Review of Danielle Dayney’s memoir, When Love Sticks Around
Published: 15 November 2021
Publisher: Bell Isle Books
Memoirs, unlike fiction, have a definitive motive, a message and a point of view and often emphasises on the person’s uncommon grit and achievement. This is precisely where, Danielle Dayney’s candid memoir of a commoner (if I may use the term), starts on a note of honesty and freshness. It is neither celebratory nor dolorous and confessional. Dayney’s episodic retelling of the vignettes from her life starting from her childhood to her attaining motherhood is refreshingly honest and relatable. Recounted in an easy to read episodic style, her memoir from the dedication page unto the end captivates the reader’s interest with simple and dramatic, mundane and profound events that etches her journey of life, each with an implicit learning, both for her and for the reader.
Dayney’s memoir dedicated to the memory of her mother, clearly establishes her mother’s extraordinary resilience in the face of adversity and subtly explores a child’s altering moods and feelings towards her step father. Besides an uncanny insight into the mind and heart of Dayney in her formative years, the memoir offers such an insight into the living conditions in Toledo, Detroit and New York. Her ability to withhold judgement and retain a reporting style while engaging the reader with evocative imagery deserves commendation. Despite her humble origins there is no indulgence or glorification of poverty nor a burning desire to become a super achiever, impelled by these hardships. Her funny and sentimental experiences from breaking seashells to being fixated by the pink nail polish of her deceased grandmother, Dayney retains a balanced sense of humour. Her heartbreaking moments, particularly her mother’s cancer-stricken days like Dayney’s realisations regarding her biological father, resonates with the reader without rendering it dolorous.
I strongly recommend this short, refreshing and an extremely candid memoir for its honest insights into life’s moments and a commoner’s sincere attempts at navigating life’s oddities, relationships and marvels with integrity and the right balance of humour.
An added delight to reading Dayney’s memoir was my interaction with her on The Writer Talks!
- Asha G Kumar
21 November, 2021