"Vertigo: A Memoir" is a powerful testament to the belief that reading can change your life. "It is as simple as this," Louise DeSalvo writes. "Reading, and writing about what I have read have saved my life." Reading "Vertigo" helps us understand why there have been so few autobiographical works by Italian-American women.
This "unlikely narrative" is a verbal montage of a life lived in pieces that come together only through writing. A mother's depression, a sister's suicide, growing up in a home with a father at war and a mother in an enclave of women-managed households, form the basis for DeSalvo's early traumas. She seeks salvation in the local library and fashions her identity through rebellion and pursuit of academic excellence.
De Salvo's artistry lies in her deft manipulation of point-of-view and her talent in shaping words into images that can help us see how language can deal with whatever life brings our way.