The Fixed Stars

The Fixed Stars➩ The Fixed Stars Ebook ➯ Author Molly Wizenberg – From a bestselling memoirist a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity complex sexuality and enduring family relationships   At age 36 while serving on a jury author Molly Wizenberg fou From a bestselling memoirist a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity complex sexuality and enduring family relationships   At age while serving on a jury author Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it but something inside her had changed irredeemably Instead she would The Fixed PDF \ discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we’d like to believe   Like many of us Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves we’re “born this way” Suddenly she realized that her story was complicated Who was she she wondered if something at her very core could change so radically The Fixed Stars is a taut electrifying memoir exploring timely and timeless uestions about desire identity and the limits and possibilities of family In honest and searing prose Wizenberg forges a new path through the murk of separation and divorce coming out to family and friends learning to co parent a young child and realizing a new vision of love The result is a frank and moving story about letting go of rigid definitions and ideals that no longer fit and learning instead who we really are  . 25 stars There are two uestions I always consider first and foremost when reading memoir The first is whether the writer has enough distance from the thing they are writing about It is possible to write about a recent time in your life but it is extremely rare to do it well And when you do it well you have to make the recency of it work for you to make it visceral focused and fine tuned The second is whether the writer has enough to write about at all This is a trickier uestion because it may seem like a large event should be plenty But somehow the biggest things in life the things that are giant from your own perspective can feel boring on the page All of literature is marriage and breakups and motherhood It is not so easy to take something people have read thousands of times before and make it feel new and urgent and uniue Again it is possible to write about something small and specific but you have to open it up and make the reader feel it or see it in a way that feels newFor me this book fails on both counts Wizenberg feels far too close to everything that happened to have much perspective on it It feels like she is in the act of working through it and figuring it out therapy session than book It seems likely that she could write another memoir about the exact same series of events ten years from now and it would be an entirely different book and I suspect a better one Not every story no matter how deeply you feel it is ready to be a memoir Love is overwhelming Being a mother going through a divorce they are such big things But they can also be uite boring on the page They can feel lifeless without the right perspective and the right prose Memoir can be an act of emotional violence to other people in your life Good memoir about painful topics and difficult relationships reuires the ability to be as honest about the other people in your life as you are about yourself This book is not She is kind to her ex husband kind to her current partner and these relationships feel empty In contrast her first relationship with a woman is shown with much clarity and spark Which makes the other two only limp by comparison And because that relationship happens in tandem with her marriage and separation it is immediately uneven With her first girlfriend we get the best parts of the book We get details we get frustrations We follow Wizenberg as she charges into a new kind of sex and then when she has made only a little progress the story ends We get almost nothing about sexual exploration with her next partner and we have almost nothing about her sexual history with her husband We don't get enough context for the story there is no beginning and no end just this middle without introduction or resolution I am not the audience for this book I realized this after a while realized that part of why I had trouble connecting to it is that it is not for me Who is it for? Straight women and folks uestioning their sexuality I think It feels almost like an apology an explanation an attempt to lay out why she was once one of them and no longer is It spends an awful lot of time defining and explaining For much of the story she writes about ueer people as if we are another species tells stories of when and how she has seen us in the wild wants to lay out the boundaries of what we are Some of this is an attempt to explain herself to try to figure out why she did not see herself as one of us before That I can understand I was not the kind of ueer who knew it when I was 6 But there is still a remove that stays in place for the entire book where she does not ever see herself as joining a community as much as staking out some other territory altogether You would think that I a ueer woman who has also gone through a divorce from a man that led to me getting to explore my ueerness fully would find much to relate to here but instead I found almost nothing at all At the end of the day it does not matter to me if you have explained sexual fluidity as a thing that exists and has been documented It matters whether you have showed me how it feels and I never got to that pointThe style here is I admit not my preference It is loose and little of it is rooted in actual moments instead