Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

Editor’s Note

“A delicate constellation...”

Fashion & culture journalist LaCava's memoir of her expatriate adolescence in France and her quiet mental unraveling is a delicate constellation of poetic prose, beautiful illustrations, and in-depth footnotes.
Mallory F.
Scribd Editor

A haunting and moving collection of original narratives that reveals an expatriate's coming-of-age in Paris and the magic she finds in ordinary objects

An awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects.

When her father's mysterious job transports her and her family to the quaint Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet, everything changes for the young American. Stephanie sets out to explore her new surroundings and to make friends at her unconventional international school, but her curiosity soon gives way to feelings of anxiety and a deep depression.

In her darkest moments, Stephanie learns to filter the world through her peculiar lens, discovering the uncommon, uncelebrated beauty in what she finds. Encouraged by her father through trips to museums and scavenger hunts at antique shows, she traces an interconnected web of narratives of long-ago outsiders, and of objects historical and natural, that ultimately help her survive.

A series of illustrated essays that unfolds in cinematic fashion, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects offers a universal lesson—to harness the power of creativity to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment to find wonder in the uncertainty of the future.

Topics: Paris, Illustrated, Depression, Expat Life, Female Author, Poetic, Collecting, American Author, and Mental Illness

Published: HarperCollins on Dec 4, 2012
ISBN: 9780062223661
List price: $8.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LaCava
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

seems interesting!
read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is a differently and originally written type of memoir. Moving to Paris as a child, Stephanie feels a strong disconnect to her own life and emotions. Objects, which had always been important to her, become even more so as she uses them to feel a connection to life. She collects archaic facts and figures about people and objects and these also help to fill in the void. Quite a different and inventive way to deal with her loneliness and subsequent depression. I love trivia, and O found the footnotes and pictures in this book wonderful. So many little factoids; that one out of every three bugs is a beetle, the meaning and poisonous qualities of lilies of the valley, the importance and history of rings and bangles and so much more. Also a unique way of showing the reader how her mind was working in its attempt to survive. I gave this book 4 stars because it isn't your usual type of whoa is me, abusive childhood type of memoir and for the unique way in which it is presented.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Moving is hard. It's hard as a child and as an adult. And as strange as it sounds, it can be hardest on the awkward, shy, and introverted. Because it takes them so much time to warm up to people and they spend so much time in their own self-contained world, when they venture out of that comfortable solitude, they are more alone than the extroverted person who has had to leave behind a whole pack of friends. I know this because I am that person. And I have moved six times as a child and seven times as an adult. Nothing about moving is easy. But I've never had to move to another country and face cultural and language barriers in addition to the rest of the stresses of moving. Stephanie LaCava was just twelve when her father moved her family to France from the US. As she recounts in her unique and fascinating memoir, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects, this move, coming as it did when she was already feeling like a misfit, absolutely decimated her. As chronicled in these pages, she collected objects that became a way of keeping her anchored to the world, her way of reaching for connection during a painful and hard time of her life.The memoir itself is told in a series of essays capturing memories linked through the cabinet of curiousities that LaCava was accumulating as she struggled to fit into her ex-pat life in suburban Paris. Many of the objects are illustrated in the text and are accompanied by extensively footnoted histories, breaking the narrative flow, causing the reader to retreat from the reality and sadness of LaCava's awkward, lonely teenaged years just as she herself did, folding herself into the objects that she collected and imbued with talismanic importance. It's a risky format as it will alienate some readers but others will be fascinated by this fragile girl's coping mechanism and terribly interested in the tangential information about the objects. I was the latter reader, but as LaCava herself says about the memoir as a whole, "Consider the source."The memoir was moving and very personal, despite the footnote interruptions. It is indeed a bit odd, definitely unusual, and not what most people expect of a memoir. But it showcases beautifully the very remoteness of serious depression, the ache of being an outsider, and the loneliness of teenagers. It is not, however, a memoir of place but rather a person and Francophiles looking for tales of living in Paris will likely come away disappointed by the lack of Parisian feel here. The timing of the essays is not even and so while there are many pieces of her adolescence laid open to the readers' gaze, there are points glossed over and skipped entirely as well plus an essay or two at the end bringing LaCava from her unhappy years in France to her adulthood and to the genesis for the book. The very breadth of the pieces highlights the fact that these are not one overarching narrative but very definitely connected vignettes. There is an emotional distance here, a retreat behind the objects themselves, but it is one I recognize and appreciate, a coping mechanism even now. And LaCava knows that she is looking back at the objects of her childhood, using them as the scrim through which to view a painful and haunting piece of her life. I thoroughly enjoyed this rather non-traditional, quirky, gorgeously designed, and unexpected little book but readers will have to appreciate it for what it is instead of what it's not.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

