You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘Playing House’ by Lauren Slater

“I sometimes feel like flinching from the self portrayed in these pages,” writes Lauren Slater in the introduction to her new book, “a self as selfish as she is honest.” This admission is astute — throughout these 18 essays, most of which map the difficult territory of family, sex, and aging, Slater’s voice is aggressively, even unsettlingly, candid. While her honesty is perfect in some moments, in others it’s masochistic or cruel. She is not at all times likable.

And yet Slater’s attempt to make a family in spite of her own painful past, abusive mother, and fractured childhood seems downright heroic — a painful quest against long odds to avoid her own mother’s bitter madness, to replace violence with tenderness.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week