Natasha Trethewey was the 19th poet laureate of The United States, and much of her memoir is poetic, although written in prose. Trethewey’s mother was a Black women from Mississippi and her father was a White Canadian. They met on a college campus, married, had one daughter and then divorced when the author was young. Her mother then met and married an abusive, mentally ill man who threatened the whole family and eventually murdered Natasha’s mother.
For me, Memorial Drive was not so much a memoir but rather a means for the author to come to terms with her mother’s horrific death. While very well-written, I felt Memorial Drive was a cathartic experience for Trethewey, and I was merely tagging along.