Scream by Tama Janowitz
A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction

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Her memoir features a lot of rotten people — lousy neighbors, creepy men, a ghastly father, a mean brother, an architect who screams a lot, and all those skinny rich ladies — but no speculation or insight as to what made them what they were.
-LA Times

Synopsis

In this darkly funny, surprising memoir, the original “Lit Girl” and author of the era-defining Slaves of New York considers her life in and outside of New York City, from the heyday of the 1980s to her life today in a tiny upstate town that proves that fact is always stranger than fiction.

 With the publication of her acclaimed short story collection Slaves of New York, Tama Janowitz was crowned the Lit Girl of New York. Celebrated in rarified literary and social circles, she was hailed, alongside Mark Lindquist, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerney, as one of the original “Brat Pack” writers—a wave of young minimalist authors whose wry, urbane sensibility captured the zeitgeist of the time, propelling them to the forefront of American culture.

In Scream, her first memoir, Janowitz recalls the quirky literary world of young downtown New York in the go-go 1980s and reflects on her life today far away from the city indelible to her work. As in Slaves of New York and A Certain Age, Janowitz turns a critical eye towards life, this time her own, recounting the vagaries of fame and fortune as a writer devoted to her art. Here, too, is Tama as daughter, wife, and mother, wrestling with aging, loss, and angst, both adolescent (her daughter) and middle aged (her own) as she cares for a mother plagued by dementia, battles a brother who questions her choices, and endures the criticism of a surly teenager.

Filled with a very real, very personal cast of characters, Scream is an intimate, scorching memoir rife with the humor, insight, and experience of a writer with a surgeon’s eye for detail, and a skill for cutting straight to the strangest parts of life.

 

About Tama Janowitz

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A novelist and short story writer, Tama Janowitz has published seven novels, a collection of short stories and a work of non-fiction. She lives in Ithaca, New York.
 
Published August 9, 2016 by Dey Street Books. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Scream
All: 5 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 5

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Sep 25 2016

The most affecting moments come when Janowitz reflects on her now deceased poet mother's impact on her life and career, but these flashes of insight are lost in the mishmash of this poorly constructed work.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Ada Calhoun on Aug 21 2016

Readers of this book might grow irritated, too. “You want to have rich friends, if you are poor, but you want to have their money,” she writes, while complaining that Andy Warhol didn’t buy things for her when they went to flea markets. It’s one of several dubious second-person pronouncements.

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Aug 20 2016

While the reader can feel compassion for Ms. Janowitz and her many travails, he would not wish in a million years to enter into a dinnertime conversation with her. Or to ever again read another volume of her memoirs.

Read Full Review of Scream: A Memoir of Glamour a... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hand on Aug 25 2016

Her memoir features a lot of rotten people — lousy neighbors, creepy men, a ghastly father, a mean brother, an architect who screams a lot, and all those skinny rich ladies — but no speculation or insight as to what made them what they were.

Read Full Review of Scream: A Memoir of Glamour a... | See more reviews from LA Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Judy Berman on Aug 09 2016

...these asides are especially disheartening because they overshadow Janowitz’s dark humor and occasional insight. She’s at her best when reminiscing about her beloved mother...they rarely have the emotional impact she intends, because she doesn’t treat any other subject with the care she reserves for Phyllis.

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Reader Rating for Scream
82%

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