SOJC Instructor Melissa Hart will read from her second memoir, Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, at the UO Bookstore on Thursday, October 15th at 6 p.m.

by Katie Dettman, Graduate Student

“So far, people have loved the book,” says SOJC Adjunct Instructor Melissa Hart of her newly published book, Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood, released last month by Seal Press. “I’ve been getting comments along the lines of ‘I couldn’t put it down,’ and ‘A fascinating read.’ However, I doubt I’d hear anything from people who don’t like the book!”

Gringa is Hart’s second book, and her second memoir based on her childhood. Her first book, Assault of Laughter, was published in 2005. “The Assault of Laughter follows the first year after my mother came out as a lesbian and lost custody of me and my younger siblings,” says Hart. “The voice is quite young, and I’ve always considered it a memoir for young adults. Gringa begins similarly to Assault; however, it covers ten years of my life. It’s a coming of age memoir with a sophisticated voice – definitely a memoir for adults, although I’d love to see high school juniors and seniors reading it.”

Hart is currently teaching J472: Feature Writing II, J199: Travel and Adventure Writing (a Freshman Seminar), and a Freshman Interest Group focused on writing opinion essays. She also teaches a class called Introduction to Memoir for UC Berkeley’s online extension program.

She will read from her book and answer questions at the UO bookstore at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. “I welcome the really hard questions, and I’m also eager to address the process and challenges of writing memoir – especially for potential memoirists,” she says. “I also want to offer readers some context for my story – in the 1970s and early 1980s, mothers who came out as lesbians routinely lost custody of their kids. My family was a casualty of this era, but I’m happy to report that now, this story is the exception, rather than the rule.”

A reception (featuring recipes from the book – Frito Boats and White Girl Cookies) will precede the reading. Check out the book trailer, created by Hart, on YouTube: