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Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory

de Sarah Polley

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2097132,176 (4.16)10
"Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director, and actor Sarah Polley's Run Towards the Danger explores memory and the dialogue between her past and her present These are the most dangerous stories of my life. The ones I have avoided, the ones I haven't told, the ones that have kept me awake on countless nights. As these stories found echoes in my adult life, and then went another, better way than they did in childhood, they became lighter and easier to carry. Sarah Polley's work as an actor, screenwriter, and director is celebrated for its honesty, complexity, and deep humanity. She brings all those qualities, along with her exquisite storytelling chops, to these six essays. Each one captures a piece of Polley's life as she remembers it, while at the same time examining the fallibility of memory, the mutability of reality in the mind, and the possibility of experiencing the past anew, as the person she is now but was not then. As Polley writes, the past and present are in a "reciprocal pressure dance." Polley contemplates stories from her own life ranging from stage fright to high-risk childbirth to endangerment and more. After struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, Polley met a specialist who gave her wholly new advice: to recover from a traumatic injury, she had to retrain her mind to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered her symptoms. With riveting clarity, she shows the power of applying that same advice to other areas of her life in order to find a path forward, a way through. Rather than live in a protective crouch, she had to run towards the danger. In this extraordinary book, Polley explores what it is to live in one's body, in a constant state of becoming, learning, and changing"--… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 7 (següent | mostra-les totes)
My goodness but Sarah Polley has certainly had a lot of challenges in her life. More power to her for writing this book and then narrating the audiobook.

Most Canadians of a certain age will know who Sarah Polley is. She played the lead in the TV series The Girl from Avonlea and essentially grew up on the set. During this time her mother died of cancer and her father, probably from grief, went into a significant depression. Add to that emotional upheaval, Sarah had significant scoliosis causing her a lot of pain. Since her father was unable to parent her, at a young age Sarah moved out of the family home. During this time she met Jian Ghomeshi, a host on CBC radio programs. Ghomeshi was later accused by multiple women of sexual assault and Sarah says that she was sexually assaulted by him when she was 16 years old. In a trial in 2016 Ghomeshi was acquitted of five charges but Sarah did not bring her allegation against him. Sarah did a lot of acting but her intention was always to write screenplays and direct. which she started doing once she became a mother. She has had some good success at this but this time period was also beset by problems. One daughter was born premature and had to be kept in the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit for a long time. Sarah also suffered a concussion when a fire extinguisher fell on her. She had concussive symptoms which affected her memory, attention, ability to cope etc. for a substantial period of time. Eventually she was able to get treatment at a clinic in the US and has gotten her life back. In fact, the title of the book was advice from the doctor who treated her. As a proud Canadian she said she was sorry that she had to go outside of the medical system in Canada and she is still a supporter of our socialized medicine.

This book is not a memoir as such but rather a series of essays about her life challenges but, of course, we do learn a lot about Sarah. ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 23, 2024 |
Some years ago, as an undergraduate in English literature I was taught to question the authority of a narrator in the novels we read.

The great pursuit of understanding who the narrator is and why they tell their stories from their vantage point helps to counterbalance the natural human tendency to warp reality to suit our purposes.

For me this search begins with Cervantes’ magnum opus Don Quixote, and the somewhat lesser famous Moll Flanders by 18th century novelist Daniel Dafoe.

We weren’t applying this critical reasoning to non-fiction, but I was reminded of this pursuit reading two excellent and quite thought-provoking memoirs, the first Open: An Autobiography by tennis great Andre Agassi and more recently Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory by actor and film director Canadian Sarah Polley.

Agassi tells the story of a boy who despite hating tennis is dragooned into a punishing routine of hours upon hours of returning tennis balls fired at him by a tennis “dragon” by a father who is obsessed by the vision of his son becoming not just any tennis professional, but the best in the world.

Polley tells of the encouragement she received as a child by her parents to take a major role in a TV series based on the writings of Lucy Maude Montgomery with only a measured regard for the child’s safety or personal development.

Sarah obviously had a talent in front of the camera and her family stood to benefit financially. She was told the money would go toward her university education. Her family enjoyed expensive vacations together.

Was it worth it?

Well, Sarah’s mother died early in young Sarah’s acting career from cancer. Her father suffered debilitating grief from the loss of his wife. Sarah herself never got the university education she was promised in spite of being an enterprising reader. Her TV directors and handlers left her frequently in harms way of special effects, a stalker, long working hours, months away from her friends, and in a kind of Twilight Zone of parental love and parental neglect.

And two-thirds through the book the author now in her 40’s tells us she’s been in therapy for 20 years.

It’s about this time I put on my critical hat and ask myself about the author’s sanity given all the injuries she’s suffered, the lunatics in showbiz she has been subject to, the dangerous surgeries she’s undertaken to correct scoliosis — a spine deformity she had as a child — painful endometriosis, a dangerous placenta previa pregnancy, an unlucky concussion from a falling fire extinguisher, an equally unlucky sexual misadventure with now-disgraced radio personality Jian Gomeshi, the complications arising from the delivery of a premature child, and a mind-bending bout of stage fright at the Stratford Festival.

Child exploitation comes in many forms. Andre Agassi experienced one form. Sarah Polley experienced another. And we on the outside only see the benefits of celebrity. A lot of parents never see their children succeed so spectacularly, but at what price?

I listened to Polley’s memoir as an audiobook performed by the author herself. She’s a talented performer and she can be very funny. I highly recommend the audio version of this work.

But I myself worked in the theatre as a teenager and I can tell you there’s no way to exaggerate some of the crazies you meet in that business. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Great story about her adversity and experiences ( )
  kslade | May 4, 2023 |
Great book on challenges Sarah had as a child and an adult. After a concussion she had to be proactive to beat its effects. ( )
  kslade | Apr 28, 2023 |
An exceptionally brave and amazingly well-written book. Even the subtitle "confrontations with a body of memory" has resonance: every chapter deals with memories of bodily danger and how she managed to find her way through. One of the best books I've read in a long time. ( )
  bobbieharv | Dec 16, 2022 |
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"Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director, and actor Sarah Polley's Run Towards the Danger explores memory and the dialogue between her past and her present These are the most dangerous stories of my life. The ones I have avoided, the ones I haven't told, the ones that have kept me awake on countless nights. As these stories found echoes in my adult life, and then went another, better way than they did in childhood, they became lighter and easier to carry. Sarah Polley's work as an actor, screenwriter, and director is celebrated for its honesty, complexity, and deep humanity. She brings all those qualities, along with her exquisite storytelling chops, to these six essays. Each one captures a piece of Polley's life as she remembers it, while at the same time examining the fallibility of memory, the mutability of reality in the mind, and the possibility of experiencing the past anew, as the person she is now but was not then. As Polley writes, the past and present are in a "reciprocal pressure dance." Polley contemplates stories from her own life ranging from stage fright to high-risk childbirth to endangerment and more. After struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, Polley met a specialist who gave her wholly new advice: to recover from a traumatic injury, she had to retrain her mind to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered her symptoms. With riveting clarity, she shows the power of applying that same advice to other areas of her life in order to find a path forward, a way through. Rather than live in a protective crouch, she had to run towards the danger. In this extraordinary book, Polley explores what it is to live in one's body, in a constant state of becoming, learning, and changing"--

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