Monday, 5 September 2016

Tesserae [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers
Author: Mathias B. Freese
Publisher: Wheatmark
Published Date: 15th February 2016
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to the author for the review copy*


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Synopsis: "Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers stands above much of the crowd in its commitment to ask, 'What is it to remember?' Mathias B. Freese, tenderly plaiting a web that spreads from Woodstock, Las Vegas, Long Island, and North Carolina, locates friends and family, lovers long since gone, desire and passion sometimes quenched sometimes unrequited, and the harrowing agony that comes from that most soul-crushing word of all, regret. But Tesserae is not a work of sadness and grief. Rather, it is an effort from a trained psychotherapist adept at understanding the feelings that we all have. The quiescence found has a staying effect upon the mind; this memoir lingers in the reader's memory for some time." -- Steven Berndt, Professor of American Literature, College of Southern Nevada

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Review: Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers was a book I went into a bit blind. I was curious to see how the author was going to deal with these really difficult and heavy themes of heart break and regret, and when it comes to reflecting on memories. It was going to be an interesting memoir which more so focused on one main character and dealt with the main conflicts that happened to them in their life. Therefore, I think I could only recommend this to character driven readers and not plot based ones. But this was still a pretty decent read.


I liked when we got to see the interview between the protagonist of the novel and his therapist. We basically are present throughout their session and it was interesting to see how that went down. We get one at the beginning of the book, and one towards the end where we can see how much progress he has made. I also especially liked that after the interview we got the analysis of the session from the therapist. I don’t know much about the professional personally so seeing how it worked out and what the therapist managed to pick up in the conversation and his actions really did intrigue me. It was all new, but pretty cool.

As for the memoir itself, I found that it was intriguing, but at the same time a little repetitive. It was interesting in that I have never read from a more honest narrator. He shows the best and the worst of himself, and believe me when I say the worst of him is pretty bad. But he tells it with unabashed honesty so that the reader can make up their own mind of his actions. You can clearly see how he deeply he expresses his feelings of regret, and the author has mastered communicating that to the reader. The narrator sometimes even lets another voice take over the memoir in order to not be biased in the retelling of events.


Another thing about this memoir that made me so interested was that I have never read a book which went into the detail behind an unhealthy affair so much. We could see his reasons for doing it, and how skewed they were, yet as a reader we had the understanding that the main character couldn’t see it. I’m sure we’ve all been in similar situations ourselves, and the author managed to portray that difficult perfectly. I also was informed on the situation in Woodstock in the past. I’ve never looked into that history before, so that was all new and unfamiliar to me. I always love learning new things, and even though I don’t agree with the lifestyle that was pursued back then around there, it was so cool to discover it.

The only downside was that at times this book feels repetitive. It’s quite a few pages long and it’s about these two main situations – the affair and Woodstock. Maybe not so much with the latter scenario, but after hearing about the affair for a while I was tired of it being brought back up continuously. It was a significant moment in the protagonist’s life, and while I could understand, it didn’t change my thoughts on me wanting a bit less of it.


A smooth, blatantly truthful read.

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Gif Summary: 


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New Video! My August book haul


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you think you could tell someone your darkest secrets and your motives without being a little bit biased?


Olivia-Savannah x

11 comments:

  1. My eternal conundrum about reading a memoir is always about how much I want to know about the person narrating their story. There is such a thing about too much information but at the same time, one should always be ready for it. You can't decide to only read the good parts once you're in the thick of it.

    P.S.

    I need to read more Dessen!

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    1. That is probably the biggest debate of them all. It's true that it's a commitment and once you've started you can't simply skip over what you don't want to read. Oh, and you should definitely try Just Listen!

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  2. I don't read much of memoirs but the fact that this memoir also looks into Woodstock is interesting. I know very little about that point in history and time.

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    1. I didn't until I read this book myself as well, so it was good to be enlightened in such a way.

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  3. This sounds really interesting! I don't know if it's my kind of book though, since I'm not into memoirs, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! It's shame it was a bit repetitive, but the author sounds very original and honest :)

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. It was a very original book and I liked the unique aspect of it. But if you're not one for memoirs, then I suppose this isn't for you...

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  4. By 'lifestyle' around Woodstock, I assume you mean the sex & drugs & rock n roll? ;)

    Also, I love that picture - you honestly look like you're hiding behind the book like 'no-one can see me here!' XD

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    1. Haha yes, pretty much xD Maybe if I hide behind all my books I can just read and won't need to do any schoolwork whatsoever xD

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  5. Sucks about the repetition but everything else sounds good.

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    1. Other than the repetition this one was pretty enlightening!

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