seems interesting!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is a differently and originally written type of memoir. Moving to Paris as a child, Stephanie feels a strong disconnect to her own life and emotions. Objects, which had always been important to her, become even more so as she uses them to feel a connection to life. She collects archaic facts and figures about people and objects and these also help to fill in the void. Quite a different and inventive way to deal with her loneliness and subsequent depression. I love trivia, and O found the footnotes and pictures in this book wonderful. So many little factoids; that one out of every three bugs is a beetle, the meaning and poisonous qualities of lilies of the valley, the importance and history of rings and bangles and so much more. Also a unique way of showing the reader how her mind was working in its attempt to survive. I gave this book 4 stars because it isn't your usual type of whoa is me, abusive childhood type of memoir and for the unique way in which it is presented.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Moving is hard. It's hard as a child and as an adult. And as strange as it sounds, it can be hardest on the awkward, shy, and introverted. Because it takes them so much time to warm up to people and they spend so much time in their own self-contained world, when they venture out of that comfortable solitude, they are more alone than the extroverted person who has had to leave behind a whole pack of friends. I know this because I am that person. And I have moved six times as a child and seven times as an adult. Nothing about moving is easy. But I've never had to move to another country and face cultural and language barriers in addition to the rest of the stresses of moving. Stephanie LaCava was just twelve when her father moved her family to France from the US. As she recounts in her unique and fascinating memoir, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects, this move, coming as it did when she was already feeling like a misfit, absolutely decimated her. As chronicled in these pages, she collected objects that became a way of keeping her anchored to the world, her way of reaching for connection during a painful and hard time of her life.The memoir itself is told in a series of essays capturing memories linked through the cabinet of curiousities that LaCava was accumulating as she struggled to fit into her ex-pat life in suburban Paris. Many of the objects are illustrated in the text and are accompanied by extensively footnoted histories, breaking the narrative flow, causing the reader to retreat from the reality and sadness of LaCava's awkward, lonely teenaged years just as she herself did, folding herself into the objects that she collected and imbued with talismanic importance. It's a risky format as it will alienate some readers but others will be fascinated by this fragile girl's coping mechanism and terribly interested in the tangential information about the objects. I was the latter reader, but as LaCava herself says about the memoir as a whole, "Consider the source."The memoir was moving and very personal, despite the footnote interruptions. It is indeed a bit odd, definitely unusual, and not what most people expect of a memoir. But it showcases beautifully the very remoteness of serious depression, the ache of being an outsider, and the loneliness of teenagers. It is not, however, a memoir of place but rather a person and Francophiles looking for tales of living in Paris will likely come away disappointed by the lack of Parisian feel here. The timing of the essays is not even and so while there are many pieces of her adolescence laid open to the readers' gaze, there are points glossed over and skipped entirely as well plus an essay or two at the end bringing LaCava from her unhappy years in France to her adulthood and to the genesis for the book. The very breadth of the pieces highlights the fact that these are not one overarching narrative but very definitely connected vignettes. There is an emotional distance here, a retreat behind the objects themselves, but it is one I recognize and appreciate, a coping mechanism even now. And LaCava knows that she is looking back at the objects of her childhood, using them as the scrim through which to view a painful and haunting piece of her life. I thoroughly enjoyed this rather non-traditional, quirky, gorgeously designed, and unexpected little book but readers will have to appreciate it for what it is instead of what it's not.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
scribd