Homework Assignment #2: This Angel On My Chest

Here’s my second homework essay for this semester’s reading class.  It covers the second book we read, Leslie Pietrzyk’s This Angel On My Chest.  Background on the book: just before Pietrzyk’s first book, Pears On A Willow Tree, was published, her husband suddenly died at the age of 37/38.  Eighteen years later, Pietrzyk publishes her third book, This Angel On My Chest, which is a collection of short stories all centering around dealing with the sudden death of a young husband.

In my homework essay, I attempt to address these two ideas:

  1. The main theme of this book isn’t so much the death of her husband but rather it’s The Writer who must tell The Truth to her readers.
  2. There’s a genuine sense that Pietrzyk means to use her tragic story as a means of blocking criticism of her work as art. (For example, on page 121: “no one will challenge a story that’s tragic.”)

I’m still not convinced that I successfully argued these two points, hence my indecision about posting this essay.  It wasn’t until I got my instructor’s feedback that I felt more comfortable sharing this.  Because, honestly, I hated this book.  It’s repetitive, incredibly tedious, very defensive about its existence, and I really felt like she was trying to exploit her own personal tragedy in a very explicit way just to get a book published.


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