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Blow Your House Down

A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason

List Price: $27.00

April 6, 2021 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 336 pages | ISBN 9781640093164
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“A pathbreaking feminist manifesto, impossible to put down or dismiss. Gina Frangello tells the morally complex story of her adulterous relationship with a lover and her shortcomings as a mother, and in doing so, highlights the forces that shaped, silenced, and shamed her: everyday misogyny, puritanical expectations regarding female sexuality and maternal sacrifice, and male oppression.” –Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game

Gina Frangello spent her early adulthood trying to outrun a youth marked by poverty and violence. Now a long-married wife and devoted mother, the better life she carefully built is emotionally upended by the death of her closest friend. Soon, awakened to fault lines in her troubled marriage, Frangello is caught up in a recklessly passionate affair, leading a double life while continuing to project the image of the perfect family. When her secrets are finally uncovered, both her home and her identity will implode, testing the limits of desire, responsibility, love, and forgiveness.

Blow Your House Down is a powerful testimony about the ways our culture seeks to cage women in traditional narratives of self-sacrifice and erasure. Frangello uses her personal story to examine the place of women in contemporary society: the violence they experience, the rage they suppress, the ways their bodies often reveal what they cannot say aloud, and finally, what it means to transgress “being good” in order to reclaim your own life.

About Gina Frangello

GINA FRANGELLO is the author of Every Kind of Wanting, A Life in Men, Slut Lullabies, and My Sister's Continent. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in Ploughshares, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, HuffPost, Fence, Five Chapters, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Reader, and many other publications. She lives with her family in the Chicago area.

A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of Next Year

"Compelling, honest, and thought-provoking, Gina Frangello's memoir is an inspired addition to her astounding body of work." —Charlize Theron

"In this searing memoir, novelist Frangello charts the spectacular highs and devastating lows of her midlife with extraordinary candor . . . Frangello describes this bold and tumultuous period of her life in intimate and remarkable detail, and despite the tumult celebrates her own resilience. This unapologetic account both moves and fascinates." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Gina Frangello can always make me think and laugh; she's also one of the very few authors who's made me cry. Blow Your House Down is searing, honest, heartbreaking, heart-mending, and a hell of a wild ride. Frangello says things women aren't allowed to say, even to ourselves." —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

"Gina Frangello's Blow Your House Down blazes open a radical new portrait of a woman's life with dazzling honesty and breathtaking beauty. Threading through the terrors of breast cancer and caretaking a dying father, navigating the end of a long-term marriage and the burst of new love, Blow Your House Down reveals the epic journey of one woman's life and body. This book is a heart beating, not beaten. This book is a mighty heartsong." —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge and The Chronology of Water

"In Blow Your House Down, Gina Frangello has created a form, a structure of her own out of necessity: the need to tell all the stories, especially the ones we feel cannot be told. In the process, she gives us a new language through which we might come to some sort of reckoning with ourselves. This book is an excavation of the deepest and most complex corridors of the heart." —David L. Ulin, author of The Lost Art of Reading

"Gina Frangello's Blow Your House Down is everything a memoir should be: fascinating, beautifully written, unwilling to turn away from terror and joy while also acknowledging how often they intersect and turn into one another. Frangello is a truth teller who refuses to cop to an easy happy ending, shining a light on the platitudes and false promises of our myopic understanding of what constitutes a 'good life.' Blow Your House Down redefines a genre that, in recent years, has become too synonymous with concepts like 'bravery' and 'inspiration'--but the act of writing in this nuanced, intelligent way doesn't make Frangello brave; it makes her an artist, one of our finest working today. This book burns down our old way of looking at the world's oldest genre and makes way for something bold and new." —Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World

"I don't know anyone who can write like Gina Frangello. I'm in awe." —Jennifer Pastiloff, author of On Being Human

"Truth is a scarce commodity in books about sex and marriage--I mean the real truth, the hard stuff. Blow Your House Down is a truth bomb. Writing with the immediacy of fiction and the acuity of criticism, Gina Frangello gives us her harrowing, luminous, and very real story of love, marriage, and aftermath. It's a huge act of generosity to write these intimate and risky things that make other women feel less alone. We are left stunned and consoled." —Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble

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