A Family Exposure

Jill Christman

An unforgettable portrait of family tragedy and redemption


"Darkroom is a work of art, exquisitely written, spare, never self-indulgent. She pushes the memoir far beyond the usual litany of pain, Prozac and psychiatry to something transcendent and, at times, frighteningly beautiful. . . . Darkroom is raw and honest, a fine debut for a brave writer."
—Diane Roberts, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"How extraordinary: Christman can see so damned clearly in the darkest of rooms. But that's where everything develops, after all, for all of us—in the dark. In the dark, Christman starts feeling her way, stumbling and fumbling and getting knocked down and getting back up, feeling her way towards her own deliberate, tough and oh so sweetly gentle life. Everything is here: pain and love and failure; abuse and terror; shutting up and making up; and even one or two moments of elusive victory—so much shows up here that the whole thing could easily fall into cliché. But that's what really superb writing does: it rescues the ordinary and the everyday, it turns the minute miraculous. Christman has great talent. The book's a joy. Read it, and see how many bits of life come clear."
—Barry Sanders

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Jill Christman’s gripping and wise account of her first thirty years runs the gamut of dramatic life events, including childhood sexual abuse, accidental death, and psychological trauma. But this poignant memoir is much more than a litany of horrors; instead, it is an open-eyed and wide-hearted look at a life worth surviving. Through a shifting narrative of text and photographs, Christman explores the intersection of image and memory and considers the ways photographs force us to rework our original memories. Never sentimental, brutally honest, and surprisingly funny, Christman deftly blends narrative, quoted materials, her uncle’s letters, and her father’s photography to create a family saga that is both heartbreaking and exhilarating.
Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

Page count: 264 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

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Jill Christman is the author of two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (Georgia) and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood (Shebooks), as well as essays in journals such as Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, & River Teeth. She is a professor of English at Ball State University.