If Nights Could Talk
A Family Memoir
Marsha Recknagel

St. Martin's Press
October 8, 2002
Hardcover/272 pages
ISBN: 0312305079
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"… immediately hooked by the author?s unique writing style …"

"… a truly outstanding memoir …"

"… a powerful story with an even more powerful lesson …"

The only problem with If Nights Could Talk, a family memoir, by Marsha Recknagel, is finding new ways to praise it. The reader is immediately hooked by the author’s unique writing style when she describes her seventeen-year-old runaway nephew standing on her front porch as “part of the night, a question waiting for an answer.”




With a rare honesty that makes this book a truly outstanding memoir, Ms. Recknagel admits that she wanted to shout, “You can’t come in. You will bring it all in with you.” But she does let her nephew in and the reader follows, confident that we will not be misled. Like Jamie, the author has earned our trust and faith.


Guided by the skillful use of flashbacks, we begin to understand the darkness of Jamie’s life and the family that has struggled to save him from his parents and himself. We, too, become fearful it is too late for Jamie, but the author’s total commitment to loving the unlovable leads the reader and Jamie out of the night and into the triumph of light as Jamie is slowly transformed from a dark, monstrous teenager to a healthy and hopeful young man. This is a powerful story with an even more powerful lesson and ending.

Reviewer: E. M. Kurecka