Fury by Koren Zailckas

Title:  Fury
Author:  Koren Zailckas
Release date:  September 7, 2010
Publisher:  Viking Adult
Pages:  336
Genre:  Memoir
Source:  Author

Since the publication of Zailckas’ first memoir about overcoming her addiction to alcohol, she has stayed sober and continued on with her career as a writer.  But something is holding her back from fully experiencing life – Koren’s inability to experience anger and display that emotion in an appropriate way.  Fury details the long road Zailckas embarks on to understand where this issue comes from in her life (hint: her family) and how she can learn to live with her anger in order to develop mature and honest relationships with the most important people in her life.

I read and enjoyed Koren Zailckas’ first memoir, Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood years ago, so when the author herself emailed me asking if I’d like to read her newest memoir, I jumped at the opportunity.  Overall, I thought it was a good memoir, different from her first one but in both good and bad ways.  I was nervous that it would end up being repetitive, or that Zailckas would come off as simply a person with “issues” who wanted to write about them.  But there’s a lot of development in this memoir, and I came to really like Koren Zailckas as a person having read this book.

It is clear from reading Fury that Zailckas is a writer.  Not a person who decided to write a memoir and then had a lot of help doing it, but a writer who just happened to have her own story to tell.  Her writing is conversational while being precise, thoughtful, and the perfect style for the kind of book she’s writing.  The biggest strength of this book, I think, is her ability to write a compelling and readable memoir while also telling a story that will resonate with a lot of people.

At times, Fury begins to feel a bit like one long therapy session, which makes sense because she does spend a LOT of time talking about therapy in the book, about what conclusions she’s drawing from her counseling sessions, and about how she’s applying those insights to her everyday life.  The therapy talk could get tedious to some readers, although I didn’t mind it too much.  I did, however, find the course of the book to be a bit meandering at times, especially in the middle it was almost like Zailckas lost her focus and the story didn’t really go anywhere.  But that was only for a little while in the middle, and once the focus resumed I really like how she tied things up for the second half of the book.

There are some deep, honest revelations about herself, her family, and her relationships with others that Zailckas experiences throughout Fury.  These gems made the entire experience of reading the book for me.  She really grew as a person and the Koren Zailckas at the end of the book was a completely different Korean Zailckas from the beginning of the book.  She went through a lot to get where she is now, and she was nice enough to write about her journey for all of us readers, which was quite a journey to read about!

Fury is a compelling, well-written memoir that will resonate with many readers.  While it’s not perfect, I did really enjoy it and would definitely recommend reading Fury.


13 thoughts on “Fury by Koren Zailckas”

  1. When I saw the cover and title I first thought it was about someone dealing with too much anger- not someone who failed to express it! It sounds interesting, but perhaps a difficult read.

    1. That’s kind of what I thought it would be about at first, too. In fact, she did suffer from anger issues, and at times too much of it, but it was kept bottled up instead of expressed properly.

  2. I’m super judgmental of other people’s therapists, especially in books. Whenever I read memoirs where people talk about their therapists, I like finding things that I think the therapists are doing wrong. It kind of gets in the way of my enjoyment of books with therapists. :p

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