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Download Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir, by Elizabeth Nunez Click for printable size audiobook cover
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Tracing the four days from the moment she gets the call that every immigrant fears to the burial of her mother, Elizabeth Nunez tells the haunting story of her lifelong struggle to cope with the consequences of the “sterner stuff” of her parents’ ambitions for their children and her mother’s seemingly unbreakable conviction that displays of affection are not for everyday use. But Nunez sympathizes with her parents, whose happiness is constrained by the oppressive strictures of colonialism, by the Catholic Church’s prohibition of artificial birth control (which her mother obeys, terrified by the threat of eternal damnation), and by what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as the “privilege of skin color” in his mother’s Caribbean island homeland where “the brown-skinned classes…came to fetishize their lightness.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A narrative that feels like a close friend talking about her past...An insightful, generous story.”

    Oprah.com

  • “Nunez reflects on her mother’s legacy as she works through her grief and demonstrates mastery of her craft.”

    Huffington Post

  • “A powerful memoir...this non-fiction narrative pulls the curtain back upon the Caribbean woman known as writer, mother, sister, and wife...Definitely peruse how this writer’s narrative plays out."

    Ebony

  • “Nunez ponders the cultural, racial, familial, social, and personal experiences that led to what she ultimately understands was a deeply loving union between her parents. A beautifully written exploration of the complexities of marriage and family life.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Her mother’s death prompts a writer to examine her relationship with her family…Intriguing.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Through her thoughtful and articulate writing, Nunez offers a valuable perspective on the racism that she experienced, even in America, and the damage the Catholic Church does to women who follow the ‘no artificial birth control’ rule. Recommended for memoir enthusiasts and readers interested in Caribbean literature.”

    Library Journal

  • “In her delicate, cultured Trinidadian accent, author-narrator Elizabeth Nunez unpacks the emotions that her upbringing taught her to hide meticulously as she copes with her mother’s death. Her deep voice becomes tremulous at times, as if the force of her own words is threatening to swallow her. But it rises again, steady and sure, when she recounts the strength of her parents and the challenges of raising eleven children amid the social restrictions of 1950s Trinidad. Nunez manifests the grief that comes from losing a parent but tempers her depth of emotion with wry tones when recounting the humorous dramas that arise amid island life. Self-effacing and honest, Nunez gives listeners a unique window onto a foreign world. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick for July 2014
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • One of Oprah’s Terrific Reads of Memoirs Too Powerful to Put Down
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About the Author
Author Elizabeth Nunez

Elizabeth Nunez is the author of various novels, including Discretion, Bruised Hibiscus, Grace, and Prospero’s Daughter. Born in Trinidad, Nunez is a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, as well as the winner of an American Book Award. She lives in Amityville, New York.