Praise for “Burn Down the Ground”

September 26th, 2011

Here’s what folks are saying about Kambri Crews and Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir:

“A New York publicist and producer’s unsparing yet compassionate account of her dysfunctional childhood and the father who both charmed and victimized her family…Poignant and unsettling.” —Kirkus Reviews

“…a compelling testament to the strength of the human spirit.” —Booklist

“Crews’ account (the title refers to lighting brush on fire to clear out snakes) is as well-paced and stirring as a novel. In her fluid narrative (she’s also a storyteller on the side, a gig that helped her develop this book), Crews neither wallows in self-pity nor plays for cheap black-comedic yuks. Instead, this book stands out for what matters most: Crews’ story, bluntly told.” –ELLE magazine

“Harrowing . . . A remarkable odyssey of scorched earth, collateral damage, and survival.”  —Publishers Weekly 

“As I combed the pages of the book, I couldn’t believe what a range of emotions I felt—I laughed aloud at Crews’s stories of her over-the-top-but-endearing family (both her parents were deaf, but she and her brother were both hearing), especially her father; was completely captured by the portrait of the Deaf community, something about which I knew nothing; and was heartbroken by the destruction of a real life family. Turning the final page, I was grateful Crews had dared to get raw and real—and I wanted to hear more.” —Glamour Magazine (Read the complete article.)

“While there’s plenty of memoir fodder in the hearing-child-of-two-deaf-parents subject, Crews’s story has heartbreaking depth and complexity. With insight into her father’s feelings about deafness, his über-Christian family’s response to his violence against the women in his life, and the culture of the deaf community, this is a rich read.” —Library Journal

“Kambri Crews writes of a chaotic and violent family life with compassion, wit and pluck. Her triumph over tragedy is an inspiration and a poignant reminder of the unconditional bonds of family and the human side of the convicted.” — Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking

“The world she writes about is portrayed so vividly and the characters drawn so fearlessly that I feel like I knew what it was like to grow up in Kambri’s world – one most of us could not fathom.” —Lisa Lampanelli

“Kambri Crews has proven that absurdity, chaos and full blown dysfunction make for a fascinating memoir.” —Janeane  Garofalo

“Surprisingly funny and uplifting, this touching account of a deaf family living on the edge is raw and candid. Crews writes beautifully, honestly and with deep affection about her conflicted relationship with her father and love for her family, in good times and bad.” Paula Froelich, author of the New York Times bestseller Mercury in Retrograde

“Kambri Crews had a childhood where her needs quite literally fell on deaf ears. Yet the love and compassion she gets us to feel for her father –a man who tried to kill her mother and is serving time for nearly decapitating a girlfriend– is both a testament to her gift as a storyteller and her own incredible humanity.” Hillary Carlip, Author of Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan

“Addictive and heartbreaking, Kambri’s memoir demonstrates both true grit and a sense of humor that exists only among the very sharpest of those who have survived extraordinary childhoods. Hers is a fascinating story, beautifully told, that will leave you  gobsmacked.” Julie Klausner, author of I Don’t Care About Your Band

“. . . Her voice is fresh, fearless and singular – with an ability to craft a story you’ll never be able to forget, but also not be able to stop talking about.” Mandy Stadtmiller, columnist, New York Post

“A riveting American tale, delivered with clear eyes and great love. In the face of incredible hardship, Crews endears.” —Jane Borden, author of I Totally Meant to Do That

“Picking up Burn Down the Ground I figured I would be peeking into a world where I didn’t belong, that her family  would feel ‘other.’ But Kambri Crews does something brilliant here—she normalizes her extraordinary experiences and makes you feel like this could be your life, that you could have been born into a family with two deaf parents, that your father’s temper could have gone a little too far one day, landing him in jail. The humanity in this book is astounding, and makes you think twice about categorizing people good or evil, black or white. In the end, it’s hard to be human, and Kambri captures just how hard in this heartfelt coming-of-age story.” —Kimberlee Auerbach, author of The Devil, The Lovers & Me: My Life in Tarot

“Imagine living in a tin shed, growing up as the hearing child of deaf parents, seeing your father try to kill your mother, or sneaking gum into prison. Those are just half of the challenges Kambri Crews faced growing up. Burn Down the Ground is a story of triumph in the face of poverty, alcoholism, violence and worst of all, heartbreakingly powerful love.” Annabelle Gurwitch, co-author of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up

“Kambri Crews is a survivor, and a fiercely witty one. Her memories of growing up with two volatile Deaf parents in the backwoods of Texas will inspire, delight, horrify, and amaze you. The matter-of-fact way in which she describes traumatic and painful events puts me in mind of Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Rick Bragg’s All Over But The Shoutin’. Read this unforgettable account of an American family’s tragic explosion and the tough-as-nails young woman who walked out of the ashes to tell her tale.” Sara Benincasa, author of Agorafabulous!

