October 18, 2020

#BookReview: Poetic License by @ge_cherington @shewritespress






Synopsis: At age forty, with two growing children and a new consulting company she’d recently founded, Gretchen Cherington, daughter of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Richard Eberhart, faced a dilemma: Should she protect her parents’ well-crafted family myths while continuing to silence her own voice? Or was it time to challenge those myths and speak her truth—even the unbearable truth that her generous and kind father had sexually violated her?

In this powerful memoir, aided by her father’s extensive archives at Dartmouth College and interviews with some of her father’s best friends, Cherington candidly and courageously retraces her past to make sense of her father and herself. From the women’s movement of the ’60s and the back-to-the-land movement of the ’70s to Cherington’s consulting work through three decades with powerful executives to her eventual decision to speak publicly in the formative months of #MeToo, Poetic License is one woman’s story of speaking truth in a world where, too often, men still call the shots.
 



Goodreads
Amazon

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Review: 
Poetic License was a good, if somewhat pretentious, memoir of childhood neglect in one of its most subtle forms, life growing up surrounded by poetry and literature, and sexual assault.  It was slow to read due to its much more literary nature, so it was an unusual memoir for me in that respect as I can ordinarily blitz through them in a day or two. I almost wasn’t sure if I liked it, but ultimately the author’s ability to candidly share her coming to terms with everything that happened in her childhood, from being put up on a strange pedestal when all she wanted was the love and attention any child wants to coping with sexual abuse and unwanted attentions from the most inappropriate of people, that ultimately swayed me to enjoying it in the end.





Review

"Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Eberhart was a close friend of many years, a beloved colleague. I loved his genial personality and admired his unique poetic gift. He was a generous man but, as his daughter shows, a difficult and complex person as well. This is a vivid memoir, flaws and all, and Gretchen Eberhart Cherington has crafted a narrative worth reading closely."
--Jay Parini, poet, novelist, critic, and author of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year

"A timely and powerful debut. . . . Cherington writes about her past fluidly and with grace . . ."
--Paperback Paris

"In writing her memoir, Gretchen Cherington has stepped out of the long shadow cast by her late father, revered poet Richard Eberhart, and into the brilliant light of her personal truth. In riveting and honest prose, she invites us to look beyond her seemingly gilded childhood and adolescence to glimpse the realities that defined her family and the painful secret that shaped her way of living in the world. By sorting through the complex remnants of her father's life and revisiting her own memories, Cherington loosens the binds of the past and releases her own courageous and powerful voice."
--Melanie Brooks, author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma

"Poetic License is a great achievement that will move powerfully into the world. This is a riveting portrait, in elegant prose, of a once adoring daughter able to reflect as a mature woman, how she searched for her own truth, and freed herself from her father's dominating presence."
--Elizabeth Garber, poet and memoirist, author of Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect's Daughter

"Gretchen Cherington has written a courageous and enlightened memoir of the lifelong impact of sexual molestation. Cherington dives deep into the murky legacy of her father's life to understand what love between a father and daughter should be, how that ideal could be spoiled, and what she had lost. This well-articulated journey gives us the tools we need to take command of our own lives and move into the person we want to become."
--Laura Waterman, author of Losing the Garden: The Story of a Marriage

"At its core, this powerful memoir covers Cherington's decades-long search for truth and the shaping of her authentic self. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always clear, empathetic, and entertaining, Cherington writes about coming to terms with trauma brought on by a celebrity father with deep flaws. All of this comes with intimate glimpses into the psyches of celebrated poets, including T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, Donald Hall, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton. A great read! I was enraptured."
--Ernest Hebert, author of thirteen books including the seven novels of the Darby Chronicles and the award-winning historical novel, The Old American

"Poetic License is a beautifully written, even-handed account of a woman's struggle to balance genuine family love, troubling family secrets, and a devastating personal betrayal. Gretchen Cherington's story is shocking and powerful, yet she has the rare gift of entertaining the reader even as she reveals her troubled childhood and comes to understand the complexity of personal experience as it resonates for a lifetime."
--Reeve Lindbergh, author of Two Lives and Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age-And Other Unexpected Adventures

"I feel personally grateful to Gretchen Cherington for her compelling and courageous account of growing up as the daughter of a charismatic celebrity. She describes in her father the kind of narcissistic self-preoccupation and work-obsession that are hallmarks of genius in every field of endeavor. Her story offers a much needed correction of the popular belief that a public image is an accurate reflection of what a person is like in his or her most intimate relationships. The account of her personal survival will touch all who read it."
--Sue Erikson Bloland, psychotherapist, author of In The Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson

"Poetic License is in a class of its own--both a literary memoir and a call to action for women claiming their truth. Cherington boldly asks what every leader should ask: "how did the world shape me?" and "how will I shape the world?" From her childhood among literary greats to advising top executives on changing themselves and their companies, we see that to empower women, we can't silence their voices."
--Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 bestselling author of TriggersMojo, and What Got You Here Won't Get You There; two-time Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the world 

