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Review :: Splinters by Leslie Jamison

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In her latest memoir, Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story, Leslie Jamison tells the story of the dissolution of her marriage, a splintering that happened roughly a year after the birth of her daughter. That tension is the driving force in her work, as she tries to navigate being a single mother and a writer, while also dating.

Each of these aspects of who she is pulls on the other. She feels guilty when she undertakes part of a book tour without her daughter or even when she has left her daughter with a babysitter, so she can write. Her frustrations with her ex-husband often prevent her from seeing that he’s an important part of her (their, she reminds herself) daughter’s life. She dates men she knows aren’t a good fit, one of whom (she refers to him only as tumbleweed, an apt description) repeatedly tells her that he doesn’t want children, or even monogamy.

She never truly answers the questions she asks about how to manage her newly-fractured life, as she’s having to, as Rilke writes, live into those questions. However, she is asking the key question so many of us have, regardless of our parental or relationship status: how do I manage all that I love in my life?

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story by Leslie Jamison. Little, Brown and Company, February 2024.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite