True Crimes by Kathryn Harrison

True Crimes

From acclaimed literary talent and New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Harrison comes a collection of provocative and illuminating essays. In True Crimes, conventional ideas of love, loss, forgiveness, and memory are transformed—complicated, upended, and reimagined by one of the foremost memoirists of our time. In essays written over the course of more than a decade, Kathryn Harrison has created a beautifully detailed and rigorously hone...

Details True Crimes

TitleTrue Crimes
Release DateApr 5th, 2016
PublisherRandom House
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Writing, Essays, Biography, Crime, True Crime

Reviews True Crimes

  • Kasa Cotugno
    This is the first book I've read by Kathryn Harrison, but it won't be the last. She tells her life story through a series of beautifully written essays, most of which have been previously published but are tweaked for inclusion in this volume. Each is a gem, an unapologetic, cleareyed assessment of her complicated relationships with her mother and grandmother, with their relationship with each other. That she infamously was abused by her father a...
  • Michelle
    The stunning confessional memoir that has become the trademark of bestselling NYT author Kathryn Harrison "True Crimes: A Family Album". These essays were previously published in a variety of journal and anthology collections. With detail and intensity Harrison highlights her own family history with comparisons to various literary genres associated with true crime, psychology, biography, health and wellness etc.In the opening essay, "Tale of Two ...
  • William Koon
    Kathryn Harrison writes confessional, exploitive essays. I was not familiar with the form, but apparently the more you tell the better. Her work starts out well enough with a discussion of an unwanted dog –and a wanted one. Much later she tells us why she wanted the outrageous Pug. I found this essay tender and to the core. What do you do with something you do not want but which means something to others. Our parents merely gave the offending b...
  • Judith
    This is a memoir from an author I have been reading with mixed results for ages. Some of her books I loved: "Exposure" & "The Kiss". Others were not to my tastes at all. I feel the same way about her husband, Colin Harrison's books. I mention this only because I am not sure if I would have liked this book more or less had I not known so much about her history, and had I not been reading her for so many years with such diverse outcome. In some way...
  • Marsmannix
    Warning this review may be offensive: I picked up this book thinking it was a True Crime book since it had been shelved in the 360's. Since I like essays, I started it, & had a deja vu: yes it is THAT Kathryn Harrison, the one who ****ed her Daddy, as related in her book The Kiss.Her first essay details how she abandoned the family dog, a black Lab she didn't like at an amusement park. She took off his collar and leash and walked away as her baff...
  • Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
    Thank you Netgalley! I was unsure of this one because it was sort of literary for me even though it's essays but I stuck with it and it was rewarding. Harrison writes just at the line of too fancy for me but she knows how to make a sentence an experience. I learned about her grandmother how she raised her and her mother how she gave her away and her father how he abused her and her issues with dogs. Honestly two essays made my eyes glaze over but...
  • Liz
    Kathryn Harrison's skillful writing voice pulled me into her essays from the first page. I was particularly drawn to the connections she made with four generations of women from her grandmother to her own third child, a girl who is now ten years old. I have a particular interest in how maternal connections are firmly bonded or tragically disconnected so these essays were particularly poignant. This book is a fine collection that turned into a rea...
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    Once again Kathryn Harrison has written an honest raw group of essays.She opens the door to her&their families most intimate moments the heartbreak over her beloved fatherin laws death .Her day to day life with her husband&children Her essay about her decision to bring her aging grandmother to live with them.For those who are aware of this author this is another book they will race through .For those new to Kathryn Harrison they will want to go b...
  • Erika
    It has been a very long time since I actually read this so I don't have all the snippets down that I wanted to put in this review. I can tell you that the word "stunning" ran through my mind the entire time I was reading. This was my first Kathryn Harrison and I'm zooming around right now looking for another one.
  • Randi
    One of the best books of personal essays since Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Harrison writes about her trip on a tour for Joan of Arc enthusiasts (funny), caring for an aging then dying parent, and a family dog she hated. Witty, accessible, intelligent, highly relatable.
  • ReadWithAndrea
    "No! Do not tell me you bought a dog without talking with me about it! And especially don't tell me you bought a completely objectionable not-even-a-dog kind of dog!" -Kathryn Harrison's husband in TRUE CRIMES: A Family Album. Ok, some of the "true crimes" are slightly more sinister than this dog caper implies; you'll quickly understand why the maestra of #memoir herself, Mary Karr, is such a believer in Harrison's writing.
  • Lotus Nox
