Review: Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions by Nina Hamberg

      Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions
Nina Hamberg; Paperback, 276 pages
Published July 20th 2011 by Route One Press
Set in San Francisco in the 1970s, Grip: A Memoir of Fierce Attractions is the true story of how a teenager fends off an armed intruder with only her wits, then goes on to become the toughest female martial artist in her karate school and an early advocate for women’s rights. Yet in private this five-foot fighter forms one disastrous relationship with men after another. Ultimately, Nina Hamberg finds her real battle is an internal one. She has to bond with a different kind of man and allow herself to be vulnerable. Winner of the Maui Writers Conference Rupert Hughes Award and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association Book Award for “Best Memoir,” Grip reads like a novel. It is by turns riveting, funny, poignant and wise.
Hamberg has woven a memoir with wide appeal. Women resonate to the emotional journey the author travels to reclaim her ability to trust and love. Men respond to the action on the karate mat and the boldness of a young woman who doesn’t hesitate to fight.
Goodreads on Grip

God, how I loved this book! I had a feeling I would totally be nuts about it from the first moment I held it in my hands. It was this bleh morning when I went to pick it up from the Post Office (and it took me 2 hours to finally get it, buuuuut these are the pleasures of how things work…), it was sunny, hot (I hate sunny&hot with a passion unrivaled), and I had a general desire to just make the whole thing go away from my mind. But then I finally got the book, and as I was holding the package, I decided to hell with making my way home, walking my way back, crossing streets and so on was done on auto-pilot. I just ripped the package like a savage and shoved the remains in my (massive) purse, and just started ogling the book.
You know what happened as soon as I saw the cover? I went like  and I grinned like some mad woman my whole way home, stealing a read now and then, here and there, and not for a moment letting go of the book from my hands. I knew it right then and there, this was going to be a memorable memoir read.

I postponed starting to read it the entire day, for reasons I’m not sure about. I guess I just needed the velvety companionship of night to go into it; and when night came, I began my read. I had this terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach for the first 40 or so pages, culminating with me crying around page 50. But I didn’t take a break, I couldn’t, I kept reading like I was possessed. Somewhere around page 150 I felt the need for a breather. My emotions were all over the place, and I was getting tired, and being emotionally drained didn’t help much. So I put the book down until morning, when I consumed it with ardor. By the end I was grinning like a mad woman again, and I put the book on my bedside table-thing. I keep glancing at it, reaching over and running my hands over the cover now and then.
Reading this book was the most touching experiences of this year for me, and though it was intense, and consuming at one point, I can’t wait to do it all over again. It’s that kind of book that I know I will read many times, at random times; the kind of book I’d carry around with me, in my bag, my safe exit from whatever bleh situation I might be in. My book savior, infallible.

The writing is absolutely fabulous, the characters are complex, and they’ll keep you pondering and wondering well after you’ve read the book. I’m still wondering about Lee, and I’m in awe of David, but most importantly, I’m in endless awe of Nina, of her strength, her courage, and her uncanny ability to include in her life the most intriguing creatures. I loved the pace of the book, the way you’re showed how she felt things, how she made me a part of her soul with no pretentious rants or effusive passages. Just incredibly well written emotion and feeling.

And just look at that cover!!  It’s the best cover I’ve seen in a long, long while. It’s incredibly expressive, meaningful, haunting. It’s a perfect cover for this book. I wanna have a huge poster of it and hang it in my room, that’s how awesome this is. (the only posters I have in my room are of coffee, and that’s my first love, alongside my cat, so you can imagine just how into it I am.)

I strongly recommend reading this amazing book, and if I could give it a 6 out 5 butterflies, I would – that’s how much I loved it. I won’t lie, if you’re the sort that gets very emotionally invested in your reads, like I do, this will be rather intense, but also incredibly beautiful and somehow liberating.

Get it from

-paperback: $12.5

-paperback: $12.50

             Book&nbsp Depository
-paperback: $14.95



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