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Book Public: 'Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story' by Leslie Jamison

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Leslie Jamison
Grace Ann Leadbeater
Leslie Jamison

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story is a memoir by Leslie Jamison. The enigmatic title is actually more straightforward than not when you consider the subjects she covers in this latest book, including the difficult break-up of a marriage, an emergency sort of breaking open when she gives birth to her daughter, the feeling of being split into various roles as a single mother who must feed and clean and care for her baby daughter. Her own parents’ divorce gives a shape to her understanding of life at this stage of her life.

In her short 12-word poem, “So Not To Be Mottled,” Bernice Zamora proclaims: “My divisions are infinite.”

That is, that to be splintered into numberless slivers and shards is still—to be.

Leslie Jamison knows something of this as we see in her latest book, Splinters.

How is one wholly present as a mother during a divorce?

How is one wholly present at their job during a time of motherhood?

How is one wholly present in the explosive and exciting possibility of new love and romance while haunted by all the other losses?

Leslie Jamison shares a powerful story about experiencing the breakdown of a marriage as a new mother while still being a professor and writer, a recovering alcoholic who has also struggled with an eating disorder.

And one phase of this survival also includes COVID 19’s descent on our world.

Through it all, Jamison wonders, “Would every moment of our happiness carry grief in its veins?” Is her life only about feeling broken, broken open, bereft, haunted by what was or can never be? “Perhaps,” she says, “being haunted was its own uncanny abundance.”

Yvette Benavides can be reached at bookpublic@tpr.org.