Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Meghan Review: An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris by: Stephanie LaCava

This unique memoir goes chronologically through Stephanie LaCava's childhood in Paris by moving, in a scrapbook-like fashion, through different objects she loved. As a young American girl, feeling awkward and out-of-place, LaCava found comfort in the unique objects she discovered while living abroad. She uses these objects as a method for coping with her increased anxiety and depression, and ultimately discovers that by using creativity to find the wonder in these items, she is also able to find wonder in a uncertain future.

This is definitely the most unique memoir I've ever read, full of illustrations of LaCava's found objects. At first, I though LaCava had done the illustrating herself, but small print on the title page explains that illustrations were done by Matthew Nelson. They are intricate and artistic, often suggesting the feel of an object, rather than just an accurate, more clinical drawing.

In addition to these illustrations, LaCava included copious historical footnotes about each object. Designated by an asterisk, these footnotes expand on the background of each object. From the origination of mummy powder to the short biographical notes about people such as the decorator Madeleine Castaing, these notes were by far my favorite part of the memoir. Quirky, interesting, and appropriately brief, they really worked to enrich my understanding of the significance each object had to LaCava. Though the footnote format may be distracting to some initially, I encourage readers to persevere! Similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by: Mark Haddox or House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, the footnotes are as much a part of the story as the text itself!

Though I would have liked to have a longer memoir from LaCava, with more details on her life and relationships, this collection (almost like a collection of short stories) stands strong on its own, flaunting its unique, ephemeral style.

Recommended to: people who want a little Parisian flair, fans of graphic novels or comics, history buffs, anyone who needs a quick and read on a flight to somewhere new.

Release Date: December 4, 2012  Pages: 224 Format: Hardcover
Source: TLC Book Tours Publisher: Harper Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

1 comment:

  1. I'm really intrigued by the excessive footnotes ... I think Stephanie and I would get along just fine. :)

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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