Burn Down the Ground by Kambri Crews
A Memoir

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Synopsis

In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile her present life—in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.

As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so she, too, could fully belong to the tight-knit Deaf community that embraced her parents. Her beautiful mother was a saint who would swiftly correct anyone’s notion that deaf equaled dumb. Her handsome father, on the other hand, was more likely to be found hanging out with the sinners. Strong, gregarious, and hardworking, he managed to turn a wild plot of land into a family homestead complete with running water and electricity. To Kambri, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis all rolled into one.

But if Kambri’s dad was Superman, then the hearing world was his kryptonite. The isolation that accompanied his deafness unlocked a fierce temper—a rage that a teenage Kambri witnessed when he attacked her mother, and that culminated fourteen years later in his conviction for another violent crime. 

With a smart mix of brutal honesty and blunt humor, Kambri Crews explores her complicated bond with her father—which begins with adoration, moves to fear, and finally arrives at understanding—as she tries to forge a new connection between them while he lives behind bars. Burn Down the Ground is a brilliant portrait of living in two worlds—one hearing, the other deaf; one under the laid-back Texas sun, the other within the energetic pulse of New York City; one mired in violence, the other rife with possibility—and heralds the arrival of a captivating new voice.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Kambri Crews

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Kambri Crews owns her own PR and production company specializing in comedy. A renowned storyteller and public speaker, she has appeared at the Moth, Upright Citizen's Brigade, and SXSW Interactive. She splits her time between Astoria, Queens, and Cochecton, New York, with her husband, comedian Christian Finnegan.
 
Published February 28, 2012 by Villard. 354 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Burn Down the Ground

Kirkus Reviews

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When Crews was 16, she witnessed “by far the most traumatic incident I had ever experienced in my life”: her father destroying the family home and brutalizing her mother.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Publishers Weekly

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In her intensely readable memoir, Crews, who owns a PR company in New York City, paints a vivid portrait of an impoverished childhood in rural Texas with hearing-impaired parents, her father who’s her

Nov 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Publishers Weekly

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In her intensely readable memoir, Crews, who owns a PR company in New York City, paints a vivid portrait of an impoverished childhood in rural Texas with hearing-impaired parents, her father who’s her hero turned monster.

Nov 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Dallas News

The other side served as a bedroom for [her brother] David and me.” Toward the end of the book, Crews and her mother move to North Central Texas and into a substantially more stable life.

Mar 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

BookPage

Readers interested in the details of growing up as a hearing child within the Deaf community will enjoy anecdotes about Crews’ mother using American Sign Language to sign along with Fleetwood Mac songs or winning the women’s division of the National Deaf Bowling Association.

Nov 01 2015 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Huntington News

Kambri Crews and Jeannette Walls both managed to find their new lives and careers in New York City.Despite my reservations about books about people escaping from dysfunctional families (with a nod to Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina", aren't all families dysfunctional in some ways?), not to mention doubt...

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Story Circle Book Reviews

©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page).

Apr 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir

Reader Rating for Burn Down the Ground
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