For over a decade, Zoe Zolbrod kept a complicated and troubling secret: Between the ages of four and five, she was routinely molested by her teenaged cousin. When she finally decided to talk about it, she wasn’t sure what to expect, what to say, or who to tell. Through a kaleidoscopic series of experienced—Zolbrod hitch hikes with a boyfriend from one coast to another, meets and marries her husband, and gives birth to her children—she traced the development of her sexuality, her relationships with me, and the cultivation of her motherhood in the shadow of her childhood sexual abuse. Bolstered with research, Zolbrod argues passionately for the empowerment of sexual abuse victims and the courage it takes to talk about it. (Curbside Splendor, 2016)
“Although the book is not especially lengthy, the generous perspective and time-shifting capaciousness with which Zolbrod approaches her material makes the memoir feel big. It ends up being a story not only of trauma, but of how she has become the individual — the daughter, the partner, the mother, the writer — that she is today. The writing feels big-brained, thanks to the research she includes alongside her more intimate reckoning. . . . So too does Zolbrod’s approach feel big-hearted.”
—Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune
“Her book demonstrates this ability to sit with discomfort and obscurity and reel with it until the darkness yields to greater understanding, expression, self-possession, and relationships with others. All readers, whether they have abuse in their pasts or not, can learn from her keen insight, her generosity and compassion with her parents who failed to protect her, and her cousin whose actions altered the course of her life.”
—Gila Lyons, Bitch Magazine
“Zolbrod’s “The Telling” presents as a memoir about experiencing sex abuse, but it’s really a story about motherhood, childhood, and being yourself without regard for social expectation.”
—Emma Terhaar, Third Coast Review
“. . . And the author must know that she has done this, that this book is her howl, her fire, her testament, her therapy. Although nothing past can be redone, everything past can be retold, and it is in the telling of our own stories that we can gather our whole self, and name it, and claim ourselves. This is The Telling.”
—Maggie May Ethridge, Diagram
“The Telling is a necessary book; hard at times, yes, often breathtakingly beautiful, and most importantly, profoundly accessible. Childhood sexual abuse is a subject we hide from—it’s too awful, too taboo—but here, Zolbrod gives us nuance and complexity, truth that pushes past the single story of victim and into this beautiful mess of a life. At times, I wanted to set the walls on fire. At times, I wanted to put down the book and hug my small son. At times, I was swept away in the narrative, an expertly woven structure of what a young girl lived and a grown woman understood. And always, the questions: when and how and who do you tell? Zolbrod is telling us. Let’s listen.”
— Megan Stielstra, author of Once I Was Cool
“One of the most stunning memoirs I’ve ever read. In this perfectly-crafted story Zolbrod exercises her impeccable command of language to explore a dark subject with beauty, humility and fierce grace. This book burns bright on the list of those that will stay with me for years to come.”
—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of After This and The Rules of Inheritance
“Zoe Zolbrod’s memoir about coming to terms with her childhood sexual abuse is evocative, fiercely intelligent, and beautifully constructed. It also manages to be compulsively readable, a rare quality in a book dealing with such difficult subject matter. In telling her story, Zolbrod becomes a time traveler, making elegant leaps from early childhood to her unconventional coming of age to the embattled but deep satisfactions of her own motherhood. The result is a book that ponders the way the past informs the present—and the mysterious manner in which resilience works.”
—Claire Dederer, author of Poser: My Life in 23 Poses
“Zoe Zolbrod’s Memoir Scales is a necessary memoir in every way. With remarkable restraint and grace, Zolbrod shows what telling the truth costs us, and what essential essence in the teller it sets free.”
—Emily Rapp, author of The Still Point of the Turning World and Poster Child: A Memoir
“This remarkable memoir shines a light into the most shadowy corners of the soul and brilliantly demonstrates the transcendent power of truth. Both authentic and likable, Zolbrod weaves a masterful and compelling narrative and examines tough issues with remarkable nuance and sensitivity. I will not soon forget this beautiful book.”
—Jillian Lauren NY Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and Everything You Ever Wanted
“A gripping read. The Telling is brutally honest, relentlessly passionate and ferociously intelligent. Zolbrod has written a page turner—one unlike any you’ve ever experienced before.”
—Rob Roberge, author of Liar.
Piv and Robin are not such an unlikely match. Piv, a small-time hustler in Thailand, and Robin, a twenty-something back-packer from the United States, have always dreamed big dreams. What begins as a traveler’s affair in Sukhothai quickly intensifies, and the young lovers envision an idyllic future together, traveling the world. Their plans are thwarted in Bangkok, however, when Robin runs out of money, her credit is denied, and she may have to leave Asia and Piv behind. Desperate, Piv turns to Abu, a charismatic businessman acquaintance, for help. Thus begins Piv and Robin’s foray intoexotic animal smuggling. Soon they find themselves amid an international crime ring that may have even darker underworld ties stretching from Kenya to Russia. Under the scrutiny of the traffickers who employ them, with investigators hot on their trail, and idealistic dreams unraveling fast, Piv and Robin must face the consequences of their individual struggles for identity, as well as the cost of their mutual desires.
Thank you, Christine. One of these days maybe we’ll have time to actually have a full conversation–and maybe even one about writing!
Book trailers are the new thing! I was skeptical, but it was fun to make. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Kari, thank you so much for taking the time to tell me this. It makes me so happy to hear that I’ve written a book that’s given someone the kind of experience I like the best from reading. Yay!