I’m sorry you feel that way… A memoir (sort of)
On a rainy May day in Milwaukee author Diana Joseph waits to read from her second published book at Oconomowoc’s Books and Company. She’s completing the last leg of the promotional tour for the paperback release of I’m Sorry You Feel That Way:The Astonishing But True Story of A Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, And Friend to Man & Dog. It’s quite a mouthful.
“It seemed to fit,” Joseph says of the lengthy title, “It’s probably one of the most passive-aggressive responses I can think of.”
Most of I’m sorry… was taken from the pages of Joseph’s personal journals and wrote most of the chapters “while she was living them.” In that sense, she considers the book to be more personal narrative than memoir.
With straightforward details and direct conversational statements, the narrative often makes one cringe, at other times smile and many times laugh. Joseph articulates the mundane, the unpredictability of daily life and the day-to-day dirt with stark factuality and rarely any sentiment. And yet underneath these droll musings and common themes there lies clarity and warmth.
Life for Joseph, and everyone, happens in unforeseeable terms, unknown until they stare you in the face. This is the astonishment she unravels without apology. She and her son ( now 18 years old) both survived and they’re doing well.
The reader innately understands these survival tactics as necessary in the modern world, and saying these things with honesty opens the doors to accepting them without undue guilt. But I was curious about the family and friends who have read the book —what did they think? Joseph says that her son calmly mentioned to his mother in passing, “There were some things about your sex life I didn’t need to know.”
Diana Joseph is the author of several books and short essays. She also teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University.