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Three Memoirs That Re-examine Challenges in Life and Identity

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nytimes.com

On the cover of Cindy House’s new memoir, MOTHER NOISE (Marysue Rucci Books/Scribner, 266 pp., $26.99), a neon-tinged spoon next to spilled milk and colorful cereal artfully hints at the author’s twin themes: drug abuse and motherhood.

House spent years struggling with heroin addiction, and “Mother Noise” is her attempt to examine that phase of her life. But the memoir, which is written as a love letter to her son, whose buoyant presence in House’s life undergirds the entire book, is not structured with the narrative impulse to follow a single story through time.

Instead, House handily fractures her own life into small tales — about stints in rehab, about custody battles, about neighborhood forums, about writing mentors — that are often flanked by photos or spare hand-drawn sketches, as if House were intent on breaking any generic mold that would encase her thorny life story.

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