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Musical Chairs

A book by Jen Knox

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Although Knox doesn't hit the highest level, she shows a great deal of promise

  • Nov 1, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
This is a true story of a restless adolescent with an overwhelming desire to move and explore. In this sense, she is a great deal like her great-grandmother; another person that often felt the powerful call to go elsewhere. While life with her parents was strained and they divorced, there was no extreme hostility or abuse that led to her running away. Knox then wandered from job to job, working at everything from a stripper to cosmetology. She also was heavily engaged to the dubious mistress of alcohol, spending a great deal of time under the influence. In a family with a history of mental illness in the female line, Knox also suffers from acute panic attacks, although if this can be considered an expression of her mental illness, it is mild compared to the problems of her ancestors.
During her sojourn, Knox meets many people, some of which are helpful, others that only appear to be and some that are hostile. There are boyfriends, relationships and some good times, although her life is mostly just getting by in a world where her foundation is alcohol. Her parents are aware of what she is doing and where she is living, while they provide some aid; generally they keep their hands off her life. To some their lack of forceful intervention would appear to be parental irresponsibility, although to me it was clear that had they tried to be more controlling, Knox would have simply ran out of sight.
Knox is a good writer telling a good story, she shows a great deal of promise without reaching the high bar. If you take away the mental illness of her relatives, her story is similar to what could be told by many teenage girls, including some in my family. Rebellion against parents is a natural event and many run, but never far enough away from their parents so that they are out of sight. It is as if they keep them as a safety valve in case they manage to land in the really deep stink.

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May 02, 2011
Sounds like a very compelling read. Another book to add to my TBR list.
 
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More Musical Chairs reviews
review by . September 20, 2010
Musical Chairs is the gritty memoir of a smart young woman, Jen Knox, who fell into the life of a stripper. This is not polished writing, but it is what it tells—stripped down to the bone and honest. The author has not tried to present herself in the best light or to make excuses. She looks in the mirror long and hard. It may be that there is nothing very new here that we haven’t heard before. A girl grows up in a rather unorthodox family, deeply dysfunctional, ending with divorce. …
review by . October 07, 2010
Jen Knox has exposed herself in this powerful memoir. This is a book that every young woman who thinks she can just take over her life and run with it should read. It is a tribute to the author's great personal strength and that of her husband that she has overcome and become a writer of note.
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #70
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Wiki

Jen Knox is an exceptionally gifted storyteller, who can take the events of the past and craft them invariably into engaging and compelling narratives.


-Phillip Lopate, author of Notes on Sontag

With her unique voice, Jen tells the poignant, yet raw, story of her journey to adulthood, living on the streets as a runaway and her ultimate struggle to establish her own identity as a woman who truly values herself. This is one of those books that lingers long after the last page.


-Heather McIntosh, author of Small Animals First

Jen-s a runner, a runaway. Following in the footsteps of her great grandmother, Glory, who defiantly set out on her own near the same young age, and finding commonalities of mental illnesses among the women in her family, Jen must-ve realized her course was set out for her organically.


In the writing of Musical Chairs, a memoir blatant and unapologetic, Jen attempts to make sense of herself within the larger family history.  Yet, for all of the similarities Jen discovered between herself and Glory, there is at least one difference: Glory ran away from family, while Jen-s running brought the both of them back.


-Jennifer Lynne Roberts, playwright and writer, author of Beekeeper and Book of Taos

 


This true tale of grit, survival and eventual rebirth of the psyche is
engaging and inspirational, even to a small-town girl like me.

-Gretchen A. Phillips, Pearson Education

--This text refers to theKindle ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0984259422
ISBN-13: 978-0984259427
Author: Jen Knox
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press

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