Read advance reader review of Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright

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Darling Days

A Memoir

by iO Tillett Wright

Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright X
Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright
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  • Published Sep 2016
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 11 member reviews
for Darling Days
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  • Poornima A. (Walpole, MA)
    North Carolina, read this!
    Growing up is difficult enough. Battling teen angst is not for the faint of heart. Imagine navigating gender identity and a sense of self as an added bonus. Now picture working through all that with a manic single mother. This is precisely what the immensely talented iO Tillett Wright wrestles with on her path to adulthood. Peppered with heartbreaking and heartwarming moments, this is a raw peek at what growing up with fluid gender identity is all about all set against the backdrop of a vibrant New York City. iO stays true to her name (based on Jupiter's moon) and her prose is honest and fiery. It sometimes is a little too scorching, but this memoir is fierce and narrated in voice that is authentic enough to be a winner.
  • Ann W. (New York, NY)
    We are all much more simply human than otherwise, be we happy and successful, contented and detached, miserable and mentally disordered, or whatever.
    I chose this quote from Harry Stack Sullivan because Io Tillett Wright's memoir is about a young human being struggling with issues of identity, belonging and finding a place in the world for oneself. For Wright, pronouns matter. Even as I write my review, I struggle with pronouns.

    As a young child, teen and eventually young adult, there is a constant search for self. She is remarkably generous to others around her. I had to step back from my own judgments and allow Wright to explore her own experiences.
    This copy did not have pictures unfortunately. So I went to the internet and found her TED talk at It was wonderful and added to my appreciation of this book.

    I agree this this statement, "iO Tillett Wright thanks her parents for not asking her to define herself as a child. Her experience of growing up without having check boxes like "female," "male," "gay" or straight" thoroughly infuses her art."

    As I finished this book, I thought about all the boxes we are asked to put ourselves in. I often struggle. Am I white, pink, or whatever? We are just a set of algorithms according to Google, Facebook and other data crunching services. Where does that leave the unique person?

    Wright's book was a wonderful exploration of self and generous to others. There is no question of better parent or best interest of the child or straight gender definitions. She is generous in her love for many 'wounded warriors' in her life. I recommend this book. It was slow start but gradually became engrossing. A friend, dog sitting for me started the book and insisted that I give it to her when I finished.
  • Jennifer F. (Saratoga, CA)
    A painful but honest memoir
    Darling Days is at many points a painful read, in that iO Tillett Wright's coming of age is mostly a survival tale within the Bowery of New York City in the 90s. The prevalent drug culture, missing parents, and empty refrigerators portray a sad beginning for the child. Yet, iO has such a brave spirit, struggling with her sexuality and self worth, that I found myself cheering for her to succeed. The writing is honest and brave and I recommend this for brave readers as well!
  • Jeanne B. (Albuquerque, NM)
    Mind-blowing and heart-expanding
    This is a brilliant memoir, unlike any I've read in recent memory. It unfolds in 51 chapters, each a vivid snapshot of one incident or stage in the author's life from birth to the time she leaves her mother's home in her early twenties. To me the effect was more like being engrossed in a play than reading a book, which is fitting since the author, iO Tillett Wright, has been an actress since she was a tiny child. Her story is unconventional and heart-wrenching in the extreme, but it is also transformative and very moving. iO not only survived the shocking circumstances of her childhood to become her authentic self, she is also able to comprehend her flawed but loving parents in their full humanity. This book deserves a wide audience.
  • Carol G. (Leesburg, VA)
    Similar to recent reads
    I enjoyed this memoir, it was well written and held my attention; however, having recently re-read The Glass Castle and The Sound of Gravel, I found the central themes very similar. Parent suffering with demons (mental illness, substance abuse, and overall narcissistic) results in the child essentially rearing themselves. The aspects of the book that dealt with the author's gender identity struggle were definitely a sub theme and I felt if they had been expanded on more, the book would have been differentiated from it's contemporaries.

    Overall, good read, well written, heavy subject but not necessarily a heavy book.
  • Julia A. (New York, NY)
    Darling and not-so darling Days
    This book exceeded my expectations. Full disclosure: I lived in the East Village/Alphabet City, then the West Village, then back to the East Village in the years that iO is writing about, so I recognize the settings and, if not the specific characters, the types of people with whom she and her mother interacted in many of the vignettes that form so many of the chapters. If they weren't all exactly "Darling Days," those times in the 1990s were so much more experientially interesting than what goes on in the sterile, gentrified atmosphere that pervades so much of the East Village today. The book made me nostalgic and regretful at the same time, reminding me once again that New York has become safer yet somehow less livable in the 21st Century. The author calls us back to those edgier times, and gives us an enjoyable read while doing so. She explores (but not pedantically) such themes as gender fluidity and mother-daughter relationships. She does bring things up to 2008 by book's end, but I admit to having enjoyed the chapters dealing with the earlier period much more. I believe the book will appeal to many different types and generations of readers.
  • Deb T. (Belpre, OH)
    iO is swell!
    In light of the controversies swirling around LGBTQ issues, this book is a perfect read......please do so!
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