I love memoirs. Even if I’m unfamiliar with the person prior to reading their memoir, I always find the story of someone’s life fascinating. If it wasn’t intrusive, I’d ask everyone what their story is and listen intently as they told it to me. There’s just something special about hearing others’ experiences and either learning from them or matching them to your own.
Just like all of us, Tanya Marquardt has her own unique story to tell. And she does just that in her newly released memoir, Stray. In Stray, Marquardt reflects on a little bit of everything. She discusses her dysfunctional childhood, her life as a sixteen-year-old runaway, alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, and the power of having an artistic outlet.
Tanya is a brilliant writer and a natural storyteller. Her words pull you in from the first page. She details her experiences in a poignant and poetic way that evokes both interest and emotions from the reader. Though I can’t relate to many of Tanya’s experiences on a personal level, there are underlying themes that I feel are very relatable. As an introvert and outsider, it’s easy to identify with themes such as teenage rebellion, feeling misunderstood, finding solace through the arts, and the importance of having a good circle of friends.
Tanya’s vulnerability is admirable and refreshing. My favorite passage of the book is when she beautifully illustrates the ongoing act of putting yourself back together. “And even after years of struggling, after dropping the alcohol and the cigarettes and the sex, after therapy and silent retreats, yoga classes and acupuncture and Rolfing, prayer and meditation, the trying and failing and trying again to learn how to give and receive love, I have to trust in my own strength and all the work that I’ve done to parent myself. Because I also know how little it takes to break a broken person.”
Stray is an enjoyable read. It’s compelling, moving, and incredibly well-written. My only complaint is that it ended far too soon. But, with her raw talent, fascinating background, and a world of possibilities ahead of her, I’m certain that Tanya has a lot of stories left in her to tell.
Stray is currently available for purchase on Amazon.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review. However, all opinions are my own.*