    I really really wanted to enjoy this but unfortunately I could not get invested into this book past the first two essays. It is not at all what I expected, and even trying to read it and give it more of a chance it just was not my cup of tea.
  • Joan Colby
    . Astonishingly good essays written with honesty and emotion. The topics are the personal life of Harrison from her dislocated childhood, abandoned by her mother and raised by her eccentric grandmother, through adolescence , marriage and childbirth. I couldn’t stop reading.
  • Nikki
    I received this book free from Goodreads giveaways.This books a collections of essays the author wrote about her life. The essays are extremely well written. You relate so much to the author when you read the stories.
  • Karen C
    I read this book a few years ago, and remember enjoying it as I read it. But I don’t recall much about it. Would have been 4 stars if I could remember something
  • Paul
    Assorted essays, including thoughts on surviving sexual abuse by her father.
  • Janet
    I enjoyed the first few essays, but the book lost steam for me as it went on.
  • Kate
    I have very mixed feelings about this one. The writing itself teetered just along an edge--often times very vividly and beautifully stated, but occasionally unnecessarily convoluted. The essay topics were uneven as well. Some were fascinating and felt well-explored, others were decidedly less interesting and sometimes ended abruptly. I am similarly conflicted about the author. Others have described her writing as "unflinching" and "honest." I agr...
  • Jane
    I had never read Harrison before this collection of essays, though I had heard about her memoir The Kiss. I was caught up in her writing from the beginning. Though I love dogs and probably care more about their welfare than the average human’s welfare, I have to admire a writer who begins an essay collection with one about how she purposely lost her dog because she hated it. To admit to doing something which the average reader is going to despi...
  • Christine Zibas
    If the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" is true, so too can it be said that a reader shouldn't judge a book by its title. While there are many crimes committed in this family, only one of them would make news fodder, as alluded to in the title, and that one has been more thoroughly covered by Harrison in "The Kiss," a book that first drew the author literary attention.No, the crimes here are of a more psychic sort, including on the mo...
  • Robert Miller
    True to the title, the author offers a refractive glimpse into her life from childhood to the present. She writes mainly about how her father-in-law displaced her father and her gut-wrenching bereavement over his death, the tale of an unwanted dog, a mother's unrequited love, how her grandparents raised her, and her long emotional quest to discover why her mother did not love her back (setting aside her mother's teen pregnancy). She apparently ov...
  • Robin
    I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. Kathryn Harrison has woven together a collection of short stories that aren't necessarily in chronological order, however it is best to read them in the order presented in the book. She tells her story of growing up with her grandmother after her father and mother abandon her. I liked her writing style. She relates what she is experiencing with what came before. An example is when she has fe...
  • Lesley Potts
    This book made me feel uncomfortable. Like when a friend tells you something you really didn't need to know about something very personal. Like when you see things you can't unsee. Reading shouldn't always be about feeling good about what you read, but these essays contained too much information. It was like eavesdropping or snooping through someone's private stuff. The more I read, the more I disliked the author.
  • Gwen
    True Crimes: A Family Album was a different sort of book. All the stories had similar characters and could have been about the same family, yet there were different "facts" in each story that made it different enough that the family didn't seem the same. All the protagonists were women and all seemed for all intents and purposes to be only children. It is a somewhat haunting read. I did, however, enjoy reading it and recommend it to all.I receive...
  • Vincent Scarpa
    The opening essay, "A Tale of Two Dogs," is worth the price of admission. Also quite good are the title essay—the most Harrison refers to the incestuous relationship about which she wrote in THE KISS, a memoir I respect—and "The Forest of Memory." The last few essays tended toward the superfluous for me, but even then they're not unenjoyable to read. But that first essay. That's a fucking keeper. And I suspect will be anthologized in the futu...
  • Melody
    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinion is just that...mine...and completely unbiased.Most of us would not have the balls to put ourselves out there like Ms Harrison does. I was left hoping that her "voice" has allowed her to purge, what I would consider, some definitely unwanted baggage. Intensely honest, totally mesmerizing, and at times, deeply disturbing.
  • Carly
    3.5. I enjoy Harrison's writing for how unflinching it is. She is masterful at giving some of her more shocking material depth and, well, actual value, not just shock value. Favorites: "The Forest of Memory"; "By Angels' Speech and Tongue"; "Mini-Me"
  • Katie Bruell
    This book felt so very true. Couldn't read the title story, but I loved the rest.
  • Stephanie
    I really liked the essay on her dog--getting one she wanted, returning it for one she didn't, and all that ensued. A strong writer.