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The history of the Nayers was divided by one violent accidental moment In the time it took her to light a match in the cellar of their rented vacation home Dorothy and her husband Hank were engulfed in a flash fireShe barely survived her face scarred beyond recognition her body required to endure thirty seven operations He was scarcely better off convinced that survival had been the cruelest of outcomesYet the greatest injustice of all was the estrangement of their young daughters who didn’t see their parents for nine months after the accident Their reconnection to people who no longer seemed familiar was painful and slow Four decades later their daughter Louise recounts this difficult transformation with a poetic candor that evokes the relentless determination of her mother and the silent desperation of her father Burned is the story of how life can be restored through the sheer force of will


10 thoughts on “Burned

  1. says:

    A loving family of four handsome successful doctor Hank who was also the doctor for the NYFD beautiful and smart wife Dorothy a nurse two daughters Louise the author 4 and Annie 6 A vacation cottage on Cape Cod A faulty gas valveA flash fire that engulfed the parentsAfter almost a year of living with loving relatives and not understanding how their parents could still be alive and yet not visit or call Louise and Annie finally return to far different parents than they rememberedBurned beyond recognition and with 4 years of grafting surgeries to go Dorothy must call up every ounce of strength and courage she can muster to keep her family going return to her career and to face the world Hank although burned a lot less severely spirals into deep depressionLouise writes with courage and honesty about her and her family's struggles and about the psychic scars she still bears today I couldn't put this book down read it in one day


  2. says:

    A harrowing but ultimately hopeful account of a family tragedy and its aftermath Nayer is a poet as well as memoirist and that fact is evident throughout the telling of her story That this clear eyed account of a disfiguring fire that might have destroyed her parents and by extension Nayer and her sister is a compelling read while never looking away from the reality of pain physical and emotional is a testament both to Nayer's prodigious ability as a writer and to her deep humanity


  3. says:

    Strange use of voice and tone but the story itself was interesting I thought there would be psychological depth


  4. says:

    Written by a friend of my family About her parents getting tragically burned survived and how she and her sister were separated from them for years after


  5. says:

    This book was pretty amazing A good description of psychology as well I couldn't tear myself away from it unfortunately it was like staring at a car wreck imagining this family 's pain


  6. says:

    I have a hard time getting into memoirs of the upper middle class If you're RICH like tycoonesque I can dig it If you're just the child of a well to do doctor in the 50s I'm not so into it This is about Nayer's parents who were severely burned in a flash fire while vacationing on Cape Cod It mostly covered Nayer's emotional distress as a small child she was four when the accident occurred and it mostly feltlike the author had already written about the topic a lot Does that make sense? Like SHE felt she needed to publish a whole memoir about this life changing event but the writing style and scope were tired and overly self serving


  7. says:

    I picked up this book after signing up for a memoir workshop with Louise Nayer to get a better idea of what kind of writer she is and I'm so glad I did This book was beautifully written The story at times is absolutely cringe worthy but I still wanted I was heartbroken by the loss but completely empowered by Dorothy's resilience The poetic nature of the writer's voice creates a sort of enticing beauty out of something so undeniably tragic I felt like I was really a part of each scene feeling everything from the texture of the dog's fur at the farmhouse to the painful judging glares from the people on the city streets I highly recommend


  8. says:

    I found it inspiring that Louise Nayer had the courage to share some of her life's most tragic events in this memoir The ordeal of being away from her parents for so long after their accident obviously changed the entire course of her life I assume or at least hope that she found writing this book to be cathartic perhaps as another step toward recoveryHowever I can't say that I found the writing style to be very engaging I honestly put this book aside for several months when I was only about half way through I found it hard to believe that she could remember so many events from her childhood with such great detail and with no attribution to anyone describing it to her again later I think she took artistic liberties to express what she's sure she would have seen felt or heard but I don't believe this is truly how she remembers things Nonetheless it is a unique and touching story so I'm glad I decided to finish it


  9. says:

    For whatever reason before I got my hands on a copy of this book I was under the impression that the author was a bit older when her parents had their accident a child but one old enough to have a grasp of what was going on But given how young she was and how little kids were told at the time wow that must have been difficult for all involvedThe author's mother though sounds like an absolute pillar of strength Where Hank her father falters and struggles to maintain equilibrium he's clearly very seriously depressed after the accident Dorothy the mother seems to take stock take a moment for herself and thenshe gets on with living because she doesn't see another choice I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for any of them and I think the author's youth at the time probably made it harder in some ways to reconstruct that year but what really stands out is her mother's determination throughout


  10. says:

    This memoir is not about a dysfunctional abusive familylike so many I've read but rather a loving supportive famiy torn apart by the parents' horrific burns caused by an accident and the months of required convalescence The author interviewed her parents and sister about the time the family was forever changed The mother despite her disfiguring burns reclaims her children and gets her husband out of his depressive state to start their lives over again Author goes into detail about the medical treatment the parents endured and how they slowly came together again Very inspiring without being maudlin or overly sentimental