G. Bianco, 2019
Memoirs allow a reader to dive into a new world and learn about someone’s life that can be very different, or very similar, from their own. In Martina Reaves’s new memoir, I’m Still Here, she chronicles her life from the late sixties up until the early 2010s as she grapples with cancer diagnoses, her love life, and raising a child amidst a changing world.
In 1969, at age twenty, Martina moves to San Francisco. She lives in a commune, marries her hippie streetcar driver, and moves away from the city—first to Mendocino County, Oregon, and then to the Virgin Islands. In 1980, Martina comes out. She finds her life partner, Tanya, at work, and in 1986 they have a son, Cooper. In 2008, Martina is diagnosed with serious tongue cancer. Her journey in the aftermath of this diagnosis is one of hope, fear, family, friendship, perseverance, and learning to live with a terminal diagnosis. Reaves braids these strands of her life together in I’m Still Here, presenting readers with a nuanced, poignant exploration of what it means to live—and love—authentically.
While it took a little while for me to get used to the writing style and the chapters that alternated between past and present, Reaves offers insight into her life and how the events around her shaped her into who she is today.
Reaves openly talks about her health, sexuality, family, and feelings throughout the book discussing everything from working as a teacher in Costa Rica, meeting her wife while in law school, and being the only lesbian family in her son’s elementary school. These life moments not only showcase Reaves’s life, but offer a glimpse at what a somewhat ordinary life was like throughout American history. However, like life itself, some chapters were more interesting than others. The writing was well done, but sometimes the mundanity of life wasn’t the most exciting thing to read about.
Admittedly, I do not read many memoirs, so maybe this was not the best way to ease into this new genre. I think that I was expecting some excitement or action that never quite happened. However, this is still a great book and if you like memoirs or would like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, then I definitely recommend checking out this book!
*I received a copy of the book from BookSparks in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!