Musical Chairs explores one family's history of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between a '90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs. In order to understand her restlessness, Jennifer reflects on years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement. Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jennifer struggles towards reconciliation. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.
Throughout the summer of 2003 I repeatedly underwent what psychologists have since diagnosed as post-traumatic stress and panic disorder. A spiritually-inclined friend refers to the same summer as my rebirthing period. Still others, who claim to have had similar experiences, tell me that such episodes were probably a warning, my body’s way of telling me to adopt healthier eating habits, exercise more or quit smoking. At the time, all I knew was that the onset was swift.
Review: Alvah’s Book Reviews (to read the entire review, click here).
“[Musical Chairs is] well-written, which means Jen Knox knows how to string words together into comprehensible sentences. And her ‘voice’ is honest, unapologetic and – vital! – likeable. In other words, she’s like the Apostle Peter in the Bible. She’s a weak, frail, vulnerable human being, who makes lots of mistakes. Which means – thank God – that she is human. Which means that despite all her flaws and failures, she is not a fraud or a charlatan. She’s not pretending to be someone who has their ‘shit’ together.
Jen and most of her family are gloriously dysfunctional – just like most families. And they have a tendency toward mental illness. And – shockingly – she talks about it. Which is what makes her story and her book so wonderful. It’s downright refreshing to read a book that acknowledges what most people know is true, but are afraid to confess: Most people are one brick short of a load. Which is what makes them and life so interesting.”
To watch the Musical Chairs Trailer, go to Knoxworx Multimedia.
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