Mumbai New York Scranton has been on my shelf since my birthday last August, a present from Julie. If you're reading this Jul, Thank You! Excellent present!
PLOT- Tamara Shopsin's memoir, Mumbai New York Scranton, is part travelogue, part art book, and part mystery. Approximately half of the book is dedicated to Shopsin's holiday in India with her husband, Jason. During their trip, Shopsin experiences blinding migraines, extreme fatigue, and intense nausea. After being warned about diseases in India, she is tempted to write it off as a local bug, but the symptoms continue when she returns home from vacation.
LIKE- Mumbai New York Scranton is completely different from any book I've previously encountered, making it unexpected and delightful. One of the best elements is the pacing. The book is written in small chunks: for example, a page might only contain a short paragraph or a picture, either a photograph or a drawing. This not only makes the entire pace of the story lightening quick, but it gives a greater weight to the content of those paragraphs. The short bursts, actually served to make me slow-down my reading, rather than skimming, which I'm sometimes tempted to do with long paragraphs. I fully absorbed each paragraph.
Shopsin's writing style is direct. She rarely uses flowery language and is sparse with her metaphors, which makes them pop when she chooses to utilize them. This style appeals to me and it's ideal for this story. It works as she's describing her tourism in India and it also works, when she switches to describing her medical problems. Shopsin's diagnosis is terrifying and this direct style actually heightens the intensity and emotions of the situation. Less is definitely more here. I was struck by how she tells details as they are, not necessarily trying to make her or her husband look good. They don't by any means come across as bad people, just that she is honest with their flaws and issues. The writing is blunt.
Shopsin is a freelance illustrator and her husband is a photographer, I liked how artistic elements were added to the book, such as photographs and drawings. Shopsin is always noting the details, whether it's a picture that they took in India, an interesting book cover, or a road sign, and rather than simply describing them, she includes visuals. I liked this creative element, it made the story more personal.
Shopsin's story is affecting. What really worked for me, was that for a majority of the story, we do not know her medical diagnosis. This isn't so much a story of the problem, but of the unsettling feeling that something is wrong and the road to having it diagnosed. It reads like a mystery. Shopsin is misdiagnosed several times. I've had this happen to me ( luckily with a far less severe problem), but I could relate to Shopsin's fear and frustration at being brushed off by doctors.
DISLIKE- Nothing. Mumbai New York Scranton is one of the best memoirs I've ever read.
RECOMMEND- YES!!! A HUGE YES!!! Get this book!!! Mumbai New York Scranton is utterly compelling and unique. Shopsin is a talent and her story is impossible to put down.