“For much of her life, Sharon Harrigan’s father was an idea, a concept, a myth. What happens when she
finally allows him to be a real person, with real complications? The answers reside in this potent memoir.
Through frank and fiercely honest prose, the narrator comes to realize that whatever remained
unsolved in her would stay unsolved until she asked herself the right questions, and discovered herself
—Debra Gwartney, author of the memoir Live Through This, finalist for the National Critics Circle Award
“I kept expecting more people to die.” With this amazing declarative statement, Playing with Dynamite
shows the inner struggle of a child trying to understand death. The book opens with a story about a
father that has become unstable and needs investigating. The daughter embarks on an odyssey to find
her father, to find herself, and to find her way home. She is, by turns, both Telemachus and Odysseus,
and her story is both epic and intimate.
Is it possible to live our lives if the story we have about our past is wrong? What happens when what we
think we know about our parents turns out to be untrue? Why do we create stories about our parents,
and how do they affect who we are? The questions in this book will resonate with any reader who has
ever been a daughter or a son.
—Nick Flynn, author of the bestselling memoirs, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (which was adapted
into the film Being Flynn ), The Ticking Is the Bomb , and The Reenactments
“This memoir hit me in the gut and made me feel all kinds of complicated, lost in the wilderness of the
human heart, but this much is clear: Sharon Harrigan writes with grace and unflinching honesty.”
—Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net , Thrill Me , The Dead Lands , and Red Moon
“A warm, engaging read about the ways in which memory distorts our understanding of family.”
—Kirkus Reviews. Full review, here.