Blow Your House Down

by Gina Frangello

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Book Reviews

  • This book asks its deepest questions through its mess and its contradictions, rather than through Carrie-Bradshaw-like platitudes; I'm so grateful for that, and for this writer.Link to Tweet

About Book

"Gina Frangello is a long-married fortysomething devoted mom when her life is turned upside down by the sudden death of her closest friend. Worn down from years of caregiving both her elderly parents and three kids, Gina starts to interrogate her own mortality and what she once longed for as a younger woman: a kind of sexual, romantic and artistic intensity radically at odds with her comfortable but emotionally stagnant marriage. Falling into a passionate affair with a writer/musician, Gina begins living a shocking double life while continuing to outwardly project the image of having a "perfect family." As her parallel worlds begin to dangerously intersect, she makes the risky choice to leave her marriage and security in order to take a chance at finally becoming fully herself, midlife. However, when only months into her separation, Gina is diagnosed with breast cancer, her father dies, her divorce grows increasingly contentious and menacing, and her lover falls into a deep clinical depression, an inevitable breaking point approaches, revealing the irrevocable stakes of giving up everything for love, as well as what it means to be a woman in the contemporary American landscape. Examining pivotal moments in a complex family system about to implode, Blow Your House Down is about what happens when a woman who has been very good at playing all the roles society expects of her suddenly refuses to continue being the person her family and friends think they know. In a note from the author to her writing group, she wrote: "If we are all supposed to write the book we most need to read, then this is the book I wish I had had in front of me during the years my marriage was falling apart, the years I gave everything in me to my ailing parents and young children and angry husband until there seemed nothing left, the years I began a wildly selfish and euphoric affair that seemed to save me, the years I decided to leave my marriage but leaving ended up looking nothing like escape and instead like the end of the world, and the years that I was sick and in pain and having body parts removed at the speed of light and not knowing whether illness would destroy any new beginning I had fought so hard to find. This is the book I was so hungrily looking for, with all its brutality and grief and guilt and desire but didn't find. I hold in my head a woman who needs this book to save her own life.""--

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