Monsters, Martyrs, and Marionettes is a revelatory hybrid collection that subverts the stereotypes and transcends the platitudes of family life to examine motherhood with blistering insight.
Documenting the birth and early life of her three daughters, Adrienne Gruber shares what it really means to use one’s body to bring another life into the world and the lasting ramifications of that act on both parent and child. Each piece peers into the seemingly mundane to show us the mortal and emotional consequences of maternal bonds, placing experiences of “being a mom” within broader contexts—historical, literary, biological, and psychological—to speak to the ugly realities of parenthood often omitted from mainstream conversations.
Ultimately, this deeply moving, graceful collection forces us to consider how close we are to death, even in the most average of moments, and how beauty is a necessary celebration amidst the chaos of being alive.
Praise for Monsters, Martyrs, and Marionettes
“In this stunning and deeply personal collection of essays, Adrienne Gruber explores modern motherhood in all its beautiful, terrifying, confusing, grotesque, joyful, sometimes mundane, sometimes ridiculous glory, in a way that is both intimate and yet wholly universal. With a poet’s ear for language—unsentimental, startling, sharp as a razor—and a memoirist’s knack for finding meaning in the chaotic churn of everyday life, Gruber cracks open her own heart to show you the truth in your own. Honest, tender, and firmly rooted in the body and its connection to the natural world, Monsters, Martyrs, and Marionettes is a deep, anguished howl in the dark, a love letter to a complex family, and a careful catalogue of the things we pass on, and the things we must carry on our own.” –Amy Jones, author of Pebble & Dove