The First House | A Memoir in Progress | 21 4 26
Amy Agigian is a Suffolk University Sociology professor and the founding director of the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights. She is a known professor, writer and feminist. Agigian is well respected within the Suffolk community and that was quickly known when I entered the room for her reading and the seats were full.
Along with me in the room were fellow classmates, professors and Amy’s personal friends, it was exciting to see such a big group of supporters and interested listeners.
Before starting her reading she told us that the selected chapters she would be reading from her book were mainly about her mom and she admitted that she was “probably going to cry.” The vulnerability announced in the beginning of the reading session allowed for there to be be a comfortable and relaxed mood/environment and when she began reading it was as if I have been knowing her for my entire life. Amy had that ‘I was a cool and rebellious teen’ vibe going on and it only made me want to connect with her even more.
She described her book as having ‘difficult and funny stories that needed to be told.’ She confessed proudly that her book was 90% done and that feedback after the reading was over would be greatly appreciated. The books timeline goes from she was very young to almost the present day.
She began with “A Life in Beverages.” In this chapter Amy recounts her life and her moms life through an array of beverages. She tells us that her memories of her childhood spent with her mom can be remembered through holidays too and what was beverages were served there. A thing that I noticed from Amy’s style of writing was that she loves to write in lists and it was obvious from the first chapter read to the last. Through the use of lists she was able to convey striking images and described life as it actually is, just a bunch of lists and images stacked one on top of the other
A chapter I particularly enjoyed was “How I Became A Sociologist.” Amy recounts her time as a child when she got diagnosed with heart arrhythmia. She had an extra beat every 50 beats and she thought that was the coolest thing, like ever. When Amy says that getting diagnosed with heart arrhythmia it kind of throws the listeners off and question why?, but then she flat out says ‘I was not an athletic child.” She loved the fact that she was restricted from doing physical activities and basked in the glory when her classmates would all go outside for recess and she remained inside and kept herself preoccupied with snooping around her classmates desks. This chapter provided the listeners with laughter after previous, heavy chapters were read. She was like any other kid…curious.
The First House surrounded her mom but it also encompassed her family and her friends and it was full of love. She wrote about happy times, confusing times and funny times but she her goal was to write an authentic Amy Agigian book so of course she wrote about the bad times. A couple of the chapters she read like ‘I Do Not Want My Mom To Fall In Love With Anyone Else But Me” and “Coming Out To Clara” describe times of jealousy and times full of doubt and fear. By adding the bad in with the good Amy creates a ‘real’ mom, a mom that people can relate to and who’s relationship can reflect that of others. This is why her book will be successful, there is no extra fluff or padding, Amy gives it to you and she gives it to you good.
The stories within each chapter add up to the woman the Amy Agigian is today. It is obvious that she was built strong. The reading took me through a timeline of her life and it was like I saw it all happening, from wanting to be her moms favorite to wanting to protect her mom and the accusations that can come from her being a lesbian to thinking one day at summer camp how when she grows up she wants to be a bisexual too just like her camp leader!
Great read, genuine person and awesome experience!