrative grace."
--Julie Salamon

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