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Isaac Fitzgerald in 'Dirtbag, Massachusetts' (Rebroadcast)

“My parents were married when they had me, just to different people.”

This is the first line of writer Isaac Fitzgerald’s new memoir in essays, “Dirtbag, Massachusetts.”

As he stumbles through young adulthood, leaving his poor town in Massachusetts and his Catholic faith behind, Fitzgerald continues to feel like a bomb going off in the lives of others.

Even though the collection grapples with violence, male anger, faith, and self-forgiveness, it’s not the redemption story you might expect.

Fitzgerald in an interview with

“That for me is a core part of the book: stories as lifelines. Stories as the way we form how we see the world, but also how we see ourselves and the importance of stories and, especially, that maybe the stories you’re told are not truthful. Or maybe they are, but they’re not to you, not your experience. And they don’t have the power that we’ve maybe given them in certain instances.”

We speak with him about his new memoir and the things we keep from places we think we’ve left for good.

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Haili Blassingame