Spinning by Tillie Walden


I have a hard time writing something critical/potentially negative when it comes to memoirs, because in a way it does feel as if you’re rating someone’s life. However, my issue with this novel comes more from Walden’s writing and overall story telling than it does her subject. 

It seems as if Walden has overcome a lot in her young life, but because of her delivery (or perhaps lack thereof) I wasn’t able to get the full impact or be affected by it. We spend a lot of time on trivial matters/subjects, but when big things such as sexual assault, homophobia, accidents, etc arrive, Walden just sort of brushes it off? 

The tone throughout this entire book is detached and unengaged. It feels as if we’re being told a story of a friend of a friend’s without knowing any of the intimate details. For example, Walden describes her twin as being the closest person to her, yet we don’t see any of that in the book, and when he does show up I’m left surprised because I’d forgotten about his existence. 

Similar to how Walden insinuates a rough relationship with her mother, yet we’re never really shown any of the grit or the why. The story as a whole feels separate to Walden like she hasn’t necessarily tapped into what she’s been through or simply does not want to. 

Lastly, a bit that bothered me was when Walden says in her memoir that she doesn’t have a passion for drawing it’s just something she does and feels a need to complete. To me it summarized the feeling of apathy throughout the book. It may very well be that she doesn’t love drawing, but my point is that doesn’t resonate with a reader that just spent time or money investing in her story. I would rather read from someone that genuinely has a passion for their work, fought to get her/his/their place, than from someone that just did it to do it. 

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