Ahead of her debut memoir hitting shelves in October, J.R. Jamison sits down with Brittany Means to discuss the power of the human spirit—and the written word—to combat the most harrowing of childhood memories.
Hailed by Jeannette Walls (author of The Glass Castle) as “Gut-wrenching but at the same time triumphant,” Hell If We Don’t Change Our Ways untangles the web of Means’s most painful memories, while crafting a tale of self-preservation, resilience, and hope.
Synopsis – Brittany Means’s childhood was a blur of highways and traumas that collapsed any effort to track time. Riding shotgun as her mother struggled to escape abusive relationships, Brittany didn’t care where they were going—a roadside Midwestern motel, a shelter, or to The Barn in Indiana (the cluttered mansion her Pentecostal grandparents called home) as long as they were together. But every so often, her mom would surprise her—and leave.
As Brittany grew older and questioned her own complicated relationships and the poverty, abuse, and instability that enveloped her, she began to recognize that hell wasn’t only the place she read about in the Bible; it was the cycle of violence that her family was stuck repeating. Through footholds such as horror movies, neuropsychology, and strong bonds, Brittany makes sense of this cycle and finds a way to leave it.
Photo Credits – Brittany Means (photo by Jeff Owens and provided by the author); Cover (by Zibby Books and used with permission)
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