Barbara Alfaro’s coming-of-age memoir, Mirror Talk is a tour de force of picture perfect memories that resonate long after the last page is read. Alfaro narrates with a sense of delight in simpler pleasures, and uses beautiful imagery to illustrate her story.
At an early age, Alfaro’s Papa (grandfather) teaches her to fish and draw on the beaches of Rockaway, New York. These delicate recollections set the stage for a memoir that rocks us gently with humanity, depth and quick, subtle humor. We follow young Barbara through the visionary pages of Mirror Talk as a woman discovering who she is. Catholic school acquaints Alfaro with the nuns who will ingrain the rules that pull at the edges of conscience and shadow her psyche into adulthood.
It’s a joy de vivre to experience Alfaro’s hilarious and often hair-raising days as a playwright and director. Readers will both laugh and cry at the cast of characters who enter and exit her life at a rather rapid pace. Alfaro’s career paths, along with her emotionally distant family, and a brush with serious illness all create the need to delve into life’s never ending mysteries. Mirror Talk does so in an eloquent and heartwarming manner.
A wonderful reflection on the life of an artist and poet, Mirror Talk is both a comforting read for a rainy day and a journey of self-discovery not to be missed. Alfaro provides us with our own opportunity to remember how we became who we are today. Her robust memories are topped with a welcoming layer of nostalgia that allows the reader to feel the waves of Rockaway Beach lapping at our toes while we look back fondly on life’s moments of hilarity.
Reviewed by Keri English for Indie Reader