Stealing: Life in America: A Collection of Essays (Paperback)

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KIRKUS REVIEW
Debut author Cacho-Negrete identifies the trends in American life that shaped her in this debut collection of personal essays.
"I remain an immigrant, poverty my country of origin." So writes Cacho-Negrete early in this volume. Raised by an immigrant Jewish mother in Brooklyn during the 1950s and '60s, the author was a self-described "street kid"-one of a large demographic of latchkey children without much supervision or access to opportunity-who transcended her lot in life via education and a little luck. In the first essay, "Stealing," the author recounts the two periods of her life when she routinely shoplifted goods from stores: as a street kid to help feed her impoverished family and again as a divorced mother of two who found herself struggling to stay afloat in her tony suburb. In "The Season of My Grandfather," she writes about her interactions with her mother's estranged father, whom she met as a girl, sent by her mother to pick up payments for an outstanding debt. Not every essay is so dire, however. "Hair" recounts Cacho-Negrete's struggle to accept her curly hair as a teenager when it did not conform with mainstream conceptions of beauty. "On the Fire Escape" describes how that particular architectural feature, so associated with New York, played a role at various points throughout the author's life. Cacho-Negrete writes with a sharp, confident prose that evokes her settings with hyperreal clarity: "We lived in tenements that leaned against each other for protection, their plastic-covered windows blind eyes in winter that popped open in spring to spy into each other's apartments. The hallways stunk from piss, pot, cheap perfume, cigarettes." The essays serve as a sort of fractured memoir, one that seeks to underline the iniquities inherent to the American experience. Even this political angle, however, is a piece of supporting information that adds to the autobiography. These are the foundational stories of Cacho-Negrete. They explain why she thinks the way she does. Whether or not the reader comes away thinking the same things, this brief residence in the author's head is illuminating.
A pointed, energetic collection of personal essays. (Kirkus Reviews)

"In this beautifully crafted, incisive collection, readers will admire Michelle Cacho Negrete's determination and fierce desire to transcend her early Brooklyn ghetto roots--particularly her sense of herself as a displaced outsider. What's also impressive about Stealing is not only how candid and open the author is, but how vividly she describes this complex human struggle." (Michael Steinberg -Author, Still Pitching)

"Michelle writes with grace and clear-eyed, unsentimental vision." Sy Safransky, Editor, Sun Magazine)

"Cacho-Negrete champions the poor, the marginalized...Throughout this profound, compelling collection, she preserves the vanishing past with a hard-hitting yet lush remembrance." (Lee Hope Betcher, Editor Solstice Literary Magazine)

"With crisp, confident prose, Michelle explores the intricacies of our world in essays simultaneously unique and universal. A book to be read many times." (Barry Lyga - Best Selling New York Times author)

"The America we face in these timely essays is often poor, frequently unjust, sometimes heartbreaking - and always illuminated by the author's fearless truths, keen insights, and fighting spirit." (Krista Bremer - prize winner lecturer and author of My Tender Struggle.)

"Here is the power of the written word: Alone in his room, the reader feels a strengthened connection to all of humanity." (Gin Mackey, Author)

"These stories grab hold and won't let you go. They will change you." (Anne B. Gass, lecturer, author - Voting Down The Rose)

"Although these are separate essays, they are linked by these consistent themes and form in themselves an engrossing and beautifully-written memoir." (Jenny Doughty -Maine Poet.

About the Author


Michelle Cacho-Negrete is an award-winning author who currently lives in Portland Maine with her husband Kevin Smith, a prominent scientist, editor and author. She was born in Brooklyn and many of her essays are about her childhood. Michelle's original degree was in clinical social work and she worked for many years with victims of domestic violence, helped establish a woman's shelter in New York, and co-facilitated a batterer education program for violent men on probation. Four of Michelle essays have been among the 100 most notable of the year and one essay won Best of Net. She is in five anthologies, including a Norton College anthology. UTNE called her essay about George Bush and the environment excellent writing. She is nonfiction co-editor for Solstice Literary Magazine. Stealing: Life in America is her first book.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780999516416
ISBN-10: 0999516418
Publisher: Adelaide Books
Publication Date: October 12th, 2017
Pages: 210
Language: English