Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism

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“I’m such a perfectionist.” Most of us savor the self-deprecating compliment, but not Elizabeth Tallent. Scratched dissects the disorder that thwarted her writing career for two decades, and the award-winning author’s memoir will alter our perception of the term.

Tallent’s narrative begins with her birth. She’s an unremarkable newborn except for one detail: a scratched eyelid. This defect may be impermanent, but her mother is horrified. Young Elizabeth never overcomes her mother’s first impression and she grows up embroiled in a fruitless battle for parental approval.

Tallent guides us through her loveless childhood, tumultuous marriages, and stymied creativity to comprehend that perfectionism is as destructive as it is alluring. The closer she comes to success, the quicker she sabotages herself in case she fails. Whether it be a relationship, a national reading, or a single sentence, she can’t coexist with human imperfection.

And yet, Scratched is worth every one of its 222 pages. We may not be perfectionists ourselves, but Tallent’s musical tone captures our emotions and envelops us in her grueling battles. Who hasn’t disappointed parents or failed romantic partners? Who hasn’t frozen in the face of career anxiety? Tallent’s courageous soul-searching beckons us to our own self-discovery. Once we join her, I doubt we’ll leave unchanged.


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Author Elizabeth Tallent
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2020-02-25
ISBN 9780062410375
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2020
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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