Coming out in the American Lives series from University of Nebraska Press on September 1st, 2022. Pre-order now!
“Christman’s writing is moving and poetic, and she has a knack for imbuing profundity into everyday activities, whether slicing an avocado or climbing a hill. Fans of the personal essay shouldn’t miss these intimate encounters.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
If This Were Fiction is a love story—for Jill Christman’s long-ago fiancé, who died young in a car accident; for her children; for her husband, Mark; and ultimately, for herself. In this collection, Christman takes on the wide range of situations and landscapes she encountered on her journey from wild child through wounded teen to mother, teacher, writer, and wife. In these pages there are fatal accidents and miraculous births; a grief pilgrimage that takes Christman to jungles, volcanoes, and caves in Central America; and meditations on everything from sexual trauma and the more benign accidents of childhood to gun violence, indoor cycling, unlikely romance, and even a ghost or two. Playing like a lively mixtape in both subject and style, If This Were Fiction focuses an open-hearted, frequently funny, clear-eyed feminist lens on Christman’s first fifty years and sends out a message of love, power, and hope.
More praise for If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays
“Reading these essays is like hanging out with a true friend, someone who isn’t afraid to be real. Jill Christman writes about love, loss, trauma, fear, parenthood, and the strange wonder of our past and former selves with deep understanding, humor, and so much beauty.”—Beth (Bich Minh) Nguyen, author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
“If This Were Fiction is the collection I wish I had the talent and skill to write. Christman’s words shine with unusual beauty and hard-earned brilliance.”—Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter
“What is more complex than love, marriage, motherhood, and family? Probably nothing, but Jill Christman takes the deep dive, with intelligent, intense, intimate essays that will catch you off guard and leave you wanting more. If This Were Fiction is a piercing book by a brilliant, gutsy writer.“—Dinty W. Moore, author of To Hell with It