The Ambivalent Memoirist traces my search for home through writing, teaching, yoga, and exploring my family history. I grapple with the issues inherent in writing memoir, such as privacy, painful memories, feelings of family members; I try to figure out what kind of writer I am. Ultimately, this book is about my search for a way to live simply in spite of a complex legacy.
Hurtes offers up a scathingly honest memoir full of compassion and wit that infuses ordinary events with intimacy and intensity. A divorce and overbearing parents complicate Hurtes's attempts to reinvent herself in Brooklyn Heights. Teaching college English courses and preparing her first essay collection, she must address her own pain and doubts, as well as her parents' experiences during the Holocaust. Hurtes makes her raw, intimate struggles relevant to anyone who has loved, lost, and grappled with indecision and missed chances. Writing as art and psychological salvation is at the heart of this book, taking "readers deep below the surface" of words toward personal vindication.