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Check It Out: Dog Flowers: A Memoir by Danielle Geller

This is Michael Maxwell with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending Dog Flowers: A Memoir by Danielle Geller- a book that makes you feel like you’re cleaning out your attic and finding treasures you have long forgotten and other things you hoped you’d never see again.

In Dog Flowers, Danielle Geller is notified that her mother has died. She’s also notified that her mother did not have a home when she passed away- she was living on couches or the street. The brutality of this information sends Geller on a spiraling trip down memory lane- forcing her to reckon with her past and her family.

Danielle’s mother, father and sister all struggle with substance abuse and mental illness- and oftentimes their problems become Danielle’s. Whether it was her father getting lost on his way to stay with her, or her sister appearing at her door promising to stay sober this time, Danielle constantly faced tough decisions. What is so striking is that she still faced these decisions with love.

Dog Flowers is not your typical memoir. Geller includes family photos, handwritten notes and other ephemera she discovered while searching through her deceased mother’s belongings. Through these photos and the writing, readers get a true picture of what this family was actually like. The word I would use to describe this book is “sticky”; the people in Geller’s life will irritate you, but you can’t quite wash them off of you once you start reading.

This is a great book for readers who enjoy stories about dysfunctional families, coming-of-age, and dealing with the odd situations that life throws at us. Geller renders her family so vividly that you’ll feel like you’re commiserating with a friend while you read. This book feels like a difficult, but necessary conversation, and I recommend it to any readers who may be going through hard times themselves.

Check out Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller at the Sioux City Public Library today!

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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