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Leslie Jamison Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Gin Closet (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Empathy Exams (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Recovering (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Leslie Jamison is a bestselling author and essayist, popularly known for the book, Gin Closet and a 2014 essay collection titled Empathy Exams. Before becoming an accomplished author, Leslie Jamison took some odd jobs where she served as a baker, tutor, in-keeper, a medical actor, and an office temp. Currently, Jamison is completing her Yale University doctoral dissertation. Various leading presses in the world including Oxford America, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer and a Public Space have featured Leslie Jamison’s work. After completing her high school education, Leslie Jamison joined Harvard University, where she took a major in English. Jamison’s senior thesis dealt with the topic of incest, mainly in the works of William Shakespeare. While taking her undergraduate degree, Leslie Jamison received the prestigious Edward Edgar Memorial prize in writing, an award that her classmate one Uzodimna Ewala also received. Uzodimna Ewala is the creator of the award-winning novel and feature film, Beasts of No Nation, which featured Idris Elba as the leading star.

Leslie Jamison Book Review
The Gin Closet
The Gin Closet is author Leslie Jamison’s debut novel. It introduces the readers to Stella, a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties who works for an inspirational writer. Stella’s boss is an abusive man and many of the time ends up mistreating her. Apart from working for an abusive boss, Stella is also dating a married man, who treats her badly as well. Ever since she took the job, Stella has done all she can to ensure that she takes care of her ailing grandmother After experiencing a bad fall, Stella’s grandmother calls for one for Matilda, a name that Stella has never heard of. Out of curiosity, Stella decides to find out who Matilda is from her mother, mainly because she believed there was more to the story. Stella’s mother confirms that Stella indeed has an aunt, named Matilda who for more than thirty years has never reached out to her family. Since her life was stagnating, Stella decides to go and inform Tilly of her mother’s passing and also find out what she has been up to for all those years.

Before her passing, Stella’s grandmother informs Stela of Tilly’s wild behavior as a teenager which led to her drug, alcohol and sex addiction. Upon arrival, Stella receives the shock of her life, when she finds out that Tilly is living in a trailer filled with trash. Feeling empathy for her aunt, Stella has no option but move in with Tilly, with the hope of assisting her in getting her life back on track. During her stay, Stella gets to learn of Abe, Tilly’s teenage son, whom she got while working as a prostitute. Abe wants his mother to relocate to San Francisco so that she can be able to take care of her. Abe, Stella, and Tilly manage to form a family of their own. Stella manages to get a job at the nearest Bed and Breakfast while Abe, on the other hand, secures a job for Tilly at the local bank.

Despite the fact that reader will root for the newly formed family, reality eventually intercedes. Author Leslie Jamison paints a brutal and honest picture of a woman in crisis, struggling with drug, alcohol and sex addiction. Tilly is a memorable and tragic character. Her struggle to fit in society and maintain sobriety is sad and real. Any person who at one point experienced the effects of alcoholism within their families will acknowledge this battle. With that said, the Gin Closet is a book about the damage of keeping secrets. After Tilly reveals one secret, her life changes forever. The reader can only help but wonder how Lilly’s life would be different if she told someone about all her secrets. Overall, the Gin Closet is not an easy read; it is one that is going to take the readers on an emotional journey.

52 Blue
52 Blue begins as author Jamison takes the readers deep into the Pacific Ocean, where a family of blue whales lives. One of the Blue Whale’s call is much deeper than that of all the other whales, around 52 Hertz. Majority of the blue whales normally operate between 15 and 20-hertz, and thus, this is a rare occurrence. After the discovery of the blue whale in the year 1992, it was never to be seen again. The blue whale’s unusual call signaled that the whale was alone and unable to reach out to its kind.Despite the fact that the blue whale was never spotted again, the whale’s very existence opened the door to a series of fantasy and human metaphor, with many individuals describing the blue whale as the loneliest whale in the world. More than three thousand miles from the location of the whale, a 48-year-old woman enters into a coma after being ill for quite some time. Several days later, the woman wakes up in a hospital ward unable to communicate and adrift of everything happening in the world. One day, as the woman was going through the internet, she stagers upon the story of the blue whale and from here her life transforms completely.

As expected, author Leslie Jamison has once again done what many authors fail to do; introduces the readers to something magical and mystifying, and then meditating and analyzing on the item for the right amount of time, until she leaves the readers fully informed. With that said, 52 Blue is an informative, a heartbreaking and playful short staccato.

The Empathy Exams
The Empathy Exams is a collection of essays penned by author Leslie Jamison. The Essays in Empathy Exams begin from an autobiographical angle. Nonetheless, as they continue, Leslie Jamison delves into something much deeper. The diverse situations that Jamison illustrates in these essays will be quite refreshing for the reader. Each of these essays will provide food for thought for the readers, such that the readers will still think about these essays several days later after reading them. In Empathy Exams author Leslie Jamison proves that she is well read, as she quotes renowned scholars such as Tolstoy, Vollman, Carson and even Didion. Author Jamison can bring in a wide range of sources from obscure science journals to documentaries focussing on murdered children in Arkansas.

In Empathy Exams, Jamison draws parallels between James Agee and Frida Kahlo and also connects part-time gigs who pretend to have different ailments to test the neuroscience students. Apart from being self-reflective, these essays are also astute, incisive and self-reflective as well. Author Jamison’s writing style is magnificent, such that she can effortlessly handle even the most inane subject with expertise.

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