I assembled a small collection of the testimonials I received. I have not included the many testimonials from workshops, classes, and speaking events to help honor that individual’s privacy. I am so thankful to those who approach me and share their thoughts and feedback. I wish I could include their heartfelt, honest, and candid responses to my work from their experiences. In a more public forum, I am happy to include praise for the essay “The Golden Pen” as a testimonial. I have also added praise for my memoir, Welcome to Wherever We Are, as an another example of my writing with heart.

Testimonial for “The Golden Pen”

Praise for the essay, “The Gold Pen,” originally published in the anthology, Letting Go: Feminist Social Justice Insight and Activism (Vanderbilt University 2015). My essay was later selected for re-printing by The Utne Reader. View the article on the Utne Reader website. The essay is also featured in my memoir Welcome to Wherever We Are: A Memoir of Family, Caregiving, and Redemption.

Deb’s essay is a gem, one of the anchors of the collection.  It is a stellar example of the value of memoir for exploring and revealing the web of connections between the private and the public. Creative nonfiction and sociological memoir have a long and fruitful history in sociology and feminist studies (i.e. W.E.B. Dubois’ Souls of Black Folks, Dalton Conley’s Honky, Gone Black by bell hooks, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem).  Deb’s work is firmly grounded in this history. Deb is a gifted writer who brings compassionate and critical insight to her work on the extraordinarily sensitive issues of trauma, batterers, and the social significance of rage.  Through creative, compelling, and humorous writing, her essays capture big ideas…her essays reach out to audiences beyond the academy, inviting a dialogue that isn’t confined to an exclusive circle of scholars.  In other words, her writing is just what sociology needs to widen and deepen understanding of deeply moral public issues.

Catherine Valentine

CO-EDITOR OF LETTING GO: FEMINIST SOCIAL JUSTICE INSIGHT AND ACTIVISM (VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY 2015); MY ESSAY IS INCLUDED IN THIS ANTHOLOGY AND WAS LATER SELECTED FOR RE-PRINTING BY THE UTNE READER

Testimonials for Welcome to Wherever We Are

Praise for my memoir Welcome to Wherever We Are: A Memoir of Family, Caregiving, and Redemption.

With scrupulous honesty, and what Deborah so beautifully calls “tender curiosity,” this is a journey toward reconciliation with the ambivalence she felt towards an emotionally abusive father. She winds up with love. Her memoir is an inspiration.

Abigail Thomas

author of What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir and A Three Dog Life

Cohan’s beautifully-nuanced book is an important addition to a distinctly American strain of memoir that seeks to fully explore family dynamics with all of its complications, glories, travails, and facing of mortality. This is a slice of life that is both wide and deep.

Sue William Silverman

author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You

Welcome to Wherever We Are is a memoir of a difficult family, a relationship between a father and a daughter. It involves abuse, dislike, love and a great deal of caring. It is a memoir, but one guided by the sociological lens of writer Deborah Cohan. She offers us a personal story set in the context of complicated family relationships in contemporary American society.

Barbara J. Risman

co-editor of Families as They Really Are

Love the sinner, hate the sin: thus, unfurls Cohan’s memoir. Fractional love and uncomfortable rage toward her father blend with her longing for his abusive behavior to disappear and leave only the often extraordinary father. Cohan’s crystalline honest prose brings the reader inside the dilemma of caring for an aging parent who brought her torment laced with love and magic–what is it like to adore, fear, and protect yourself from the father you feared and cherished?

Randy Susan Meyers

author of The Murderer’s Daughters and Waisted

Deborah Cohan has written a brave and beautiful memoir….not ‘beautiful’ in the sense of pretty or lovely or sugarcoated in any way. Beautifully written, yes, but also beautiful in its raw, graphic honesty—that is, in the sense that truth is beauty. There is much hard-won wisdom in these pages–wisdom gleaned from Cohan’s years of caregiving for an abusive parent–and it will benefit those who find themselves navigating that rocky terrain. But this is also a story about life and death, love and loss, and the complicated nature of family and relationship. Which makes Welcome to Wherever We Are a universal story, one with wisdom for us all.

Abby Seixas

author of Finding the Deep River Within

Learn more about my teaching, writing, community and consulting work. For further details about my work, availability and inquiry, you can connect with me on social media or feel free to also contact me online.