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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Women We Buried, Women We Burned

A MEMOIR

Narrator: Rachel Louise Snyder

ISBN: 9781696611282

Publisher: Highbridge Audio

Publication Date: 06/13/2023

Format: Audio

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



For decades, Rachel Louise Snyder has been a fierce advocate reporting on the darkest social issues that impact women's lives. This is her own story.


Snyder was eight years old when her mother died, and her distraught father thrust the family into an evangelical, cult-like existence halfway across the country. Furiously rebellious, she was expelled from school and home at age sixteen. Living out of her car and relying on strangers, Rachel found herself masquerading as an adult, talking her way into college, and eventually traveling the globe.


Survival became her reporter's beat. In places like India, Tibet, and Niger, she interviewed those who had been through the unimaginable. In Cambodia, where she lived for six years, she watched a country reckon with the horrors of its own recent history. When she returned to the States with a family of her own, it was with a new perspective on old family wounds, and a chance for healing from the most unexpected place.


A piercing account of Snyder's journey from teenage runaway to reporter on the global epidemic of domestic violence, Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a memoir that embodies the transformative power of resilience.





#WomenWeBuried-WomenWeBurned




My Review


Investigative journalist and award-winning author Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us delivers a powerful emotional, must-read memoir, WOMEN WE BURIED, WOMEN WE BURNED.


Compelling, heartbreaking, wrenching, gripping, propulsive, and disturbing.


An impressive bio, Snyder is an award-winning global journalist. She has traveled to sixty countries over the past two decades, covering human rights, gender-based violence, natural disasters, displacement, and war stories.


Hauntingly beautiful, told with compassion and insight, written with stunning lyrical prose, the author shares her story, an intimate, raw, honest account of her childhood to adulthood.

A coming-of-age narrative of grief, domestic abuse, neglect, betrayal, religion, and the cult-like environment—overcoming tragedy to hope. A story of a young woman against all odds.


Heart wrenching to lose her mother at the very young age of 8; she has no role models. Raised by a father obsessed with a strict Evangelical religion-like cult environment (violence, control), non-supportive, and then a stepfamily. Her dad loses all the money her mom left her. She is lost. He is driving her away to live on her own, alone. All the adults have failed her.


She grew up learning there was nothing but danger and darkness in the world, made to be fearful. This is quite true and common as children are raised in religious environments, instilling fear, thinking this will make the child stay on the straight and narrow.


"And once I got out into that world, I didn't find that to be true at all. It was my first real lesson in how wrong the worldview of my parents was because it was informed by their own ignorance."

At 16, her father and stepmother informed Snyder, her older brother, and her two older stepsiblings that they were no longer welcome in their suburban Chicago home. During the 1890s, she and her siblings were forced to submit to a strict evangelical upbringing with pain and physical punishment.


"Cancer took my mother, but religion took my life."

She had already been expelled from the high school she had barely attended, obtaining a G.P.A. of 0.467. From numerous jobs, being a troubled teen, drugs, and having to leave school to support herself and survive. She lived out of her car for the next year and a half, sleeping on couches and floors.


She eventually attained her G.E.D. and went to college and graduate school; a generous uncle helped her spend a semester at sea, where she explored an entirely new world and outlook, more prominent than the strict confines of her childhood.


For six years, she was a journalist based in Cambodia. She fell in love and had a daughter while living abroad, finding support from friends.


Tenacious and courageous, she gets her education and makes her mark in the world, climbing her way out of the past, traveling the world, motherhood, to a globally recognized journalist


She is a survivor and will fight against all obstacles. She possessed great reliance and strength with heart and forgiveness for those who failed her. Decades later, summoned by her father, her stepmother is dying from colon cancer, and she goes to her side, caring for her, which is quite emotional.


Ultimately, she invites us into a brave and loving space of forgiveness. A memoir of courage and self-invention. A story she carried for more than four decades.


You will be touched and moved, thinking of the memoir long after it ends. Powerful. Moving. Unforgettable. Astounding. Superb! Thank you for sharing.


Women We Buried, Women We Burned touches on themes of family, religion, illness, violence, abuse, motherhood, grief, loss, redemption, and hope.


AUDIOBOOK: I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by the author. Inspiring. emotional, and powerful! The writing is spellbinding. Thought-provoking, a must-read memoir!

For fans of Tara Westover's Educated and Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Women We Buried, Women We Burned is Snyder’s fourth book. She is the author of No Visible Bruises (2019), a book about domestic violence that was described as “extraordinary,” “gripping,” and “essential” by reviewers, and named a best book of 2019 by the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Kirkus, and The New York Times. She is also the author of Fugitive Denim (2009) about the global fashion industry, and the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing (2020).


