Book Review :: Animal, Roadkill, Ashes, Gone by Emily Pittinos
Guest Post by Alice Verlezza
In her heartfelt memoir of four chapbook essays, Animal, Roadkill, Ashes, Gone, Emily Pittinos animates familial memories and the personal process of grief. This collection pays tribute, not only to the memory of our passed loved ones, but to the exponential growth of their children in their absence. As we learn the details of her ancestral losses, the narrator weaves in and out of time and space. Through the iterative process of processing her father’s unexpected death we “[become] squires of each other’s grief.” Pittinos’s familiar trauma is rendered stark and bare in this “summary of his body.”
Our relatable Gen-X protagonist, a wry wit demonstrating vulnerable frankness, reminds us that, “We’ll live in cardboard boxes until we die poor and alone” in the inevitably “promise-less future.” Pittinos’s voice powerfully echoes generational attitudes of frustration and hopelessness without getting bogged down. “Nothing will ever be the same,” and we are “always preparing for the worst,” but these essays gracefully illuminate that “the mind abuses its license to change.” In the face of trauma and loss, the mind finds a way to connect back to its natural state, one of peace, gratitude, and remembrance.
Animal, Roadkill, Ashes, Gone by Emily Pittinos. Bull City Press, November 2022.
Reviewer bio: Alice Verlezza, educator, writer, and mother of two was raised in Rhode Island. An MS graduate of Queens University in Sociology, Alice continues her scholarly work earning an English Masters at Bridgewater State University where she researches gender identity and mental health in narrative.