it is rooting around bigger vaguer feelings Wizenberg is working through these big difficult changes while also figuring out her own identity But the times when she stops her own story to uote someone else to summarize someone's research in sexuality or gender it doesn't lift the story Perhaps it is helpful to her to see herself clearly but it does not help the reader It is also troubling to have yet another book where a cis woman explains to us how her trans partner defines themself Similarly there are times when she explains to us how divorce generally penalizes women financially than men but her privilege means it wasn't like that for her etc As much as it may not sound like it here I like reading about ueer experiences that are different from mine I like exploring the breadth of our community and the way our other identities intersect with our ueerness But I never felt like I saw anything clearly in this book I did not understand Wizenberg any better when it was over And to be uite honest I'm not sure I would have finished it if I didn't already know who she was from reading her blog decades ago The ueer community has been hesitant to accept fluidity and a lack of labels it is not always willing to expand boundaries but this book doesn't do much to open up that conversation 45 stars rounded to 5 starsI rarely read memoirs but this one called to me The Fixed Stars is a very frank and absorbing account of Ms Wizenberg’s painful yet steadfast journey to find herself at the age of 37After ten years of marriage to her best friend and father Brandon of her only child June Molly is awakened by a very unexpected draw towards a lesbian attorney while serving jury duty Over the next year Molly and Brandon try valiantly to make things work within new parameters Unfortunately for Brandon he is at a disadvantage as Molly for the most part has put aside her dreams in order to help Brandon achieve his and is than ready to change course I was really impressed with Molly She puts her heart and soul sweat and tears into discovering who she is what her goals are and how to achieve them She takes Brandon to therapy and tries everything in her power to see if they can do this together and makes sure Brandon is as okay as possible throughout her trek to explore her own needs I especially liked how she made sure her small daughter understands the basics of what is happening and remains an essentially well adjusted kid Molly is willing to open herself up to many people during her journey and just lays it all out there How many of us can do that? She deeply researched her issues and includes many excellent references in a bibliography at the back of the bookMolly’s story is intimate brave and inspiring She is also an author by trade and her writing style is excellent Though it is nonfiction it reads easily as if it were a novel And for other avid readers similar to me who like to be educated while reading for pleasure there is opportunity to learn much about gender fluidity I highly recommend this memoir to all interested in reading about a fascinating journey in self discovery and also those who want to learn about gender identity Beautiful job Ms WizenbergI’d like to thank Net Galley Abrams Press and Ms Molly Wizenberg for an ARC of this book Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way You know how when someone you sort of know has a really unexpected breakup and you desperately want to ask them for all the details but that would be rude?This book is like if that person showed up on your doorstep with a LARGE bottle of whiskey and proceeded to tell you exactly what went down I’d have to do some serious math to remember when I started reading Orangette mollywizenberg’s blog but a dozen years? I definitely read her memoir A Homemade Life while living in Harlem 2009 as I have vivid memories of reading it in my corner laundromat and I remember reading an ARC of Delancey at Sit and Wonder the very month that I got married This preamble is just to say that I’ve been invested in her storytelling for a while I was so excited to read her latest memoir which is in broad strokes a departure from her previous works which centered around food That said Wizenberg is always circling the self family friends loved ones—everyone with whom you share a drink or meal Her voice is so warm that the reader always feels like a confidant Rather than provide much in the way of plot summary I’ll just say that at age 36 married for many years and a mother for several years Wizenberg found that her sexual orientation had shifted This awareness was the first of many shifts that lead to a thorough re evaluation of her history and what she thought of as her self When I first learned that Wizenberg had gone through this experience which I read about on her blog; I miss it still I thought to myself “Thank goodness Maggie Nelson wrote THE ARGONAUTS so that Molly could read it” And now I can say thank goodness Molly wrote THE FIXED STARS which is a rigorous and passionate investigation into the real marrow of how we know ourselves and how we weather the inevitable changes of our lives Changes in desire in identity in companionship needs small and expansive This book was an avid reminder to me that conversation is vital to the health of any relationship and that we don’t make mistakes as long as we are clear about our needs—even when we’re not entirely sure what they are The talking will help us get there together If you see me I’m sure we’ll be talking about this I got bored halfway through it but then it got really good By contrast with her other two memoirs especially