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Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2012
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile it to her present life—one in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.
 
As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so that she, too, could fully belong to the tight-knit Deaf community that embraced her parents. Her beautiful mother was a saint who would swiftly correct anyone’s notion that deaf equaled dumb. Her handsome father, on the other hand, was more likely to be found hanging out with the sinners. Strong, gregarious, and hardworking, he managed to turn a wild plot of land into a family homestead complete with running water and electricity. To Kambri, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis Presley all rolled into one.
 
But if Kambri’s dad was Superman, then the hearing world was his kryptonite. The isolation that accompanied his deafness unlocked a fierce temper—a rage that a teenage Kambri witnessed when he attacked her mother, and that culminated fourteen years later in his conviction for another violent crime. 
 
With a smart mix of brutal honesty and blunt humor, Kambri Crews explores her complicated bond with her father—which begins with adoration, moves to fear, and finally arrives at understanding—as she tries to forge a new connection between them while he lives behind bars. Burn Down the Ground is a brilliant portrait of living in two worlds—one hearing, the other deaf; one under the laid-back Texas sun, the other within the energetic pulse of New York City; one mired in violence, the other rife with possibility—and heralds the arrival of a captivating new voice.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/28/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345532206
ASIN:
B004W3FIZS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kambri Crews. (2012). Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kambri Crews. 2012. Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kambri Crews, Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kambri Crews. Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Kambri Crews owns her own PR and production company specializing in comedy. A renowned storyteller and public speaker, she has appeared at the Moth, Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and SXSW Interactive. She splits her time between Astoria, Queens, and Cochecton, New York, with her husband, comedian Christian Finnegan.
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title
Burn Down the Ground
fullDescription

In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile it to her present life—one in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.
 
As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so that she, too, could fully belong to the tight-knit Deaf community that embraced her parents. Her beautiful mother was a saint who would swiftly correct anyone’s notion that deaf equaled dumb. Her handsome father, on the other hand, was more likely to be found hanging out with the sinners. Strong, gregarious, and hardworking, he managed to turn a wild plot of land into a family homestead complete with running water and electricity. To Kambri, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis Presley all rolled into one.
 
But if Kambri’s dad was Superman, then the hearing world was his kryptonite. The isolation that accompanied his deafness unlocked a fierce temper—a rage that a teenage Kambri witnessed when he attacked her mother, and that culminated fourteen years later in his conviction for another violent crime. 
 
With a smart mix of brutal honesty and blunt humor, Kambri Crews explores her complicated bond with her father—which begins with adoration, moves to fear, and finally arrives at understanding—as she tries to forge a new connection between them while he lives behind bars. Burn Down the Ground is a brilliant portrait of living in two worlds—one hearing, the other deaf; one under the laid-back Texas sun, the other within the energetic pulse of New York City; one mired in violence, the other rife with possibility—and heralds the arrival of a captivating new voice.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Paula Froelich, author of the New York Times bestseller Mercury in Retrograde
      • content:

        "Surprisingly funny and uplifting, this touching account of a deaf family living on the edge is raw and candid. Crews writes beautifully, honestly, and with deep affection about her conflicted relationship with her father and her love for her family, in good times and bad."

