Name All the Animals: A Memoir

Name All the Animals: A Memoir
Author:
Pages:
352
Language
Published:
February 22nd 2005 by Scribner
ISBN10:
0743255232
Genre:
Goodreads Rating:
3.67
ISBN13:
9780743255233

An intensely stirring coming-of-age memoir by Alison Smith, Name All the Animals brilliantly explores the power and limitations of a family's faith. Smith was 15 when her older brother, Roy, was killed in a car accident, and her memoir follows her family as they attempt to put their lives back together. Her parents try to take comfort in their strong Catholic faith but are nonethe shattered. For her part, Smith wonders why God has abandoned her. She finds cold comfort in Catholic symbols and rituals, feeling a connection to Roy only when she enters the old fort they had built together. An engaging storyteller, Smith crafts her memoir to read like a novel, interspersing moving flashbacks of the times she spent with her brother with amusing portraits of the nuns at her parochial school, who sneak out of the infirmary to play cards and make autumnal visits to a secret swimming pool. As a child, Smith wonders why her father bes her and Roy every morning, touching a relic to their foreheads, mouths, and hands, mentioning each individual body part. "He's got to name us, like Adam named the animals," Roy explained. "To keep track of them." The near impossibility of "keeping track," and the changing nature of faith are just two of the poignant messages in this unforgettable debut.

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