HELL IF WE DON’T CHANGE OUR WAYS – Brittany Means – Unlock Trauma’s Secrets

A gripping and emotionally powerful autobiography that should be enjoyed, appreciated, and revisited.

By Brittany Means ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023

Means’ childhood was a nomadic one, marked by trauma and instability. Despite this, she has a deep devotion to her mother, which is the focus of her memoir. She recounts her mother’s favorite songs, quirks, chain-smoking, and days full of sleep, as well as the deleterious effects of her family’s Pentecostal traditions. Means writes of her fear of going to hell, and of the barn her grandparents built to accommodate their hoarding. She also reflects on her half brother’s movement in and out of their lives. Her recollections of her youth are presented in a series of artful vignettes, which gradually reveal the tumultuous relationships, addictions, and abuse she experienced as a child. The physical, psychological, and spiritual blows she endured are difficult to read about, but her honest, graceful, and disarming reckoning with them is a powerful reflection on emerging from a nomadic youth into an adulthood of stability and tenderness. She writes of how, when one cannot tell their own account, it can become stuck inside them. Through her writing, Means brings hazy memories into focus, constructing a method of thinking about, owning, and releasing her past. This book is an outstanding debut that finds resolution while also leaving plenty of intriguing themes to explore in her future work.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
ISBN: 9798985282894

Page Count: 352
Publisher: Zibby Books

Review Posted Online: today
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023