Murdering The Mom: A Memoir



“You’re killing me, Duffy,” the mom always said. In his memoir, Murdering the Mom, award-winning novelist Duff Brenna elevates the obscene to the sublime. He takes all the materials of hardship and abuse during an unhappy childhood and sculpts it into art, into something transcendent. This is a heart-rending memoir that exceeds the expectations one normally has of a memoir, that is, it reads like a captivating novel.

“Brenna’s experience is all [t]here, in thorough, felt detail; in the embedded dialogue; in the scenes truer than memory or invention; in the visionary understanding of grotesque and sympathetic characters; in the complete, self-standing episodes, woven into the chronological flow. Anyone following the landmark achievements of literary memoir must learn from and celebrate this remarkable book.” –Dewitt Henry, American Book Review

“No one escapes this world unscathed, but in Brenna’s case it’s something of a miracle, given his upbringing, that this memoir wasn’t written from Death Row. With great skill, insight, wisdom, introspection, and above all a sense of humanity and forgiveness, a brilliant writer transcends the tragic and turns this powerful, raw, heartfelt story into the finest art.” –James Brown, author of This River and The Los Angeles Diaries

“Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of this remarkable memoir by award-winning novelist Duff Brenna is its humanity. The characters in this book–hell, its nonfiction, they’re not characters, they’re people!–do hateful, hurtful things to one another. They are lost in their needs, their aberrations, their dreams, their longing–too lost to take stock of the effect of their own behavior upon the people with whom they share their lives and who depend upon them, not least the children who are hostages to a kind of madness…He is not settling old scores–and god knows there were scores he might well have wanted to settle if he’d had a mind to. But no,  he is exploring–unsparingly, unflinchingly, but above all fairly, with balance and breathtaking honesty–the humanity of a group of people born into and continually creating a kind of hell in which they thrash around without a clue as to how to get out.” –Thomas E. Kennedy, author of In the Company of Angels and Falling Sideways.

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