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In the Dream House

A Memoir
Written by: Carmen Maria Machado
Narrated by: Carmen Maria Machado
Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming. 

And it's that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope - the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman - through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.  

Machado's dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.

©2019 Carmen Maria Machado (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about In the Dream House

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Beautiful and devastating

Carmen Maria Machado reading her memoir of domestic abuse was spellbinding. Many stories within a story, woven seamlessly with moments of film, history, and research. Heart-thumping narrative, balanced by soothing self reflection.

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An Act of Love

This memoir is an intelligent, highly creative, committed, courageous, exposing, tender, and vulnerable act of love from the author toward herself, and toward anyone who reads/recieves this book.

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  • SeattleBookLover
  • 2020-02-04

Devastatingly Beautiful

I am not really sure where to start with this one. First I’ll say that memoirs are not a favorite genre of mine, but the subject matter of this made me overlook that. You see, I too was involved with an emotionally and psychologically abusive female partner for close to three decades. I finally got the courage to end it three years ago, but I continue to work through the after effects. I never once told anyone what was going on in my home, and now the shame I feel at having put up with such dysfunction for so long can be overwhelming. On top of that, I must explain to everyone why I ended it, because to the rest of the world, my partner was perfect. I know some of them doubt my recounting of what happened, because, “You know, we never saw any bruises so really, was it all that bad?” In retrospect, I desperately wish I had told someone, somewhere along the way, as it would have made this part easier. Consequently, I have felt very alone in this and I desperately wanted to find someone who understood what I was going through. Thank you, Carmen Maria Machado. You did that for me. You made me feel that I’m not alone. I love the way she tells this story, in bits and pieces, because that’s how you feel when you’re in a relationship like this. You cannot tell a story like this linearly. Logically, you know that everything happened linearly, but in your mind everything gets jumbled together. Some days—or hours—were idyllic. Others were horrifying. When did the idyllic day end and the horrifying day start? When you look back, you remember all these disjointed scenes and struggle to put them all together into a cohesive whole that you can understand and process. Yes, there was no other way to tell this story but in short vignettes, and the end result is devastatingly beautiful and heartbreakingly real. Ms. Machado is sensitive, intelligent, articulate, poetic, and unflinchingly honest. This book is gorgeous and it was a lifesaver to me. I recommend this without the tiniest hesitation.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Christine
  • 2019-12-26

painfully gorgeous

I love how lyrical this book is, and I love when authors themselves read a work, especially a memoir or bio.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-13

Narration distracts from an interesting story

Interesting story but unfortunately the narrator's over-dramatic and self-important cadence gave it the feel of being in the audience of a poetry slam.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Wanjsash
  • 2020-05-22

interesting style of writing, terrible narration

I really struggled with this author's narration. it was so breathy and over dramatic and even though her story might have been authentic, her narration took away from it. I failed to understand why she just didn't sound herself like normal story telling. I wouldn't recommend it.

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  • Kmacgrady
  • 2020-02-03

Emotional, honest, and captivating.

This tragically beautiful story has impacted me in so many ways, but to hear Carmen read her own painful words was an experience in itself.

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  • Nadine Remala
  • 2020-01-23

Thank you...

This book was relatable in so many way and not in others. And both are written in such a beautiful way.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Katie B
  • 2020-01-21

Beautiful, Heartbreaking, Hypnotic

Fantastic narration by the author, this book is like nothing I've read before. Well worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-18

Important Honest & Poetic Memoir

Machado has proven again that she is one of the best new voices we have. This memoir is radically honest and poetic. But also, expansive, as the author wrestles to both come to terms with her own espero en e of abuse and place it within some social//historical context. Machado is also one of the rare writers who reads her work better than any actor could. A must read (listen!).

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  • ben scotti
  • 2020-01-17

Not an Easy Read

I was assigned this book for an Intro to Fiction class, the premise is interesting, a recounting of a relationship from its lustful beginning to its disastrous end. However the execution is not as straight forward. It is written as a series of memories and emotions being recalled and described by the author. Frankly I found it confusing. It's not necessarily a bad book, more so you have to be in the right kind of mind set to be able to adequately enjoy it. That and for me, personally, books that I'm made to read I usually find reasons not to enjoy.

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  • Ario
  • 2020-01-13

Well written, well narrated.

Fans of Her Body and Other Parties will love this (I did). Similar writing style and similar themes. It's well written, but I have to qualify that by saying that I don't think it's written for everyone, or to be enjoyed by everyone. It has a definite literary quality to it that I think will be polarizing among some readers. Otherwise, it was well narrated too. I don't always like books narrated by the author, but CMM was the right choice for this beautiful and sad and personal book.

1 person found this helpful