Book Review: Grasshopper Speaks
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
List Price: Unavailable
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
Imprint: Katrina Register
Publisher: Katrina Register
Parent Company: Katrina Register
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Book Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter
In Katrina Register’s memoir, “Grasshopper Speaks,” the author takes readers on the whirlwind journey of her life. In this debut, she shares tales of her own adoption woes, relationship catastrophes, and a battle with alcoholism.
Having been adopted at an early age, Register shares a tale of unconditional love from her adoptive father and a nightmare of a relationship with her adoptive mother. (She and her mother throw words at each other like hand grenades.) This nightmare spills over into the relationship with her mother’s relatives. Her grandmother refers to her as a piss-colored whore’s abandoned child. Register shares this heartbreaking story that occurred while she waited in a line of other grandchildren to receive money and more importantly, affection:
My turn! The Grandmother, momentarily, glanced me over. I hoped she would compliment my yellow dress; she did not. Instead, over exaggerating her movements, she closed the change purse, laid it on the brown-stained wooden lamp and motioned for one of her sons to come and assist her out of the rocker she had occupied. I frantically looked around The Grandmother’s parlor, searching the faces to locate one that showed a trace of sympathy for this tragedy.
The tragedy continues in her adult life when her relationships are put to the test. In one instance, a domestic squabble turns physical as she writes:
I remember arguing with him about something (which could have been about anything, because by year two we debated everything.) I clearly recall him standing at the bottom of the stairs and me standing at the top, and both of us yelling and cursing each other. The melee ended with me being dragged down the stairs and kicked in the back while on the floor. He left, slamming the door as a final gesture of his anger, and I looked back to see my three- and eight-year old daughters staring down at me. I didn’t say a word. As if everything was fine, I got up from the floor and proceeded to get the girls and myself prepared to leave.
Though “Grasshopper Speaks” does have many more downer moments like the ones quoted above, it also contains sparks of hope and redemption. She makes a strong effort to make peace during her mother’s last days of life. Register also takes on alcoholism. There is also a glimpse of hope towards the end of the book as she meets a new man.
“Grasshopper Speaks” is an excellent read. Register pulls no punches when discussing the calamity of workplace woes, relationship nightmares, and internal struggles in her life. The book could be a clinic on how to write creative non-fiction. The only downfall is the ending, which journeys into diary-like reading as if the author wasn’t sure how to end the book. However, if you’re looking for a page turner that deals with the tragedies of life, such as unplanned pregnancy, domestic violence, mental abuse, physical abuse, and more; definitely pick up this book. And when you’re done, pray that Register has found inner peace and redemption.