A Homemade Life one of my favorite books this was an uncomfortable read For one thing it unpicks the fairy tale of what looked like a pretty ideal marriage and entrepreneurial partnership in Delancey In the summer of 2015 Wizenberg was summoned for jury duty and found herself fascinated by one of the defense attorneys a woman named Nora who wore a man’s suit and a butch haircut The author had always considered herself straight had never been attracted to a woman before but this crush wouldn’t go away She and her husband Brandon tried an open marriage so that she could date Nora and he could see other people too but it didn’t work out Brandon didn’t want her to fall in love with anyone else but that was just what was happeningWizenberg announced her coming out and her separation from Brandon on her blog so I was aware of all this for the last few years and via Instagram followed what came next So I knew that her new spouse is a non binary person named Ash Choi who was born female but had top surgery to remove their breasts At first I was assumed Nora was an alias for Ash but they are actually different characters After things broke down with Nora a mutual friend set her up with Ash The other source of discomfort for me here was the explicit descriptions of her lovemaking with Nora – her initiation into lesbian sex – though she draws a veil over this with AshI’m not sure if the intimate details were strictly necessary but I reminded myself that a memoir is a person’s impressions of what they’ve done and what has happened to them molded into a meaningful shape Wizenberg clearly felt a need to dig for the why of her transformation and her answers range from her early knowledge of homosexuality an uncle who died of AIDS to her frustrations about her life with Brandon theirs really was a happy enough marriage and a markedly amicable divorce but had its niggles like any partnershipI appreciated that ultimately Wizenberg leaves her experience unlabeled She acknowledges that hers is a messy story but an honest one While she entertains several possibilities – Was she a closeted lesbian all along? Or was she bisexual? Can sexual orientation change? – she finds out that sexual fluidity is common in women and that all ueer families are uniue An obvious comparison is with Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts which is a bit profound and original But the mourning for her marriage and the anguish over what she was doing to her daughter are strong elements alongside the examination of sexuality The overarching metaphor of star maps is effective and reminded me of Constellations by Sinéad GleesonThere were points in the narrative where I was afraid the author would resort to pat answers about what was ‘meant to be’ or to depicting villains versus heroic actions but instead she treats this all just as something that happened and that all involved coped with as best they could hopefully making something better in the end It’s sensitively told and while inevitably different from her other work and perhaps a bit troubling for some well worth reading for anyone who’s been surprised where life has ledOriginally published on my blog Bookish Beck I read this in a day I love a good memoir Molly writes so beautifully The Fixed Stars is about a woman struggling with her identity and sexual orientation She is married and has a child but realizes something in her has changed I found it hard to connect with the writing and it was a little boring at times I felt there were some unnecessary details about her marriage and the restaurant so I did skim towards the middle to the end of it I probably am not the target audience for this book 25 rating overallThank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced copy Really mixed feelings about this one I think part of the issue may be what another reviewer said when people write memoir it helps if they’re distanced enough from the time period they’re writing about to really be able to see it clearly and I kept finding that this wasn’t the case for Wizenberg I also frankly found a few things downright offensive and while it did seem like the author grows from there I was struck by the fact those offensive things were included at all and for all the things she did reflect and grow on I never was sure she’d really internalized it or connected personally to those things It’s one thing to discuss privilege and biases and another thing entirely if you fail to see your own bias in the process So perhaps I’ll dive right into what deeply bothered me Because I think this needs to be said she has some deeply screwy views at least until she meets her current partner about gender identity and frankly about lesbians in general I was screaming on the inside and ready to throw my Kindle when again and again she kept talking about women who “look like men” and was so obsessed with this gender binary and could make a remark or two about butch women but failed to honor that butch women are very much women unless they personally tell you otherwise and they’re not trying to look or be like men She talks about “ueering gender” yet can’t get past that binary And if that isn’t awful enough and the first half to two thirds if the book is heavy in this at one point someone else refers to her as a femme and she absolutely gets wildly offended So uh pot meet kettle If you’re so up in arms about being called femme maybe give some thought to your own judgements yeah? And while I was reading this as a femme and the ueerest kind of femme something I don’t think Molly Wizenberg remotely understands Femme lesbians “ueer