You Could Make This Place Beautiful
by Maggie Smith
Review by Rosa
Told in a series of short stories, poems, quotes and vignettes, Maggie Smith mosaics together moments from the most trying time of her life. These revolve around the dissolution of her marriage, motherhood, the expectations of the patriarchy, coming home to oneself, the slipperiness of time and memory, and the difference between what actually happens in our lives and the meaning we tease from it.
Stumbling through the grief, anger, loss and betrayal she feels for both herself and her children, Smith asks herself the questions ‘who am I now’ and ‘who have I always been’, ‘what is unspoken and unwritten in my life’ and ‘how do I read these silences’ while encouraging the reader to contemplate these alongside her. Written with a weathered wit that does not shy away from vulnerability, thoughtful recognition of the weight held in everyday moments, and a whole load of love and respect towards her children, their perspectives, and their privacy, Maggie Smith instills in us that even the things that we anticipate to be the hardest can be equal parts terrible and beautiful.