The Angle of Flickering Light

Non-Fiction - Memoir
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 01/06/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

The Angle of Flickering Light by Gina Troisi is a powerfully moving memoir of a woman losing herself, finding herself, and having the insight to put it into perspective. The author recounts what it was like to live with verbal abuse from her father, psychological abuse from her mother, and her father's infidelity. Her pain turned inward, into self-torture involving an eating disorder, physical workouts, and control issues in hopes of disappearing. Her self-destructive attempts at escaping through hallucinogenic mushroom tea and snorting pills were not enough to heal the scars. A positive force in her life was her terminally ill grandfather, a father figure, and she found love with a heroin addict named John. When running from herself took her from the east coast to the west coast, she realized how much she missed John and what he represented to her--home.

Troisi brings us her story that many can connect with--of feeling misused, lost, and yearning for home and true love. Going from pillar to post wasn't satisfying enough, and she deserved more for herself than she realized. It takes a lot of courage to tell a life story honestly, but this one has something more, and it's the author's gift for introspection and storytelling. There are themes of hitting rock bottom and recovering, but it is wrapped in a well-written memoir that reads like a good piece of literary fiction; absorbed like a fine film. The writing is deep and poetic. One of my favorite parts was her relationship with John--complex, deep, and real, in spite of the pitfalls. The Angle of Flickering Light by Gina Troisi is a modern fairytale, and Troisi's carriage ride is bumpy, emotionally satisfying, and inspirational.

Clarissa Pattern

Troisi opens up two main narratives in her life: as a child her parents’ divorce which leaves her at the mercy of frequent visits with her father and an unpredictable stepmother, and as a young woman her love for a drug addict. It is not a chronological story, but reflects the experiences of being inside someone’s memories, there is overlap, repetition, events hinted at and then expanded in more detail in another chapter. Echoes of the childhood experience of being in an unstable environment, can perhaps be seen in her choice to attempt to make a relationship work with a man for whom she’ll always come second to his addiction.

Grief and loss are explored and the more subtle theme of how in control we are of our life and the decisions that we make. There are powerful moments when Troisi questions the validity of her own memories and the lies that her stepmother told her, which underpin so many people’s struggle for a definitive ‘truth’ and explanation for why their lives have unfolded as they have. It is a memoir that shows vulnerability and pain, but ‘The Angle of Flickering Light’ is a memoir ultimately about survival and hope.