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Because: A Lyric Memoir


English | May 15, 2018 | ISBN: 0393635228 | EPUB | 144 Pages | 2.3 MB

Because is a narrative long poem that renders, in lines of raw power and beauty, an unflinching meditation on the vulnerabilities and dangers of childhood. At once generous, empathetic, and unsparing, Mensch's gripping account of his own experiences offers a complex and nuanced exploration of the ways human beings can damage one another and yet recover through forbearance, understanding and compassion.

The summer Joshua Mensch was ten years old, his parents sent him to an isolated youth wilderness camp in Nova Scotia. The camp was, in many ways, a shy, introverted boy's dream: long, unstructured days, endless free time, and very few rules. But the camp was also where Don, the camp's charming and enigmatic director, preyed upon the young boys in his care.

Because is Mensch's attempt to answer the many questions he's fielded over the years by creating a sense of what his experience was like. This beautifully written memoir's sustained attention to the living moment creates a believable portrayal of how such abuse can take hold, helping the reader to understand why-and how-Don's abuse happened the way it did, and why it continued for as long as it did.

Because unfolds through a series of precise, jewel-like scenes that render the shifting and uncertain landscapes of childhood memory with vividness and precision. Its swift, convincing music, propelled by the powerful litany of the word "because," builds a heartbreaking tale of genuine power whose characters are as complex and fully realized as those in a novel.

This devastating debut adds a compelling new voice to the conversation around sexual assault. Heartbreakingly clear-eyed in its account, Because bears witness to one boy's experience of an abuse that continued for years and reveals how the "truth" of one's past is always multifaceted and messy, and that nuance and ambiguity often lead to a better understanding of our stories.

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