About the Book
The stunning, intimate essays in Anxious Attachments take us through the life stages of a woman living in the American Southwest from the 1970s to the present. As she moves from adolescence into adulthood, the narrator grapples with attachments that develop through her family and her ties to the wider world around her while she works as a teacher, writer, and caregiver. Though written from a single woman’s perspective, these essays invite us to reflect on the many roles women play and the social factors that touch upon them. Alvarado’s stories portray a broad world of experience, reflecting on class, race, and poverty in America with emotional depth and sensitivity.
Awards and Acclaim
Winner of 2020 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction
Longlisted for PEN America’s 2020 Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
An ode to familial love, Anxious Attachments documents relationships with care and vulnerability and with a constant apprehension of what is at stake: when you love, you have something to lose.
Beth Alvarado writes so clearly and honestly about some of the best and worst things that can happen to a person that her essay collection seems like a marvelous gift.
Humility is at the heart of this collection of personal essays on grief and partnership, parenting and spirituality, addiction and illness, intercultural family dynamics and environmental racism. A capacious subjectivity keeps widening as Beth Alvarado’s unlikely life gets accounted here, but most moving to me is the self-understanding that deepens as the book unfolds, the gradual self-determination that makes solidarity and love more possible.
Alvarado’s gorgeous essays evoke the fluidity and awe of an underwater journey. She offers us a tour of grief—its causes, its cultural conditions, its grasp. We move across time as though every beat of history were immediately available alongside the present moment. In delineating, with devotion, with humor, losses that are at once ordinary and extraordinary, material and supernatural, she offers the reader a chance to better see what’s right in front of them. This book is an act of generosity, of friendship, of remembrance. I felt my head turned by it, encouraged to see my everyday loves with wider eyes.
—Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Alvarado’s essays are devotions. The grace of spirit as she narrates and comes to terms with her considerable losses—as well as her transformative loves—is astonishing, equaled only by the expressive grace of her writing.