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Brittany Means, Hell if Don't Change Our Ways
Brittany Means, Hell if Don't Change Our Ways

Wed, Oct 25


Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse

Brittany Means, Hell if Don't Change Our Ways

"Brittany Means has pieced together the shards of a devastating childhood in the his powerful memoir. Hell If We Don't Change Our Ways is a story of survival that left me choked up and cheering." Jeannette Walls, author The Glass Castle

Date, Time & Location

Oct 25, 2023, 6:00 PM MDT

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

This will be an in-store event and live streamed to Zoom, register here for Zoom.

Copies of Hell if We Don't Change Our Ways ($27,99 hardcover) can be purchased online from CW here or by calling the store to order. Signed copies will be available after the event.

An ode to the power of the human spirit and the written word to combat the most harrowing of childhood memories.  

“I can’t write a story about myself as the sad, quiet child of two drug addicts. That’s not how it was, even when it was. To me, sleeping in the car was normal. Better, it was comfy and fun. I loved my bed made of clothes inside a trash bag that I sank into slowly like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family movie. I loved the orange glow of streetlights when we parked to sleep and I could poke my fingers into the black plastic until it was puckered all over. I loved the motels and their swimming pools and trashy daytime TV channels. Staying in one place was boring. We got to travel. Nobody could tell us what to do.”

Brittany Mean’s childhood was a blur of highways and traumas that collapsed any effort to track time. Riding shotgun as her mother struggled to escape abusive relationships, Brittany didn’t care where they were going—a roadside Midwestern motel, a shelter, or to The Barn in Indiana, the cluttered mansion her Pentecostal grandparents called home—as long as they were together. But every so often, her mom would surprise her—and leave.

As Brittany grew older and questioned her own complicated relationships and the poverty, abuse, and instability that enveloped her, she began to recognize that hell wasn’t only the place she read about in the Bible; it was the cycle of violence that her family was stuck repeating. Through footholds such as horror movies, neuropsychology, and strong bonds, Brittany makes sense of this cycle and finds a way to leave it.

While untangling the web of her most painful memories, Brittany crafts a harrowing tale of self-preservation, resilience, and hope with a unique narrative style that is part memoir and part modern-day feminist coming-of-age tale; a sparkling example of the human ability to withstand the most horrific experiences and still thrive.

About the Author

Brittany Means is a Chicana writer and editor living in Albuquerque, NM. A graduate of Iowa's MFA Nonfiction Writing Program, Means has worked with Inara Verzemnieks and Kiese Laymon. She has received several awards for her work, including the Magdalena Award, the Geneva Fellowship, the Grace Paley Fellowship, and the Herodotus Award.

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