The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here by Felicia Sullivan
Felicia Sullivan has had an extremely difficult and chaotic life. Her mother bounced around from man to man, becoming addicted to cocaine and doing all manner of things in order to get her next fix. As an adult, Felicia has not seen or spoken to her mother since the day before her college graduation, when she asked her mother not to attend. Although determined to be different from her mother, Felicia has herself become an alcoholic who is addicted to cocaine as well.
If you’re going to read a hardship memoir, this is the one you should read. Sullivan has quite a gift with words and never gave off a ‘pity me’ vibe but shared her life in a straightforward manner. She provokes emotions in her reader simply by showing us the events of her interactions with her mother instead of trying to tell us how to feel.
The story jumps around a good deal, although the chapter headings (if you are the sort who is good at paying attention to chapter headings, which I am not) do tell you when and where you are. I imagine that Sullivan constructed her memoir as she did to give the reader a sense of the chaos she has lived. I do think that that a more chronological ordering of Felicia’s life might have given a better sense of her growth that could have made her story more satisfying, but I do understand stylistically why she would have chosen to structure her story the way she did.
For a hardship memoir this was remarkably light on the desire for pity, which made it that much more attractive. I really was captivated by Felicia’s story.