Tesserae [Book Review]

Tesserae [Book Review]
Hello there!
Title: Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers
Author: Mathias B. Freese
Publisher: Wheatmark
Published Date: 15th February 2016
Rating: 3 Stars
*Thanks to the author for the review copy*
Synopsis: “Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers stands
above much of the crowd in its commitment to ask, ‘What is it to remember?’
Mathias B. Freese, tenderly plaiting a web that spreads from Woodstock, Las
Vegas, Long Island, and North Carolina, locates friends and family, lovers long
since gone, desire and passion sometimes quenched sometimes unrequited, and the
harrowing agony that comes from that most soul-crushing word of all, regret.
But Tesserae is not a work of sadness and grief. Rather, it is an effort from a
trained psychotherapist adept at understanding the feelings that we all have.
The quiescence found has a staying effect upon the mind; this memoir lingers in
the reader’s memory for some time.” — Steven Berndt, Professor of
American Literature, College of Southern Nevada
Review: Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers was a
book I went into a bit blind. I was curious to see how the author was going to
deal with these really difficult and heavy themes of heart break and regret,
and when it comes to reflecting on memories. It was going to be an interesting memoir which more so focused on one main character and dealt with the main
conflicts that happened to them in their life. Therefore, I think I could only
recommend this to character driven readers and not plot based ones. But
this was still a pretty decent read.
I liked when we got to see the interview between the
protagonist of the novel and his therapist. We basically are present throughout
their session and it was interesting to see how that went down. We get one at
the beginning of the book, and one towards the end where we can see how much progress
he has made. I also especially liked that after the interview we got the
analysis of the session from the therapist. I don’t know much about the
professional personally so seeing how it worked out and what the therapist
managed to pick up in the conversation and his actions really did intrigue me.
It was all new, but pretty cool.
As for the memoir itself, I found that it was intriguing,
but at the same time a little repetitive. It was interesting in that I have
never read from a more honest narrator. He shows the best and the worst of
himself, and believe me when I say the worst of him is pretty bad. But he tells
it with unabashed honesty so that the reader can make up their own mind of his
actions. You can clearly see how he deeply he expresses his feelings of regret,
and the author has mastered communicating that to the reader. The narrator
sometimes even lets another voice take over the memoir in order to not be
biased in the retelling of events.
Another thing about this memoir that made me so interested
was that I have never read a book which went into the detail behind an
unhealthy affair so much. We could see his reasons for doing it, and how skewed
they were, yet as a reader we had the understanding that the main character
couldn’t see it. I’m sure we’ve all been in similar situations ourselves, and
the author managed to portray that difficult perfectly. I also was informed on
the situation in Woodstock in the past. I’ve never looked into that history
before, so that was all new and unfamiliar to me. I always love learning new
things, and even though I don’t agree with the lifestyle that was pursued back
then around there, it was so cool to discover it.
The only downside was that at times this book feels
repetitive. It’s quite a few pages long and it’s about these two main
situations – the affair and Woodstock. Maybe not so much with the latter
scenario, but after hearing about the affair for a while I was tired of it
being brought back up continuously. It was a significant moment in the protagonist’s
life, and while I could understand, it didn’t change my thoughts on me wanting
a bit less of it.
A smooth, blatantly truthful read.
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Olivia’s Question: Do you think you could tell someone
your darkest secrets and your motives without being a little bit biased?

Olivia-Savannah x

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