Book Review: Tragedy + Time: A Tragic-Comic Memoir by Adam Cayton-Holland

Tragedy Plus Time
Title: Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir
Author: Adam Cayton-Holland
Release Date: August 21st, 2018
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 256
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir

In the tradition of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Truth & Beauty—from one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch,” a poignant tragicomic memoir about the author’s beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking relationship with his younger sister and the depression that took her life.

Adam Cayton-Holland went from a painfully sensitive kid growing up in Denver, Colorado, to a writer and performer with a burgeoning career in comedy. His father, a civil rights lawyer, and his mother, an investigative journalist, taught Adam and his two sisters to feel the pain of the world deeply and to combat it through any means necessary. Adam chose to meet life’s tough breaks and cruel realities with stand-up comedy; his older sister chose law; their youngest sister, Lydia, struggled with mental illness and ultimately took her own life.

This devastating tragedy strikes the Cayton-Holland household at the same moment Adam’s career is finally getting off the ground. Both a moving tribute to a lost sibling and an inspiring guide to navigating grief and pain, Tragedy Plus Time is a heartbreaking, honest, and darkly funny memoir about trying your hardest to choose life in the wake of a terrible loss.

 Tragedy + Time reminded me what I love about memoirs, and non fiction. I haven't read many but this had so many elements that I found myself thinking about, even when I put the book down. 

Adam Cayton-Holland is a comedian, which adds some humor into his writing. I found him to be funny, in a way that it felt authentic, like it was a part of him. But there was a seriousness throughout the book as well. I felt like there was a perfect balance of humor, seriousness and delving into deeper topics. I wanted to keep diving in to the book  but at the same time, I wanted to stop and savor every word that I was reading.

I enjoyed seeing the array of topics throughout Cayton-Holland's life. He talked about his family, his childhood, his sisters, and his comedic professional life. He tells the story of his sister, who committed suicide. He gives a beautiful tribute to her life while keeping things realistic. This is a story worth reading about. This story is real, complicated and full of heart.

If you enjoy memoirs, this is one you should check out. If you're hesitant to dive into nonfiction or memoirs or you've never read them before, this would be a good one to start with. 

Happy Reading from me to you!


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