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Grand: A Memoir By Sara Schaefer

(Gallery Books)


Sara Schaefer was only in grade school when her life was turned upside down by a family scandal. Already a cautious child, she becomes even more vigilant in the face of this formative experience, which exacerbates her anxiety but also gifts Schaefer with an ironclad sense of humor that serves as a shield against life’s difficult circumstances. This talent for wit in the face of hardship serves her well in her chosen profession of comedy; she carves out dizzying career success while experiencing crushing grief at the loss of both a parent and her marriage. In her memoir, she takes readers on a river-rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Meant to celebrate a milestone birthday, this pilgrimage becomes a means to examine the shame Schaefer’s carried for so many years. Her companion is her sister, and together they unpack their shared familial grief with breathtaking candor. It’s hard not to root for the author of Grand. The magic of inspiring the reader to see herself in the pages of a memoir is the hallmark of any well-written autobiographical work, and Schaefer achieves this nimbly with a debut that more than lives up to its title.

By Brandy Barber 


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