book cover of Slow Motion

Slow Motion

A non fiction book by

Dani Shapiro was rescued by tragedy. At the age of 23 she was a wreck-- a Sarah Lawrence college dropout, living the high life as the mistress (one of many, she later discovered) of her best friend's stepfather, Lenny, a high- profile New York City lawyer. It is the height of the excessive eighties, and Lenny goes to extravagant lengths to keep his woman, putting her up in a large downtown apartment, draping her in furs and flashy gems and spiriting her away by Concorde to Paris for weekend flings. When she isn't with Lenny, Shapiro leisurely courts an acting and modelling career and actively pursues her drug dealer, who delivers cocaine to her door.

She is at an expensive spa in California--far removed from the middle- class, orthodox Jewish home in which she was raised--when, one snowy night, her parents' car careers into the central reservation. Her return to New Jersey, to her parents' hospital bedsides, marks the beginning of a journey of discovery for which she will have to mine all her reserves of inner strength. She succeeds, and though the process is as arduous as it is painful, Shapiro finds within herself the power to nurse her mother through nearly 100 broken bones, to survive her father's death, and to reset the course of her life. Slow Motion ends where its subject's troubles began: with Shapiro, newly single, re-enrolling as an undergrad at Sarah Lawrence.

Shapiro, who is the author of three previous novels, writes sparely and avoids the excessive self-consciousness that plagues some memoirs. She develops her story carefully, drawing readers ever closer into her most intimate thoughts and fears. This honest, and sometimes brutal account of loss and recovery is an inspiration.

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