gender” every bit as much as butch or androgynous lesbians do thank you very much I started feeling some femme invisibility rage And I still wonder why it is Molly was so deeply offended by being called a femme She never really explained and towards the end seemed to vaguely suggest a few things about her own gender identity but it seems to me she still hasn’t even begun to contend with that and so to bring these specific things up in the book at all kind of confuses me Hey Molly what’s so offensive about femmes? But oh wait she kind of tells us She talks about being TWENTY FOUR and meeting her first femme lesbian again I find it hilarious okay just offensive that she can be so pissed about someone else labeling her but freely labels every ueer woman she meets And how it had never occurred to her that lesbians could look like “the rest of us” Yikes already But oh it gets worse She literally compares it to a Martian landing It’s the absurd and astounding to her Wow I’m sorry maybe this is rude of me to say but I think I’m allowed when you attack MY identity and when you flipping write a book look you’re some kind of authority on the ueer experience but I am unsure I’ve ever wanted to slap an author And hey maybe I’d allow the shock and awe if she didn’t spend a lot of the early part of the book explaining how open her family is and discussing her gay uncle who died of AIDS and how deeply involved in AIDs work her family became after his passing She kind of pulls this whole “I have gay friends” thing So I just can’t grasp how she could be that flipping surprised about the wide variety of ueer people who exist And at 24? And it’s notable she never ever compares any variety of or specific gay men to being or looking like women Why is she so obsessed with doing so for ueer women? What really sucked was that the first 30% or so I was loving this book It really felt like a modern take on the coming out as at an older age narrative I’ve read other books probably than most about women who marry men and then discover they’re into other women Early into this book Molly writes so openly about desire of all kinds about growing up and crushes and sex and I totally loved it It was making me reflect on my own life even though my story is radically different and I knew at an extremely early age that I was a lesbian and have never wavered on that in fact my whole existence seems at odds with Molly is preaching here She was somewhat careful to not claim all women are sexually fluid But given all the ways she’d been judgmental and demeaning previously just ugh If I’m willing to read and learn from your story Molly I would love to meet you for coffee and tell you about my own experiences and identity Truly Because I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt So much of this is simply ignorance Which circles ya back around to my first sentence or two I wish she had taken time to grow and experience and learn before writing this What this starts off as is really promising But Molly has so much to learn And it’s cool and fine that she’s attracted to who she’s attracted to But maybe make some femme friends? I’m completely and totally serious on my own offer Because this book isn’t totally awful and I’m giving it 25 3ish stars because it did give me a lot to reflect on with regards to my own identity and my own experiences with gender and sexuality and sexual orientation It seems almost that in Molly’s fight to understand herself she tried too hard to simplify things and I really wondered if she ever did make ueer women friends beyond the people she’s dated I don’t think her experience is uite as universal as she maybe thinks or tried to make it be Though that isn’t to say that it’s uncommon either Mostly I couldn’t help but think the words “baby ueer” when I read much of this I’m not sure she was in the right space yet to write this book At least not this specific one Maybe there was a different way to write and keep it personal and tone down some of the judgements? Or pontifications about female sexuality in general? I don’t know Strong start The ending isn’t bad either and I do believe she learns a lot from her current partner but then why include all those problematic parts in the rest of the book?So I’m troubled and frustrated by parts of this Bummed out a bit too given the strong start and how much I genuinely did appreciate the early parts I don’t know that I can recommend this book to anyone I worry most of all about heterosexual people who read it Given the problematic parts and even just how much Molly has yet to learn and that by writing the book it gives the idea she’s of an authority than she is I also worry about other ueer women nonbinary and trans folks reading it and being hurt and offended as well When Molly Wizenberg was 36 she discovered something new about herself an intense undeniable desire to love and be loved by another woman after a lifetime of relationships with men Her marriage of almost ten years crumble as she explores this new discovery of who she really is I thought this was a very powerful memoir The writing was beautiful poignant easy to read and extremely thoughtful as she describes her relationships and family life With honesty candor and strength she gave it all in this beautifully intimate and revealing memoir I really enjoyed this The narration by Erin Malin was lovely and I enjoyed listening to her tell Wizenberg’s story

The Fixed Stars PDF/EPUB ´ The Fixed  PDF \
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • The Fixed Stars
  • Molly Wizenberg
  • English
  • 02 July 2016
  • 9781419742996