"Jessica Teich's understanding of trauma is the infallible authority upon which her tale rests. But the delicacy and nuance with which she renders this story is that of a poet. This beautiful, compassionately imagined book will bring a pang of recognition to anyone who has traveled to young adulthood from a wounded adolescence via the quest for 'perfection.'" - Meryl Streep
An intimate psychological memoir, The Future Tense of Joy is the luminous account of one woman’s efforts to free herself — and her family — from the demons of the past. The book deftly chronicles the daily consolations of marriage and motherhood, even as it exposes the treachery of silence to honor the healing power of love.ORDER NOW
Jessica Teich graduated summa cum laude from Yale and received an M.Phil degree from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes scholar. Her previous book, Trees Make The Best Mobiles: Simple Ways To Raise Your Child In A Complex World, appeared in Vanity Fair, People, Us, and The Chicago Tribune, and was featured on the Today Show. For almost a decade, Teich worked as a literary manager at the Mark Taper Forum, commissioning and developing plays. She subsequently received a grant to write and direct a movie for the Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute. Teich served as head of the Biography committee for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters, and dog.
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Survivors remember the past in pieces. Not necessarily “before” and “after,” which would be easier. It’s more like time melts into Dali-like puddles, or convulses, slamming together faces and events. Psychologists often speak of a distortion in time afterward, as though the trauma occurred only moments before, but sometimes the pain is so buried it ceases to exist. Then it springs up suddenly, like an allergy, even when it seems there’s no irritant. Or descends, like a fine but malevolent mesh.
That was true for me, but I could never write about my experience as a “survivor.” Even the word seemed bloodless, badly lit. I’d had so many privileges: an education at Yale, then at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. I had a lovely husband and children; two daughters with their father’s long lashes and love of puns. But I felt trapped behind a scrim, like the smoked glass of an antique mirror, with life on the other side, tantalizing and remote. What happened when I was a child was holding me hostage, as surely as if I’d been stolen away.
There is a moment, stepping onto a plane, when you may hesitate at the threshold, nervous to leave the safety of one world, uncertain of the world beyond. This book takes place at that juncture, a crucial moment for my family, when I tried to make the pieces of my life cohere. Its sections are like those shards of experience, but the path they chart is not specific to me. For we have all been broken or betrayed.
Life is the part that happens after. When we move toward hope, toward peace, toward the healing of our hearts.
“Provocative in its questioning of what female success really means. An honest, compassionate memoir about shaking off personal demons.” —Kirkus Reviews
"A daring and intimate journey into the soul of motherhood. Compelling." —Steve Martin
"Intoxicating and deeply immersive. This elegant book has a cinematic immediacy. It’s a page turner and thriller in the best sense of both words." —Daniel Silva, New York Times bestselling author
"A dazzling debut. Teich moves immediately to the first ranks of memoirists. Her book is wry and poetic and deeply moving. This story of hope and healing will lift your heart." —Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author