Guest Post by Taylor Franson
Jenny Catlin’s [pictured] essay, “A Place I Didn’t Try to Die in Los Angeles,” touches on themes of shame, women’s lack of power, and personal agency. Throughout the piece are moments of dry humor, contrasted with surprising moments of tenderness. Catlin’s prose is both incredibly poignant and incredibly scathing. Her ability to create stark and bold images, while commenting on societal issues is phenomenal. You cheer for her, as she decides not to die, and moan as she makes other choices detrimental to her life. You cannot help but cry with her as she cries in “the Nut” (the now-closed seedy Nutel Motel), and understand what she means when she writes, “There is a kind of alone that only exists in cities as big as Los Angeles.” The piece is infused with emotion and power. Catlin’s diction carries the essay and sets the tone for the entirety of the piece as they expertly balance harsh realities with the inner turmoil that follows. Many women who have felt powerless and forced into difficult choices will not only relate to Catlin’s essay but may see a direct reflection of themselves here as well.
“A Place I Didn’t Try to Die in Los Angeles” by Jenny Catlin. The Gettysburg Review,
Reviewer bio: Taylor Franson Thiel is a creative writing graduate student at Utah State University. She wrote this review because she had to for a class, but she means every word. She can be found on Twitter @TaylorFranson