The Ladies Gallery
A Memoir of Family Secrets
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
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Eleven years after her mother's death, Vilar awakens in a psychiatric hospital after her own suicide attempt and begins to face the devastating inheritance of abandonment and suicide passed down from her grandmother and mother. The familial pattern of self-destruction flings open the doors to her national inheritance and the search for identity. Alternating between Vilar's notes from the ward and the unraveling of her family's secrets, this lyrical and powerful memoir of three generations of Puerto Rican women is urgent, impassioned, and unforgettable.
The Women's Review of Books
Lolita Lebrón's granddaughter, heir to the most public female embodiment of heroic self-sacrifice in Puerto Rico in this century, has written a memoir full of searing, intimate truths, silences broken open to reveal the personal costs of public mythmaking . . .A momentous act of courage."
This memoir introduces us to a writer bound to make an impact . . . An autobiography as fantastic as any novel . . .It is a mark of Vilar's art that her story seems warm and alive."
St. Louis Post - Dispatch
Just as artist Frida Kahlo's splintered self-portraits and diaries personify Mexico's proud yet fragmented self-image, Vilar' s intimate accounts about herself and her family personalize Puerto Rico's political, social, and cultural wars for its identity."
Philadelphia Inquirer, Notable Book of the Year
Startling, raw, and affecting, a painful exercise in which memoir as therapy becomes memoir as art."
Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)
Stunning. A lyrical and visionary memoir of depression, Puerto Rican identity, and young womanhood."