BookBrowse Reviews Serious Face by Jon Mooallem

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Serious Face


by Jon Mooallem

Serious Face by Jon Mooallem X
Serious Face by Jon Mooallem
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2022, 320 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Erin Lyndal Martin
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About this Book



A collection of essays reflecting on wildfires, end-of-life care, matadors, clouds and other topics, exploring the ways in which we all find connection.

In Serious Face, journalist and author Jon Mooallem compiles essays he's published elsewhere over the past decade. While there's no central topic, the pieces converge in the questions they ask about resilience, community and the pursuit of dreams. Whether he's writing about a rogue monkey, a long-dead matador or wildfires, the author brings his vast curiosity and humility to each one.

Many essays concern people who had near-death experiences and now struggle to balance gratitude for their lives with the lingering aftereffects of trauma. In the first piece, "A House at the End of the World," Mooallem meets BJ Miller, a palliative care doctor who is a triple amputee (see Beyond the Book). He also interviews survivors of the Paradise Camp Fire, praising their survival while recognizing that they will always be recovering from their ordeal. One essay features a man called "Lucky" because...

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