Dog Flowers: A Memoir
by Danielle Geller
A daughter returns home to the Navajo reservation to retrace her mother’s life in a memoir that is both a narrative and an archive of one family’s troubled history.
“A candid and achingly fractured memoir of [Geller’s] mother, her family, her Navajo heritage and her own journey to self-discovery and acceptance.”—Ms.
SHORTLISTED FOR: The Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize, The Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Esquire, She Reads
When Danielle Geller’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal during an attempt to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained diaries, photos, and letters, a few undeveloped disposable cameras, dried sage, jewelry, and the bandana her mother wore on days she skipped a hair wash.
Geller, an archivist and a writer, uses these pieces of her mother’s life to try and understand her mother’s relationship to home, and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey where she confronts her family's history and the decisions that she herself had been forced to make while growing up, a journey that will end at her mother's home: the Navajo reservation.
Dog Flowers is an arresting, photo-lingual memoir that masterfully weaves together images and text to examine mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking, and colonized bodies. Exploring loss and inheritance, beauty and balance, Danielle Geller pays homage to our pasts, traditions, and heritage, to the families we are given and the families we choose.