Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster #ChasingTarzan @DizzCat @WomenonWriting

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN-10: 1684339402
ISBN-13: 978-1684339402
Print length: 163 pages

About the Book:

In the 1960s, a relentless school bully makes Catherine’s life a living hell. She retreats inward, relying on a rich fantasy life––swinging through the jungle wrapped in Tarzan’s protective arms––and fervent prayers to a God she does not trust. She fasts until she feels faint, she ties a rough rope around her waist as penance, hoping God will see her worthy of His help.

As the second of eight children, Catherine is Mommy’s little helper, and like Mommy, Catherine is overwhelmed. The bullying and the adult responsibilities together foment her anger. She starts smacking her siblings, and becomes her younger sister’s nemesis. Spooked by who she is becoming, Catherine vows to escape for real, before she hurts someone—or herself.

Catherine finds salvation in a high school exchange program: new town, new school, new family, new persona. A passport celebrity. In New Zealand, nobody knows her history or her fears. Except for her Kiwi “mum,” who sees through Catherine’s façade and pulls her out from her inner safe-house. Exposed, her sense of self implodes. Catherine must finally rethink who she is.

About the Author:

Catherine Forster honed her powers of observation early on, and later applied them to artistic endeavors. Although it didn’t happen overnight, she discovered that seeing and hearing a bit more than the average person can be beneficial. As an artist, her work has exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and abroad. Her experimental films have won accolades and awards in more than thirty international film festivals, from Sao Paulo to Berlin, Los Angeles to Rome, London to Romania. Through her work, she explores the dynamics of girlhood, notions of identity, and the role technology plays in our relationship with nature.

In her capacity as an independent curator, she founded LiveBox, an eight-year project that introduced new media arts to communities at a time when few new what media arts was. For the past four years she has been a member of the curatorial team for the Experiments In Cinema Film Festival held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Masters of Business from the London Business School, and a fellowship in writing from the Vermont Studio Center. She is also included in the Brooklyn Art Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

You can follow her on her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: bullying, weight issues

I seem to have been finding a string of great memoirs recently, and so I was really happy and intrigued when I was contacted via my blog to review this. I was very intrigued by Catherine Forster’s author bio, and was so eager to start Chasing Tarzan.

It’s a great fast-paced memoir about life, travel and body issues. Catherine Forster is an amazing storyteller and I found this so relaxing to listen to as my iPad screenreader read it out.

There are challenges to deal with: Catherine’s dad is moved from place to place and they live in so many places. Catherine has to deal with relentless bullying at school from Hunter and at home from her brother, Steve. I identified with the school bullying although it was not because of my weight.

The writing is flawless and peppered with amazing detail. It’s so visual, from what she saw, felt, remembered and experienced, to the cookies she and her siblings made (my mouth was watering and I identified so much with the smell and taste of fresh baking as I loved to eat the dough, too).

I love the journey across 9 states and felt like I was there. The family relationships are really well documented and realistic and the chaos of this large family’s daily life is contagious.

The connection with Tarzan is very cleverly woven in to the story.

I was gripped by every word.

Chasing Tarzan is fully deserving of five stars, it’s an outstanding memoir with excellent attention to detail.

5 stars

Where to Buy:

Purchase a copy of Chasing Tarzan on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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