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The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison is an amazingly well thought out and written memoir. There are many interesting aspects of this memoir, the very first is the scattered manner in which Harrison writes; by this I mean the fact that Harrison jumps from one time during her life to another. Harrison  opens her memoir with the lines “We meet at airports. We meet in cities where we’ve never been before. We meet where no one will recognize us'” (3). This is the first paragraph of the memoir, initially when reading this paragraph one assumes that this is a couple who secretly meets, probably an extra marital affair, but later on one learns this affair is one of incest, a father and daughter. Harrison describes when she first goes to pick up her fathr from the airport; “My father looks at me, then, as no one has ever looked at me before. His hot eyes consume me- eyes that I will discover are always this bloodshot” (51).  This is the very first time that she notices the manner in which her father looks at her. During this visit the father gives both mother and daughter the same amount of attention which is different for the next visit during which all of his attention is fully on his daughter.

The fathers advances begin at the airport when Harrison goes to drop him off and he kisses her in an inappropriate manner, they continue to call each other and spends hours on the phone with one another. Her father continuously feels the need to control her life and she gives into him until her grandfather and mother get sick. She decides to go to Graduate school and move away from her father and when she does move away she has to leave everything behind and once again is left without a father.

Harrison is a victim of sexual abuse by her father. This is clearly because throughout her life she did not have a father figure and never felt loved by her mother. In order to get attention and love she became close to her father not realizing what would later happen nor what she would truly have to go through. Her grandparents had kicked her father out and had raised her. Harrison also got caught up into these problems because she feels that her grandparents were the cause of not . She did not know how else to keep a relationship with her father. She wanted him in her life so bad that she would do anything to keep him, until she finally realized how wrong he was to remain in her life.

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November 3rd, 2010 at 1:54 pm


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