The Mirror Book – Charlotte Grimshaw

READ FOR BOOKCLUB & NZ BOOK AWARDS

Chosen by Suzy

The memoirs of Charlotte Grimshaw, author and daughter of C K Stead

❝ I can’t lie – I initially wanted to read The Mirror Book for the goss factor, but this memoir is so much more. It’s a personal assessment and investigation into trauma and grief and is communicated with such clarity and insight I almost felt envious of the way the author had so comprehensively gotten her shit together. This book was shocking and a completely engaging read. – Suzy

❝ I find memoirs fascinating, I guess primarily for the nosey neighbour aspect. However, I do find that many memoirs are either written by ghost writers in a matter-of-fact way, or by the subject who may have an interesting story to tell but not the skill to proffer it in the most literary way. However, The Mirror Book was particularly appealing to me because it had all the scandal of a memoir, but also the lyrical prose of fabulous fiction, which is primarily what I read. The psychological and analytical nature of Grimshaw’s thoughts, and the references from her life that ended up in print in both her and her father’s works, are like the best fictional constructs yet really happened to this literary family. This was the perfect mix of fictional prowess and true life story for me. – Rachel

❝ Charlotte Grimshaw had a traumatic upbringing – exciting and stimulating from a reader’s point of view, though it did leave me a little stunned. The Mirror Book was shocking at times, exposing Grimshaw’s dysfunctional family in a way that was fascinating and a little provocative. I kept wondering, why did she write this? Learning it was a sort of cathartic therapeutic process as part of her healing made sense. I found the first section a little rambling and haphazard but overall found it hard to put down. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though it seems there is more to tell and I hope one day she writes a more in-depth account of her childhood. – Jo

❝ I found The Mirror Book a captivating read of a childhood quite unlike any I have known. Charlotte was brutal with her honest account of events, and though at times I felt like she was throwing her parents under the bus, I appreciated her bravery. It was a courageous memoir that was beautifully written by a talented writer. – Jodie

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Published 2021
Penguin Random House
320 pages

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