Falling Up: A Memoir of Renewal

The memoir, Falling Up, is full of scrumptious moments even though “trauma and trouble always bubbled near the surface” in Louise Stanger’s life.

Stanger asserts she is a “nonlinear” thinker at the outset of the book and demonstrates exactly that in form and content.  Vivid vignettes of the author’s life as a therapist, a mother, a daughter, a resilient survivor of an addictive family, and a teacher seem to appear out of thin air.  But Stanger’s intimate and sudden portraits of daughters, mentors, friends, exes and addiction-ridden parents weave to form an intricate tapestry that is all too familiar.

Throughout the memoir, Stanger hopscotches through time, touching upon various phases of her life and relationships. She starts with her father’s death, which we quickly learn is a suicide.  A nanny helps a seven year-old Stanger make sense of the tragedy, while a particular playground stinker brings up some religious complications with her father’s flight to heaven. Stanger eventually learns that her family history of hopelessness and suicide spans at least two generations.

Falling Up uncovers how Stanger untethered herself from a tragic past and discovered her resiliency.   While the style is rich and the story is full of dysfunction, this book contains compassionate portrayals of characters and events.  It also offers a courageous and insightful take on addictions and codependency, nudging readers to take control of their own life story.

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