Novelist Jami Attenberg (All This Could Be Yours) displays her signature wit and sharp eye for detail in her memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You. Readers of Attenberg's fiction will find familiar themes here: complicated family relationships, what it means to be a woman, the challenges of building a career one loves. Attenberg frames her book with travel metaphors ("The Long and Winding Runway," "Brief and Dire Spasms of Turbulence"), but her narrative also contains a lot of literal travel: endless solitary hours on the road during book tours, wandering dark Italian streets with a fellow writer, the traveling salesmen in Attenberg's family tree. She takes readers along on her physical and emotional journey as she wrestles with sexism, self-doubt, what it means to be a writer and the challenges of relationships (romantic, familial and otherwise).
Attenberg's peripatetic narrative offers a glimpse of various scenes in her life: her freewheeling 20s, her Midwestern childhood, her gradual stumbling toward the life and career she truly wants for herself. She takes physical risks but hesitates (for a while) to take emotional ones, and does her best to be honest about her own mistakes, foibles and questions. "The thing with being a novelist--or really any creative endeavor--is we have to willingly enter into the not knowing," she says. In Attenberg's hands, the "not knowing" is sometimes dark (and might be haunted)--but it also contains snark, red lipstick, glasses of wine and a patchwork of stalwart friends. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams