The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet
University of Nebraska Press, 2018
An intimate portrait of the chaos and confusion of a mother's mental illness and a deep meditation on storytelling itself, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet chronicles a daughter's struggle to face the Medusa of generational trauma without turning to stone. In this uniquely structured memoir, Kim Adrian tries to make peace with a troubled childhood by cataloguing memories, anecdotes, and bits of family lore in the form of a glossary. But within this strategic reckoning of the past, the unruly present carves an unpredictable path.
A Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist.

“This ambitious memoir glints with poetry and wisdom. . . . Aching, endless, unresolved, and extremely compelling. . . . [Adrian's] glossary, in making a place for everything, has provided a way through this harrowing tale of the toll of generational trauma . . . with generosity, honesty, and insight.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books

“Details, with precision, sensitivity, and lyricism, the specialized language of a childhood and adulthood with an alcoholic father and a mother with a catalog of emotional problems. The [glossary] form imposes a semblance of order, is an attempt at understanding, and blazes with harrowing moments. . . . An intimate and searching accumulation of the moments, tender and brutal, that heap together and create a life.”
The Boston Globe

“Deceptively simple fragments add up to more than the sum of their parts. . . . Astonishing and inventive. [Adrian's] glossary is strangely gripping, with a momentum pulling the reader in and through. The result is whimsical, even darkly funny at times, brimming with compassion, terribly sad and deeply loving. Memoir readers should not miss this singular offering.”
Shelf Awareness

“A remarkable rendering of a mother-daughter relationship . . . sprinkled with evocative memories, at turns hilarious, repulsive, poetic, and devastating. The form of the glossary works neatly as a conduit for cataloguing the way memory works in our consciousness, popping up unexpectedly and without a need for chronology. . . The text is challenging because of the subject matter [but] Adrian weaves pathos and humor throughout. ”
Propeller Books

“One of the reasons I wrote this memoir is because I think mental illness isn’t given enough attention, considering how prevalent it actually is. It’s not treated with enough honesty or seriousness or urgency. And without those things, a bad situation won’t improve, no matter how hopeful we may be. Without those things, hope is just a fantasy."
Read the full interview in The Florida Review.