      • premium: False
      • source: Mandy Stadtmiller, columnist, New York Post
      • content: "Kambri Crews is an exceptional writer. Her voice is fresh, fearless, and singular--with an ability to craft a story you will never be able to forget, but also won't be able to stop talking about."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jane Borden, author of I Totally Meant to Do That
      • content: "A riveting American tale, delivered with clear eyes and great love. In the face of incredible hardship, Crews endures."
      • premium: False
      • source: Julie Klausner, author of I Don't Care About Your Band
      • content: "Addictive and heartbreaking, Kambri's memoir demonstrates both true grit and a sense of humor that exists only among the very sharpest of those who have survived extraordinary childhoods."
      • premium: False
      • source: Annabelle Gurwitch, co-author of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up
      • content: "Imagine living in a tin shed, growing up as the hearing child of deaf parents, seeing your father attack your mother, or sneaking gum into prison. Those are just half of the challenges Kambri Crews faced growing up. Burn Down the Ground is a story of triumph in the face of poverty, alcoholism, violence, and, worst of all, heartbreakingly powerful love."
      • premium: False
      • source: Julie Rems-Smario, executive director, DeafHope
      • content: "In my eyes, Kambri Crews is a heroine. It takes a person--a survivor--with a miraculous magnitude of strength to be able to see the human side of her father in spite of what he did."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sara Benincasa, author of Agorafabulous
      • content: "Kambri Crews is a survivor, and a fiercely witty one. Her memories of growing up with two volatile deaf parents in the backwoods of Texas will inspire, delight, horrify, and amaze you. The matter-of-fact way in which she describes traumatic and painful events puts me in mind of Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, and Rick Bragg's All Over but the Shoutin'. Read this unforgettable account of an American family's tragic explosion and the tough-as-nails young woman who walked out of the ashes to tell her tale."
      • premium: False
      • source: Elle Magazine
      • content: "As well-paced and stirring as a novel. In her fluid narrative ... Crews neither wallows in self-pity nor plays for cheap black-comedic yuks. Instead, this book stands out for what matters most: Crews' story, bluntly told."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Harrowing...What Kambri has done is face the truth with an unflinching eye... a remarkable odyssey of scorched earth, collateral damage, and survival... intensely readable."
      • premium: False
      • source: BookPage
      • content: "[A] vivid and affectionate depiction of life with two deaf parents.. like Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, Burn Down the Ground interweaves the toughness and laughter of an impoverished Texan childhood... Her story is a testament to her resilience, and to the power of recognition and forgiveness to heal childhood wounds."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "[Crews] renders a compelling testament to the strength of the human spirit."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 28, 2011
        In her intensely readable memoir, Crews, who owns a PR company in New York City, paints a vivid portrait of an impoverished childhood in rural Texas with hearing-impaired parents, her father who’s her hero turned monster. For the family, life is so hardscrabble that at one point they have to live in the shed once home to her horse. Despite many such moments, they love their pioneering Little House days without indoor plumbing or electricity. Crews even has her own Pa Ingalls, a craftsman father who rebuilds a bridge connecting their isolated hamlet to the outside world. “In my eyes, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis Presley all rolled into one.” But underneath her idyllic early years, as her extremely protective mother comes to reveal in pieces, her father has a ballooning dark side sparked by raging frustration and alcoholism. Arrests, womanizing, and a mysterious bruise on her mother’s cheek set the harrowing stage for Crews’s adolescence. When she is in high school, the escalating violence sets off a cataclysmic chain of events and her dad ends up in prison for attempted murder. Crews finds solace in a boyfriend, marries before she graduates, and plots her getaway from Texas and her fractured family. But she is left with conflicted memories of a man she once adored and came to fear. Finally, it’s the lingering recollections of a loving father that Crews is able to hold onto.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2012
        A New York publicist and producer's unsparing yet compassionate account of her dysfunctional childhood and the father who both charmed and victimized her family. As the hearing child of two deaf adults, Crews grew up between worlds. Her outsider status increased when she and her parents moved to Boars Head, Texas, a place that "wasn't even on the map." At first, their new life, though undeniably difficult, seemed a glorious, backwoods adventure--the perfect tonic for her father's roving eye and failing marriage. But not long after they moved from their tin-shed shelter into a mobile home, Crews began to see evidence of domestic abuse that took the form of mysterious bruises on her mother's face and inexplicably cruel behavior in her brother. Her home life continued to show signs of ugly undercurrents, yet only silence prevailed, and the author threw herself into school and a full-time job. Meanwhile, her carpenter father began losing jobs and turning to alcohol and gambling while her mother struggled to support a splintering family. When Crews was 16, she witnessed "by far the most traumatic incident I had ever experienced in my life": her father destroying the family home and brutalizing her mother. Even after she found success in her career, her past was far from behind her. At age 31, she received the shattering news that her father had stabbed his girlfriend. Rather than blame her father for his actions, however, Crews chose to embrace a more difficult truth. She, along with her own family--in collusion with a society and criminal-justice system insensitive to the needs of domestic-abuse victims--had contributed to what he had become. Poignant and unsettling.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2012
        Talk about your unconventional upbringings. Crews, the hearing daughter of deaf parents, spent a sizable chunk of her childhood living in a tin shack in rural Texas. Her father, mother, and older brother endured periods of time without power, and Crews describes the sheer joy experienced when her father flipped a switch, and the lights finally went on. A construction worker and gifted craftsman, Crews' father also had a hot temper that became even more fiery when fueled with alcohol. Though her mother tried to shelter her from her dad's abusive behavior, Crews often bore witness to his wrath. When the author was in her 30s, her father was sentenced to two decades in prison for attempted murder. Despite his violent nature, she still loved him and visited him in jail, fearing his deafness would make him an easy target among fellow inmates. With courage and determination, Crews cleared the hurdles of her harrowing youth to become a successful New York producer. Here she renders a compelling testament to the strength of the human spirit.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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In this powerful, affecting, and unflinching memoir, a daughter looks back on her unconventional childhood with deaf parents in rural Texas while trying to reconcile it to her present life—one in which her father is serving a twenty-year sentence in a maximum-security prison.
 
As a child, Kambri Crews wished that she’d been born deaf so that she, too, could fully belong to the tight-knit Deaf community that embraced her parents. Her beautiful mother was a saint who would swiftly correct anyone’s notion that deaf equaled dumb. Her handsome father, on the other hand, was more likely to be found hanging out with the sinners. Strong, gregarious, and hardworking, he managed to turn a wild plot of land into a family homestead complete with running water and electricity. To Kambri, he was Daniel Boone, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ben Franklin, and Elvis Presley all rolled into one.
 
But if Kambri’s dad was Superman, then the hearing world was...

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