Fugitives from a man as alluring as he is violent, Andrea Jarrell and her mother develop a powerful, unusual bond. Once grown, Jarrell thinks she’s put that chapter of her life behind her—until a woman she knows is murdered, and she suddenly sees that it’s her mother’s choices she’s been trying to escape all along. Without preaching or prescribing, I’m the One Who Got Away is a life-affirming story of having the courage to become both safe enough and vulnerable enough to love and be loved.
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I'm the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell is a 2017 She Writes Press publication.
Powerful, bold, and honest-
This memoir is like none other I have ever read. Andrea Jarrell grabbed my attention immediately by recounting her reaction to a neighbor’s murder, committed by the woman’s boyfriend. She may have seen a little of her own life reflected back at her, which prompted her to examine her own experiences with domestic violence, growing up with an abusive father.
As Andrea reflects on her childhood, her relationship with her mother, friendships, lovers, her own marriage and motherhood, she lays bare her soul, exposing her vulnerabilities, but most importantly, she rallies, showing her strength and determination to grab what she needs, and desires, without allowing those dark thoughts that dwell in the heart and mind to take control.
Andrea’s mother was really a victim of her time, meaning an era when expectations for women were far different than they are now. Her father was an actor, with a short run of success, an adulterer, who both physically abused her mother, and verbally abused Andrea.
Her upbringing was unconventional, nomadic, and turbulent, which of course had an impact on her emotional stability and maturity.
There are harrowing, raw and painful moments where the author exposes her most intimate fears and insecurities, but it is also quite an inspirational journey as well.
Andrea’s writing is fluid and vivid, often making me feel as though I was right there with her as she recalls these significant markers in her life. (Some of you may have read Andrea’s essay in the NYT times column- “Modern Love’, which led to this more complete memoir.)
With each phase of her life, Andrea has chosen to fight against personal demons to find contentment and peace, while also providing the secure home for her children she didn’t have. I think she manages to achieve the kind of family life she always hoped for by her determination to break chains, to keep history from repeating itself.
Overall, I am pleased with her outlook at this stage in her life, and the way she has reconciled with her past, and with the people who influenced her, supported her, and inspired her. She seems to have found the confidence and contentment that eluded her for so long and will step into the next phase of her life with grace, ready to embrace whatever comes next.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea Jarrell’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other popular and literary publications. She earned her BA in literature at Scripps College and her MFA in creative writing and literature at Bennington College. A Los Angeles native, she currently lives in suburban Washington, D.C.