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Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir (Hardcover)
"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
From the author of the groundbreaking, award-winning No Visible Bruises, a riveting memoir of survival, self-discovery, and forgiveness sure to captivate readers who loved Tara Westover's Educated and Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle.
For decades, Rachel Louise Snyder has been a fierce advocate reporting on the darkest social issues that impact women's lives. Women We Buried, Women We Burned 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 16. Living out of her car and relying on strangers, Rachel found herself masquerading as an adult, talking her way into college, and eventually travelling 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.
About the Author
Rachel Louise Snyder is the author of Fugitive Denim, the novel What We've Lost is Nothing, and No Visible Bruises, a New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year, winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, the Hillman Prize, and the Helen Bernstein Book Award, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, LA Times Book Prize, and Kirkus 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.
"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 Book Review Editors' Choice
"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
"For fans of Tara Westover’s Educated, Snyder provides a triumphant story of beating the odds and of radical self-definition—with a punk rock backdrop to boot!" - Oprah Daily
"[Snyder’s] background as a journalist shines through as she describes her experiences honestly but without added drama or artifice, instead letting the people and events speak for themselves. This results in a narrative whose style belies its depth, for even as Rachel recounts her own maturation as a woman and a writer, she’s also commenting obliquely on how trauma is recapitulated and the countless ways in which male authority warps and erases women’s stories and lived realities. How she undertakes this work is subtle, even crafty." - Bookreporter
"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