An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story by Pamela Jane | A Review Hosted by WOW Blog Tours

Pamela Jane's An Incredible Talent for ExistingSynopsis

It is 1965, the era of love, light and revolution. While the romantic narrator imagines a bucolic future in an old country house with children running through the dappled sunlight, her husband plots to organize a revolution and fight a guerrilla war in the Catskills.

Their fantasies are on a collision course.

The clash of visions turns into an inner war of identities when the author embraces radical feminism; she and her husband are comrades in revolution but combatants in marriage; she is a woman warrior who spends her days sewing long silk dresses reminiscent of a Henry James novel. One half of her isn’t speaking to the other half.

And then, just when it seems that things cannot possibly get more explosive, her wilderness cabin burns down and Pamela finds herself left with only the clothes on her back.

From her vividly evoked existential childhood (“the only way I would know for sure that I existed was if others lots of others acknowledged it”) to writing her first children’s book on a sugar high during a glucose tolerance test, Pamela Jane takes the reader along on a highly entertaining personal, political, and psychological adventure.

Book Details

Paperback: 246 pages
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  Open Books Press (February 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1941799213
ISBN-13: 978-1941799215
Amazon Link

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author via WOW! Women on Writing in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.

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My Thoughts

As I began my reading of An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story by Pamela Jane, I noted the rapid pace it seemed the author used to tell her story. The longer I read the more weary I grew because of the quick-paced writing.

Yet, as I went further into Pamela’s story and reminisced about my coming-of-age in the 1960s, I began to see the reason and validity behind the pacing. The writing style is reflective of not only the time period and its unrest but also what it felt like to be living Pamela Jane’s life. Uncertain which way to turn. Invisible, ignored, invalid, unworthy and more. What a life for a young person! It was daunting and anxiety-filled.

Pamela Jane’s writing is honest and filled with the hurts from a family life which included a mentally ill mother and a distant father. She shares freely of her parents’ dysfunctional marriage and its impact on her. Like many of us from similar situations, Pamela loses herself in the world of books and reading.

As she comes into her own, Pamela shares her dreams and hopes as a women coming into her own even though her own life conflicts with these dreams and hopes.

Character and scene descriptions are rich with detail so real it palpates on the page. I could smell the smells, feel emotions, see what Pamela saw. This was a highly engaging story rich in imagery and words. As a child of the 1960s living in my own dysfunctional family, I related to Pamela Jane’s story on several levels.

As readers, we hold in our hands a gem, a well-written and powerful memoir rich in the use of words and detail. I highly recommend it.

Meet Pamela Jane

Author Pamela JanePamela Jane has published over twenty-five children’s books with Houghton Mifflin, Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, and Harper.  Her books include Noelle of the Nutcracker illustrated by Jan Brett, Little Goblins Ten illustrated by NY Times best-selling illustrator, Jane Manning, and Little Elfie One (Harper 2015). Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen’s Classic (Skyhorse) was featured in The Wall Street Journal, BBC America, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Sunday Book Review and The Daily Dot, and has just come out in paper. Pamela Jane has published short stories and essays with The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Antigonish Review, Literary Mama. Pamela Jane is a writer and editor for womensmemoirs.com.

Below are three clips of her work:

Literary Mama:
http://www.literarymama.com/creativenonfiction/archives/2015/10/the-ambivalent-agnostic-an-adoption-story.html

Womensmemoirs:
http://womensmemoirs.com/memoir-writing-prompts/5-tips-for-getting-your-memoir-published-in-2016/
http://womensmemoirs.com/memoir-writing/memoir-writers-take-note-help-i-cant-press-the-send-button/

Find Pamela Jane Online:

Websites:
http://www.memoircoaching.com
http://www.pamelajane.com (children’s books)
http://www.prideandprejudiceandkitties.com (humorous book)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pamela.jane1

Twitter:  @memoircoaching, @austencats

Book Trailer:

8 thoughts on “An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story by Pamela Jane | A Review Hosted by WOW Blog Tours

  1. Pamela says:

    Excellent, honest review, Sherrey. I found this thanks to Laurie Buchanan and her tweet! Ah, how we reach each other through the universe. I will definitely check out this memoir. Many of my creative writing students are hoping to write memoirs, and here’s another one for my arsenal of teaching tools.

    • Sherrey Meyer says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Pamela. And thanks to Laurie for her tweet! Hasn’t the Internet made it so easy to meet and greet and grow with new friends? You and your students will enjoy Pamela Jane’s memoir. It is not the easiest genre to write, I’m learning, but then the truth of the matter is real life isn’t easy either. Checked out your site and subscribed to your newsletter.

      • Pamela says:

        Thanks for coming by and visiting me at roughwighting. I’m sure this will be a mutually enjoyable association. 🙂
        And yes, how can a memoir be ‘easy,’ considering the puzzlement of life???

        • Sherrey Meyer says:

          Looking forward to getting to know you and growing in our writing lives together. Welcome to the newsletter–it’s a bit sporadic these days until I get my back in better shape.

  2. KathyPooler says:

    Sherrey, when a memoir author can evoke strong feelings and connect us with our own stories, we know it is a powerful memoir. Pamela Jane has done that in her new memoir and you have captured it very well in your review. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Crystal Otto says:

    Sherrey – thank you for your honest review. I’m glad you enjoyed Pamela Jane’s book and could relate with it.

    Hugs,
    ~Crystal

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