About the Book
A memoir written in the voice of a twelve year old Irish Catholic girl living in the Bronx in 1954, Confessions recounts one year in the life of Joan, a very tall, religious, funny, self-conscious, emotionally imprisoned, lovable girl whose journey takes her from innocence, isolation, and inhibition to the beginnings of freedom and awakening. Fiercely committed to seeing only the good, the Joan who greets us is flush with the beauty of life and the Lord. Gradually, however, she sinks into the devastation of adolescent self-consciousness over her many problems including her unusual height, unbridled guilt, and conflicted, often painful, relationships with family.
Confused by her Catholic commitment to confess all one’s wrongs on the one hand and her mothers’ dictate to say nothing of what happens inside the family ‘four walls’, Joan struggles to find a place where she can reveal all that torments her—this relief she finds in her notebook. In this ‘place’ of solace and grace–the format, a kind of Confession–Joan is freed to know and reveal herself in all her flaws and frailties.
Recommended reading for all ages—preteen to adult, Confessions is the product of Handler’s dual professions, writer and psychologist, which place her in a unique position to explore the psychological truth of such a complicated character and family.