Rachel Louise Snyder’s propulsive new memoir Women We Buried, Women We Burned begins with the death of her mother. Her father then marries another woman, moves to the Midwest, and raises Snyder in a suffocating Christian household where religion is repeatedly used to justify abuse. Snyder’s impeccable prose lets us live vicariously through her struggle to survive these compound losses, putting us in the middle of her fight against the forces determined to crush girls’ lives into smaller and smaller spaces. We join Snyder as she learns to thrive on a global scale, as she traces the insidious root system of patriarchy from her own small bedroom to the other side of the world. In the end, she invites us into a brave and loving space of forgiveness.
The story is impossible to forget. The characters have taken up long-term residence in my head, and I attribute these lasting echoes to Snyder’s direct narrative voice, her skillful scenes, and her willingness to wrench the most painful places open wide.