Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive

A Daughter's Memoir

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
At nineteen Trethewey's world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma. Here she explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. Moving through her mother's history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a 'child of miscegenation' in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780062248572
Characteristics: 211 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 10, 2021

Trethewey's elegiac memoir has garnered lots of well-deserved recognition. Her writing is subdued, painfully reflective of a childhood that became unsettled with her mother's remarriage to a cruel and violent man. The low level of continual anguish becomes a scream of regret and loss when she eventually, twenty years after the fact, is given the police files and reports on the case. Particularly horrifying are lengthy transcripts of telephone calls between Gwen, the author's mother, and her now estranged husband. The conversations read like a macabre negotiation concerning why Gwen shouldn't be murdered, with her ex insisting that she only has two options: come back to him, or die. Gwen had recorded these excruciating calls to give evidence to the police, where she obviously didn't find the protection she sought.

#MemorialDrive is a powerhouse of a memoir and will linger long in your thoughts. Thanks to #NetGalley and @eccobooks for providing an advance reader copy for my opinions.

Feb 25, 2021

Very quick read. It was very poetic. Sometimes it was too poetic and had me feeling lost. I felt like it took a while for the story to build up to the main part of the book. The story was super chilling. I love how she wrote the part about how her mother was killed as the phone call between her mother and her stepfather.

Feb 10, 2021

I think my predominant emotion was anger that the author's mom put her in this position. It is terrible that the mom, Gwen, was murdered and that murder could have been prevented. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking that was.

SPOILER ALERT: based on the taped conversation, Joel was married with a son when he became involved with Gwen. She never should have given him the time of day. In the aftermath of the murder, there is no discussion as to what becomes of the author's brother Joey. There is no mention of how they navigated their relationship or even if they maintained one. The book was well written but I did not particularly enjoy it.

LCPL_Cathy Jan 18, 2021

This is a moving memoir by a daughter in search of healing after her mother was murdered. Natasha Trethewey is a former Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Her skill at crafting words comes across in this beautiful but haunting memoir. It is sometimes hard to read because you find yourself wanting to protect both Natasha and her mother and desperately wanting a different outcome. I have a feeling that this is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend.

JCLSarahZ Dec 09, 2020

I felt that the writing of this memoir was a necessary and cathartic experience for the author.

CRRL_MaryB Dec 03, 2020

Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
Trethewey, former US Poet Laureate, expresses her grief, loss, and guilt over her mother’s murder in this searing memoir.

Nov 16, 2020

Emotionally tough read but very important subject. Flows really nicely. Finished in a few days.

Sep 27, 2020

Former US poet laureate Natasha Trethewey's moving memoir about her mother's murder at the hands of her former stepfather and her life up that point. It is a treatise on trauma and its effect on a family and the spirit and an account of domestic abuse and what is hidden. As a poet, she is capable of creating indelible images with her words at times. Here she is describing playing back her mother's voice on the answering machine after the murder: "The length of tape that held her voice had been as tenuous as the faith that held Orpheus and Eurydice together as he tried to lead her out of the underworld. In my impatience, I had severed it."

debwalker Sep 22, 2020

When your mother was murdered....

Sep 18, 2020

What a great read but sad story!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at HCL

To Top