Heavy Hangs the Head

Hipp, Taryn

The intro to Taryn Hipp's "memoir novella" begins, "The first time I decided to write my story of sobriety, I was somewhere around two years sober. I put my story down on paper, copied it and shared it with strangers and friends, even my family." I love that "even my family." It's such a zinester thing to say and feel. I also love that she writes toward the end of the intro "I am a zine maker, not a book writer, and this is a perfect bound zine as much as it is a book." Heavy Hangs the Head does read like an extended-play zine, rather than like a short memoir/memoirvella, but the package is for sure a full-fledged book. Sage of Sweet Candy did a beautiful job with the production and publishing.

If it weren't for Taryn's disclaimer that her work was a zine in book form, I might have been disappointed that the story isn't more complete. It would be neat to see Taryn take time some day and fill in the blanks and write a more detailed memoir, but in the meantime her story of love, loss, drunkenness and sobriety has something to say to just about everyone. Here's one tidbit that made me, a fellow first-born sibling LOL a little, "We would pile all of our things onto the bed and set sail on a voyage. We would be at sea only briefly before I would throw [my sister] overboard to be eaten alive by sharks." I also related to Taryn's observations of her sister in childbirth, from having witnessed a friend's labor and delivery.

The book ends with a sentiment I often express about zines. I suppose it would be awfully spoilerish to share a book's ending in a review, so I'll refrain. Read it. If you're like me, it'll only take you a day.

Sep 6 2013