Read An Abbreviated Life Online Free - A beautiful, startling, and candid memoir about growing up without boundaries, in which Ariel Leve recalls with candor and sensitivity the turbulent time she endured as the only child of an unstable poet for a mother and a beloved but largely absent father, and explores the consequences of a psychologically harrowing childhood as she seeks refuge from the past and recovers what was lost.
Ariel Leve grew up in Manhattan with an eccentric mother she describes as “a poet, an artist, a self-appointed troublemaker and attention seeker.” Leve learned to become her own parent, taking care of herself and her mother’s needs. There would be uncontrolled, impulsive rages followed with denial, disavowed responsibility, and then extreme outpourings of affection. How does a child learn to feel safe in this topsy-turvy world of conditional love?
Leve captures the chaos and lasting impact of a child’s life under siege and explores how the coping mechanisms she developed to survive later incapacitated her as an adult. There were material comforts, but no emotional safety, except for summer visits to her father’s home in South East Asia—an escape that was terminated after he attempted to gain custody. Following the death of a loving caretaker, a succession of replacements raised Leve—relationships which resulted in intense attachment and loss. It was not until decades later, when Leve moved to other side of the world, that she could begin to emancipate herself from the past. In a relationship with a man who has children, caring for them yields clarity of what was missing.
In telling her haunting story, Leve seeks to understand the effects of chronic psychological maltreatment on a child’s developing brain, and to discover how to build a life for herself that she never dreamed possible: An unabbreviated life.
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December 15, 2016
I wanted to make sure and rate this memoir before the year was over, because it's one of my favorite books of the year. Easily my favorite memoir/non-fiction of 2016.
This fascinating memoir is a "mommy dearest" type tale, written so beautifully that you sometimes forget how unsettling it...
June 05, 2017
“Imagine someone lies to you and about you. Imagine this person is your mother, whose job it is to provide safety, security, consistency, and love. ‘You’re my sunshine,’ she says. ‘The love of my life.’
But her love comes with conditions. You need to be able to give her what she needs first. You h...
August 16, 2016
How do you review a book that mirrors your soul? An Abbreviated Life stunned me over and over again, as Ariel Leve writes about growing up with a mother who abused her, a mother whose constant venom and lack of boundaries reminded me of my own. Leve's mother berated her nonstop and made her feel...
May 09, 2017
I want to give every memoir five stars. Writing a memoir is such a brave decision...making oneself vulnerable, opening up chapters of your life for all to see. I give nothing but love to the author, who shares her story of the deep psychological abuse she endured at the hands of her mentally unst...
June 20, 2016
"I am in hiding, an emotional fugitive."
I held my breath in sorrow for her, even what passes for normal when there isn't anything to measure your life against, Ariel knew her mother's behaviors were 'off'. Being a child and unable to have your own feelings...
February 06, 2017
At the age of 45, often from a country half way around the world, Ariel Leve tells the story of her psychological abuse at the hands of her mother while growing up at 180 E 79th Street in NYC, and a lifetime working to repair the damage.
Brain damage. That’s what Emily calls it. Emily is...
November 29, 2016
because bat shit crazy mother.
June 08, 2016
The writing is gorgeous, the story is real. Do not miss An Abbreviated Life by Ariel Leve.
This book is about survival and I hope it find its way into many many hands.
August 19, 2016
This is hard slog - not because of the content or subject - but the way it's written. I'm assuming it was structured to reflect memory, but the result was a very chop/change, inconsistent, paragraph to paragraph swing between the story/memories and her current feelings/in time.
Others here have w...
July 17, 2017
An Abbreviated Life is one of those rare books about which I'm not really going to be able to say much. This isn't due to any lack on the part of this memoir, but more that its contents hit so close to home that it feels so overwhelming and personal that it's difficult to write about.