Pieces by Maria Kostaki. CA: She Writes Press, 209 p. ***

Pieces of Sasha's life are portrayed vivadly from early childhood in Cold War-era Moscow to Athens, Greece. Having no control over where she lives in her youth to out of control adult behavior seeking love and acceptance. Taken from the Grandparents who love her to live with her narcisstic mother, who tells Sasha, "I feel sorry for you...you'll never find someone who has the ability to love in the way that you do. You love unconditionally, desperately." The death of her step-father, Michael, the only father she has known, has triggered her memories of life with him and her mother. Sash lashes out at him in her grief for the biological father she never knew and the step father who raised her. "You were supposed to be my prototype male. I still have nightmares about your fingers, the tattoo on your wrist, your palm slamming on my mother's face, the gold ring on your middle finger. But I loved you anyway." 

It is a gritty, alcohol laden story of survival and hope. Kostaki has painted a harsh picture of life in Moscow and the resilience of family during tough times.  Love prevails....

If not for the Summer Reading Challenge, I probably would not have picked up this book to read. A little confusing for me at times, it was  a worthwhile read. Kostaki has a talent for bringing the reader into the story with a few well chosen words. 

Maria Kostaki is a native of Moscow, Russia, but has spent most of her adult life on a plane from Athens, Greece to New York City and back. She holds a master’s in journalism from New York University, where she was a recipient of a grant from the Knight Foundation. She has worked as an editor and staff writer for Odyssey magazine in Athens and New York, and her nonfiction has appeared in publications including Elle D├ęcor and Insider Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in Flashquake and Mediterranean Poetry.

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