• I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This

  • A Memoir
  • By: Nadja Spiegelman
  • Narrated by: Nadja Spiegelman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Travel and Leisure and New York Magazine/The Cut Best Book of Summer

A memoir of mothers and daughters - and mothers as daughters - traced through four generations, from Paris to New York and back again.

For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers - French-born New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly - exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja's body changed and "began to whisper to the adults around me in a language I did not understand", their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother's past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Françoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father, one of the first plastic surgeons in France. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them.

It had taken an ocean to allow Françoise the distance to become her own person. At about the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, moving to Paris, determined to get to know the woman her mother had fled. Her grandmother's memories contradicted her mother's at nearly every turn, but beneath them lay a difficult history of her own. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past in order to forge ahead, their narratives both weapon and defense, eternally in conflict. Every listener will recognize herself and her family in this gorgeous and heartbreaking memoir, which helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most.

©2016 Nadja Spiegelman (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A richly detailed memoir about the contradictory life narratives that connect and divide four generations of women.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Piercingly honest and uncommonly generous, allowing space for the vagaries of memory and different generational spins.” (Vogue)  

“Arresting.... [Spiegelman] investigates the complicated, contested mythologies of her maternal family...[she] is insightful about the malleability and power of memory...eloquent...[and] sharp.” (NPR) 

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What listeners say about I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Aweful

The story line was decent but the narrative missed the Mark completely. Felt the narrator droned on and on over details that made no sense, I recommend this to no one

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully told story

At the top of my all time favorite memoirs. Often struck by her perfect use of descriptive language. Each person came fully to life.