Thanks to #HighbridgeAudio for a gifted ALC via #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Highly recommend the audio for an engaging performance and listening experience.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

My Rating: 5 🌟STARS

June 2023 Must-Read Books








Praise


"Snyder shows us how to summon the courage to imagine in a cruel and dangerous world. A beautiful book."

-Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of Rogues, Empire of Pain, and Say Nothing


"How do you remember every detail and make the reader feel like they saw, heard, and felt each moment? I have no idea, actually, but Rachel Louise Snyder has done it.”

–Masha Gessen, National Book Award winning author of The Future Is History and Surviving Autocracy


"A gorgeous memoir that parses the patriarchy with an endearing frankness as fierce as it is, astonishingly, forgiving."

-Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of Dopesick and Raising Lazarus


"The hope contained on these pages is hard won, and all the more precious due to the struggles from which it emerges.”

-Tayari Jones, New York Times bestselling author of An American Marriage


“…A bold and searing memoir about family and violence, illness and independence, pain and fear and beauty..."

—Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author


"Inspirational . . . Snyder observes the world with both an unsparing eye and a generous spirit . . . Instead of getting trapped in the familiar impasse of either/or, Snyder thinks in terms of ands. This expansiveness is of a piece with her writing on domestic violence . . . Snyder’s memoir shows how one might―must―live amid multiple truths."

- Jennifer Szalai, New York Times


"A superb memoir, a bracing piece of prose, a glittering testimony to endurance and the power of writing itself to offer a lifeline to the struggling."

- Katie Roiphe, Washington Post


"An affecting memoir . . . Excellent writing and a clear perspective enhance this primer on how to hope."

- Los Angeles Times


"Snyder's memoir is as heartbreaking, wrenching and compelling as the stories of the victims in her eye-opening book on domestic violence . . . In explaining her own history, Snyder shows why she was drawn to the darkest stories and how she is able to retell them with such detail and compassion . . . The violence and neglect of her adolescence sounds nearly unsurvivable. And yet she is here, proof that there can be healing, reconciliation and professional triumph."

- Minneapolis Star-Tribune


"The author of NO VISIBLE BRUISES writes a searing memoir telling the story of her triumph over impossible odds, from her mother's early death, expulsion from school and homelessness to her global reporting on domestic violence."

- USA Today


"Rachel Louise Snyder’s two most recent books are like pendant portraits, each complementing and illuminating the other, a literary matched set. In No Visible Bruises, Snyder probed the pathology and sociology of intimate partner violence . . . Women We Buried, Women We Burned, an engrossing memoir of her own troubled, motherless early life, helps explain both her attraction to that dark subject and her appreciation of its complexity. [Snyder’s] difficult past, with all its emotional complexities, becomes an asset. It renders her unafraid to explore the grittier aspects of human nature . . . moving"

- The Boston Globe


"The tenacity and bravery of a young woman determined to survive and make her own mark on the world move the narrative with unstoppable force as the sentences build in intensity and poignancy . . . Anyone moved by No Visible Bruises should put this at the top of their to-read list. Exceptional writing, a harrowing coming-of-age story, and critical awareness combine to make a must-read memoir."

- Kirkus Reviews, starred review


"Compelling, propulsive, gripping and disturbing in equal measure."

- BookPage, starred review


"Snyder’s most recent book, No Visible Bruises, explored the psychological entanglements of domestic violence. This offering once again considers complex relationships, but at a personal level . . . searingly honest and moving."

- Booklist


"A penetrating memoir on grief and redemption . . . Snyder delivers her inspiring story with lyrical prose and sharp insights, particularly about the fraught father-daughter relationship at its center. It’s an eloquent portrayal of the power of forgiveness."

- Publishers Weekly


"How do you write a book about overcoming extreme hardship, about the singular people who convince you to take a chance on yourself, about finding the big world after a childhood that prepared you for a tiny one, about discovering that you love the people who failed to love you - and manage not to strike a single trite note? How do you remember every detail and make the reader feel like they saw, heard, and felt each moment? I have no idea, actually, but Rachel Louise Snyder has done it."

- Masha Gessen, National Book Award winning author of THE FUTURE IS HISTORY and SURVIVING AUTOCRACY


"A bold and searing memoir about family and violence, illness and independence, pain and fear and beauty. With wry humor and enormous humanity, Rachel Louise Snyder shows us how to summon the courage to imagine in a cruel and dangerous world. A beautiful book."

- Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of ROGUES, EMPIRE OF PAIN, and SAY NOTHING


"With the same virtuosity and eye for detail she brought to No Visible Bruises, Rachel Louise Snyder uses her own story to illuminate the many divides that plague America, from class and culture wars to toxic religiosity and frayed family ties. Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a gorgeous memoir that parses the patriarchy with an endearing frankness as fierce as it is, astonishingly, forgiving."

- Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of DOPESICK and RAISING LAZARUS


"Bravery and honesty are the cornerstone of the memoir, but Snyder adds to this―generosity. This is a compassionate telling of a sometimes brutal story. Women We Buried, Women We Burned reminds me of opera, with its beautiful sadness and artistic triumph. The hope contained on these pages is hard won, and all the more precious due to the struggles from which it emerges."

- Tayari Jones, New York Times bestselling author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE


"With a journalist’s keen eye and a novelist’s elegant prose, Rachel Louise Snyder delivers an unsentimental and bone-deep observational memoir of death and family, class and history, East and West, and politics and travel; at the center of each story is a reaffirmation of human survival as an art of triumph."

- Suki Kim, New York Times bestselling author of WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US


"A harrowing story of survival that also brims with warmth, wit and insight, this memoir has the propulsive force of a novel, driven by a spirit of compassion and curiosity that will not be broken." - Jessica Bruder, New York Times bestselling author of NOMADLAND


"With wonderfully evocative prose, Rachel Louise Snyder captures here the stark horror of a child losing her mother and half her roots as she’s then swept into her evangelical father’s second family and has to either flee or be erased. As nakedly honest as it is fair, what is so remarkable about Women We Buried, Women We Burned is that Snyder does flee, and her lone voyage to her very self is the voyage of so many girls and women around the world who have been uprooted and cast aside and must find their own way back. This is an important and profoundly moving memoir, and I cannot recommend it highly enough."

- Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of TOWNIE and SUCH KINDNESS


"A propulsive, clear-eyed, and stunning memoir about transformation, self-discovery, and the journey we go on when we decide that yes, we want to do more than simply survive; we want to thrive. Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a revelation."

- Chelsea Bieker, author of HEARTBROKE and GODSHOT


"Rachel Louise Snyder’s story begins with a series of profound losses but becomes, in her careful and compassionate telling, a story about what we might gain by looking directly at the most difficult parts of our pasts. This is a gorgeous and radiantly honest book, brilliant in its ability to capture the way grief reverberates across a lifetime. Rather than force trauma into a false closure, Snyder transforms it into a radical openness and ability to connect."

- Danielle Evans, author of THE OFFICE OF HISTORICAL CORRECTIONS


"As stunning as it is powerful, Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a tour-de-force memoir of family, faith, love, loss, resilience, and, ultimately, redemption. With deftness and grace, Snyder navigates the complicated terrain of childhood trauma and presents a model for how to reconcile with the ghosts of your past."

- Monica West, author of REVIVAL SEASON


"Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a profoundly moving and layered memoir that is nuanced in all the spaces where life gets complicated. A writer with wit as sharp as her prose, Rachel Louise Snyder’s story connects on so many levels because she writes honestly about traumas, forgiveness, and the hard work it takes to build a life. A truly stunning book that will broaden hearts and minds, and also educate and inspire."

- Loung Ung, author of FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER





About the Author


photo credit: Don Rutledge

Rachel Louise Snyder is the author of Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade, the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing, No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us and the forthcoming memoir Women We Buried, Women We Burned (May ’23). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times magazine, the Washington Post and on NPR, and she was a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. No Visible Bruises was awarded the 2018 Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, the 2020 Book Tube Prize, the 2020 New York Public Library’s Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Sidney Hillman Book Award for social justice. It won Best Book in Translation in Taiwan in 2021 and has been translated into Russian, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, Spanish, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, and others. It received starred reviews from Kirkus, Book Riot and Publisher’s Weekly and was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Amazon, Kirkus, the Library Journal, the Economist, and BookPage; the New York Times included it in their “Top Ten” books of 2019. No Visible Bruises was also a finalist for the Kirkus Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the LA Times Book Award, and the Silver Gavel Award.

Over the past two decades, Snyder has traveled to sixty countries, covering stories of human rights, gender-based violence, natural disasters, displacement and war. She lived, for six years, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and two years in London before relocating to Washington, DC in 2009. Originally from Chicago, Snyder holds a B.A. from North Central College and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2020-2021. Originally from Chicago, she has a joint appointment as a professor in journalism and literature at American University. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram: @rlswrites



Written with a storyteller's gift for immediacy, and weaving the personal with the universal, Women We Buried, Women We Burned is an urgent story of family struggle, human survival, and the passionate drive to bear witness.

Rachel Louise Snyder is the author of Fugitive Denim, the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing, and No Visible Bruises, winner of the Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from the Columbia School of Journalism, the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, and the Helen Bernstein Book Award. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Slate, and elsewhere. A 2020-2021 Guggenheim Fellow, Snyder is a Professor of Creative Writing and Journalism at American University. She lives in Washington, DC.

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