Memoir from Suzanne Paola drawing critical praise

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 10:38am
Western Today staff

Award-winning author and Western Washington University English Professor Suzanne Paola, who writes prose under the name Susanne Paola Antonetta, has a new book, “Make Me a Mother: A Memoir,” which is being released in February.

The book is in worldwide release in English, including the United States, and throughout the United Kingdom and former Commonwealth countries. It is also available as an audio book.

In the memoir, Paola recounts her adoption of an infant from Seoul, South Korea. She and her husband learn lessons common to all parents, such as the lack of sleep and the worry and joy of loving a child. They also learn lessons particular to their own family: not just how another being can take over your life but how to let an entire culture in, how to discuss birth parents who gave up a child, and the tricky steps required to navigate race in America.

Her relationship with her son teaches Paola to understand her own troubled childhood and to forgive and care for her own aging parents. She comes to realize how, time and time again, all families have to learn to adopt one another.

“Make Me a Mother: A Memoir,” published by W.W. Norton, already has been drawing critical praise, including from Booklist, Kirkus Review, and a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

Paola also has a novella titled “Stolen Moments” included in a new publishing venture Shebooks. “Stolen Moments” consists of interconnected short stories by Paola about how found objects – from a forgotten tube of lipstick to a pair of shoes left in a hotel room – transform three women’s lives.

Paola teaches creative writing, Women’s Studies, and literature courses. Her book of nonfiction, “Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir,” was named a New York Times Notable Book of the year, also winning an American Book Award and placing in Amazon’s list of top ten memoirs. “A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World,” was published in 2005 by Penguin and also received numerous awards, including an Oprah’s Bookshelf pick. Her last book of poetry, “The Lives of the Saints,” was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award for the best book of poems published that year, awarded by the Academy of American Poets. Other books include “Bardo,” winner of the Brittingham Prize for poetry, and “Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction,” a textbook published by McGraw-Hill and coauthored by WWU English faculty member Brenda Miller. Individual pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Orion, Kenyon Review and many other journals and magazines. She has received other writing grants and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a grant from the state Artists Trust as well as a Pushcart prize.