Journey With My Selves a Memoir 1909 1963

Journey With My Selves: A Memoir, 1909 1963 - Dorothy Livesay One of the reasons that I so enjoyed this autobiography was Livesay's passion for words. From novels, she learned that "[t:]he social frustrations women faced in the nineteenth century were no less galling than the social freedoms of the twentieth; in neither case could a woman be wholly a human being."

She felt that her father "was unusually sensitive to this problem. Perhaps it was because of his gentle mother, artist aunt and artist sister that he looked upon gifted women in the same way that a Frenchman does: not as rivals to be secretly resented but as phenomena to be appreciated." (91)

She was very close to her father but even more fascinating are her essays about coming to terms with her relationship with her mother, who had very revolutionary ideas as well, pursuing a journalism career and adjusting her traditional marriage vows.

These early influences are discussed at length in Journey with My Selves and it's easy to see how growing up in Clarkson took Dorothy Livesay in some unexpected directions. She was, from an early age, aware of injustices and her intelligence and curiosity ensured that her experience of the world enlarged and broadened as the years passed, so that she was often -- seemingly continually -- challenging social mores.

It is interesting how frankly she discusses some subjects (e.g. her love life, losses, guilt) and the segments about her friendship with Gina are most compelling because they are written in the second person, as though addressing her directly, which makes them very powerful reading indeed.

It's a slim memoir but it feels very intimate, so I am left feeling as though I have a better understanding of her than I would have had with a traditional biography of the same length.