FROM — The asja Monthly
By Barbara DeMarco-Barrett | September 2012 Issue
Voices on Writing: Dinah Lenney
Dinah Lenney wrote Bigger than Life: A Murder, a Memoir, published in Tobias Wolff’s American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and co-authored Acting for Young Actors. [More]
FROM — The Missouri Review
A Good Memoir
There has been talk recently, here and elsewhere, about the fairness – or, more pointedly, unfairness – of memoir criticism. This is the kind of subject matter that will someday give me a heart attack, as I have strong feelings about it, and had a particular sort of upbringing. [More]
— Robert Long Foreman is The Missouri Review’s Social Media Editor.
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of the March 12th "Insight" public radio show.
Host, Jeffrey Callison talks to TV actress and author Dinah Lenney who has written a memoir about her father’s highly publicized murder, and the impact it had on her family.
Nelson Gross, a New Jersey businessman and politician, lived his life with abundant enthusiasm. When he was murdered in 1997, in a holdup that went horribly wrong, his death punched a hole in the lives of his family, including his daughter, Dinah. In one sense, her book can be seen as therapy, a way of purging a decade’s worth of inner turmoil. But the story also explores a broader issue, the way the death of one man can affect the lives of many people. The narrative uses Gross’ death as a fulcrum, seesawing back and forth from the years before the murder, when the author was trying to come to terms with her parents’ divorce, to the years after the murder, as Lenney tried to restore her life to normality and find a way to explain to her young children what happened to their grandfather and why. It’s an unusual structure, perhaps not as accessible as a more traditional linear one, but it captures effectively the jumbled nature of the author’s life before and after her father’s murder. Not a typical "survivor’s autobiography," but a deeply affecting one.
— David Pitt
FRESH EYES NOW (READ THE BLOG)
(excerpt) ... Of all the people in all the world, it was Dinah's father who was murdered in 1997 by three young men whose greed turned homicidal. Somehow, Dinah Lenney tells that story with all the complexity, the messiness, the surprisingly wry humor, and even the joy of a life lived that such a story deserves.
To see the world in a grain of rice, you have to look. And you have to read books like this one. Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007
LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE, SHELF LIFE [VIEW THE REVIEW]
On September 17, 1997, Nelson Gross, a one-time Senate hopeful, was kidnapped by three teenage boys and brutally murdered; with the money they stole from him, they purchased jewelry, clothes, and hubcaps. BIGGER THAN LIFE (Nebraska, 227 pages, $25) is an account of the murder, written by Gross's daughter, Dinah Lenney, an actor who lives in Echo Park. Although the abduction made national news, the book is less about the tragedy than about what such events do to the survivors. The subject matter is grim but the writing is anything but, as Lenney, with an artful layering of details and remembered conversations, brings her complex, confounding father back to literary life.
— Robert Ito