Slow Motion: A True Story by Dani Shapiro


Slow MotionSlow Motion by Dani Shapiro
Published: July 7, 1998
Publisher: Random House NY
Genre: Nonfiction / Creative Nonfiction / Memoir
Edition: Hardcover, 245 pages
ISBN: 9780156008471
Source: Purchased

Dani Shapiro, a young woman from a deeply religious home, became the girlfriend of a famous and flamboyant married attorney-her best friend’s stepfather. The moment Lenny Klein entered her life, everything changed: she dropped out of college, began drinking, and neglected her friends and family. But then came a phone call–an accident on a snowy road had left her parents critically injured. Forced to reconsider her life, Shapiro learned to re-enter the world she had left. Telling of a life nearly ruined by the gift of beauty, and then saved through tragedy, Shapiro’s memoir is a beautiful account of how a life gone terribly wrong can be rescued through tragedy.
(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)


One of the few gifts of spending so many years doing the wrong thing is the clarity with which I can see when something is right.

Dani Shapiro brings to the page unflinching truths about herself in her early to mid-20s. Raised in the Jewish tradition, Dani was also raised with money and privilege. Now in her second decade, she has become the mistress of her best friend’s step-father. 

From here, you can expect to read about multiple falls from grace but also an awakening triggered by the phone call changing everything.

Imagine learning that the man who had been your hero was dead and an ambulance took your mother to the hospital with multiple serious injuries following an auto accident. You are now in charge of settling your father’s estate and caring for your mother. How do you do this and continue the lifestyle you have adopted?

Painfully and carefully, Dani Shapiro steps us through her days and nights with candor. Written with novel-like care and leaning against the elegant wall of poetry, Shapiro’s story stays with her reader long after the reading is over.

A remarkable rite-of-passage story Slow Motion is the best of the best memoirs I’ve read in recent times.

Recommendation, red

There are those who won’t like Dani Shapiro’s story. Yet, there will also be those who don’t necessarily enjoy it, but find it a book worth reading. For example, this candid look at Shapiro’s life shows her ability to put her MFA in Creative Writing to good use. And her story could be the change in someone else’s life. You make the call–to read or not to read.

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