"Written in lush and vivid prose, Poetic License is both a literary history and a compelling memoir of family betrayal and personal healing. Growing up among a who's who of literary lions, Gretchen Cherington finds her own triumphant voice with her memoir, drawing readers in as she solves a riveting personal mystery."
--Andrea Jarrell, author of I'm the One Who Got Away: A Memoir

"Cherington's powerfully rendered memoir confronts an overlooked truth, that the transition from a childhood marked by betrayal, to one's true self can be lengthy and fraught. Ultimately uplifting and remarkably authentic, Poetic License offers an inspiring and engaging story of the author's passage from the shadows of silence and misguided familial loyalty to healing and resounding female empowerment."
--Joni B. Cole, author of Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better & Be Happier

Review

“Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Richard Eberhart was a close friend of many years, a beloved colleague. I loved his genial personality and admired his unique poetic gift. He was a generous man but, as his daughter shows, a difficult and complex person as well. This is a vivid memoir, flaws and all, and Gretchen Eberhart Cherington has crafted a narrative worth reading closely.”
―Jay Parini, poet, novelist, critic, and author of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy’s Last Year 

“A timely and powerful debut. . . . Cherington writes about her past fluidly and with grace . . .”
Paperback Paris

“In writing her memoir, Gretchen Cherington has stepped out of the long shadow cast by her late father, revered poet Richard Eberhart, and into the brilliant light of her personal truth. In riveting and honest prose, she invites us to look beyond her seemingly gilded childhood and adolescence to glimpse the realities that defined her family and the painful secret that shaped her way of living in the world. By sorting through the complex remnants of her father's life and revisiting her own memories, Cherington loosens the binds of the past and releases her own courageous and powerful voice.”
―Melanie Brooks, author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma

Poetic License is a great achievement that will move powerfully into the world. This is a riveting portrait, in elegant prose, of a once adoring daughter able to reflect as a mature woman, how she searched for her own truth, and freed herself from her father’s dominating presence.”
―Elizabeth Garber, poet and memoirist, author of Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter

“Gretchen Cherington has written a courageous and enlightened memoir of the lifelong impact of sexual molestation. Cherington dives deep into the murky legacy of her father's life to understand what love between a father and daughter should be, how that ideal could be spoiled, and what she had lost. This well-articulated journey gives us the tools we need to take command of our own lives and move into the person we want to become.”
―Laura Waterman, author of Losing the Garden: The Story of a Marriage

“At its core, this powerful memoir covers Cherington’s decades-long search for truth and the shaping of her authentic self. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always clear, empathetic, and entertaining, Cherington writes about coming to terms with trauma brought on by a celebrity father with deep flaws. All of this comes with intimate glimpses into the psyches of celebrated poets, including T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, Donald Hall, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton. A great read! I was enraptured.”
―Ernest Hebert, author of thirteen books including the seven novels of the Darby Chronicles and the award-winning historical novel, The Old American

Poetic License is a beautifully written, even-handed account of a woman’s struggle to balance genuine family love, troubling family secrets, and a devastating personal betrayal. Gretchen Cherington’s story is shocking and powerful, yet she has the rare gift of entertaining the reader even as she reveals her troubled childhood and comes to understand the complexity of personal experience as it resonates for a lifetime.”
―Reeve Lindbergh, author of Two Lives and Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age-And Other Unexpected Adventures

“I feel personally grateful to Gretchen Cherington for her compelling and courageous account of growing up as the daughter of a charismatic celebrity. She describes in her father the kind of narcissistic self-preoccupation and work-obsession that are hallmarks of genius in every field of endeavor. Her story offers a much needed correction of the popular belief that a public image is an accurate reflection of what a person is like in his or her most intimate relationships. The account of her personal survival will touch all who read it.”
―Sue Erikson Bloland, psychotherapist, author of In The Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson

Poetic License is in a class of its own―both a literary memoir and a call to action for women claiming their truth. Cherington boldly asks what every leader should ask: “how did the world shape me?” and “how will I shape the world?” From her childhood among literary greats to advising top executives on changing themselves and their companies, we see that to empower women, we can’t silence their voices.”
―Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 bestselling author of TriggersMojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There; two-time Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the world

“Written in lush and vivid prose, Poetic License is both a literary history and a compelling memoir of family betrayal and personal healing. Growing up among a who’s who of literary lions, Gretchen Cherington finds her own triumphant voice with her memoir, drawing readers in as she solves a riveting personal mystery.”
―Andrea Jarrell, author of I’m the One Who Got Away: A Memoir

“Cherington’s powerfully rendered memoir confronts an overlooked truth, that the transition from a childhood marked by betrayal, to one’s true self can be lengthy and fraught. Ultimately uplifting and remarkably authentic, Poetic License offers an inspiring and engaging story of the author’s passage from the shadows of silence and misguided familial loyalty to healing and resounding female empowerment.”
―Joni B. Cole, author of Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better & Be Happier









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