“Kambri Crews’ remarkable memoir of her turbulent upbringing, BURN DOWN THE GROUND, will amaze, amuse and–most importantly—finally get you to stop whining about your own childhood.” — Chris Regan, five time Emmy award-winning comedy writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Talkshow with Spike Feresten, author of Mass Historia and co-author of America (The Book).

“It’s a rare thing to experience a writer who can capture devastating and devastatingly funny in the same sentence. Kambri Crews is one of those writers. Her fascinating tale of a unique life is told in such a way that all I  want is more.” — Cooper Lawrence, Host The Cooper Lawrence Show, author of The Cult Of Celebrity and co-star of  VH1′s Confessions of a Teen Idol

“It’s Children of a Lesser God meets Deliverance, but funny! BURN DOWN THE GROUND is gripping, humorous, horrifying and human. Kambri Crews tells a story you’ve never heard before (unless you hang around with a lot of homicidal deaf folks). She writes about her family with an objectivity that pulls no punches, and with enough love to endear you to the whole crazy clan.”  — Bob Powers, author of the books Happy Cruelty Day!  and You Are A Miserable Excuse For A Hero.

“In my eyes, you are a heroine. Your dialogue about your father is incredibly amazing. It takes a person, a survivor, with a miraculous magnitude of strength to be able to see the human side of your father in spite of what he did…You are not only a survivor, you have transformed into a thriver. Thank you for sharing your valuable lessons of compassion with the world…You are so courageous.” –Julie Rems-Smario, DeafHope

“To know Kambri Crews and her story is amazing. She is an inspiration and an example of how it is possible to transform excessive disturbance into success. Crews has acquired a commodity of the Deaf community– spellbinding storytelling. She captures her memories in a way that does not elicit sympathy but marvel and understanding.” Lauren Ridloff, former Miss Deaf American and i711  reporter.

“One of my great joys in life is watching people get to know Kambri Crews. It always plays out the same way: first they’re impressed by her beauty and seemingly bottomless reservoir of charm. Next they’re blown away by her talent, intelligence and inexhaustible work ethic. Finally (and this may be the best part), they find out about everything Kambri has managed to overcome in her personal life and their jaws uniformly hit the floor. Kambri Crews is more than just someone who can tell an amazing story–she is an amazing story.” –Christian Finnegan, VH1’s Best Week Ever, regular on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show

“Kambri Crews does not deny who or where she comes from, and channels her experiences into something positive. As a child of Deaf adults, that makes Crews unique and extraordinary. She is able to see beyond our deafness and see that we are not all just like her daddy. She succeeds, both in her career and her life. Hats off to Crews for her strength and optimism. She’s a rare gem.” Douglas Ridloff, ASL comedian and artist

“Kambri Crews writes with endearing candor about living in the woods, growing up with deaf parents, and trying to rekindle a relationship with her father who was imprisoned for attempted murder. Even as she recounts haunting stories–like when she pleaded with her father to spare her mother’s life–Kambri manages to approach her past with affection, a sense of humor, and mesmerizing honesty. Her stories offer insightful look at the complicated nature of families. And what’s most amazing is Kambri’s ability to both embrace her past while also transcending it.” — Bobbie Gossage, associate editor, Inc. Magazine

“I’ve known Kambri Crews to be a hotshot comedy publicist and producer (and hilarious person) for years, but when I discovered her  heartbreaking and amazing family stories, I was blown away. My very first thought was “This is a book, and I want to read it.” Kambri has the most unique background of anyone I know and she’s able to write about her life with humor, grace and insight.” – Lindsay Robertson, writer & editor, Comedy Central and Videogum.com

“Kambri Crews is crafting an exciting entry in the field of memoir-writing. There are very few authors who can make a  childhood of deprivation sound like it was not only fun, but something of an adventure. This is a story of American humor, grit, and spirit.” – Liam McEneaney, writer & comedian, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Stand Up Nationwith Greg Giraldo.

“Kambri’s ability to sincerely and humorously tell her outlandishly dysfunctional life story is remarkable! Through her writing, she has the knack for taking impossible real life situations that no one would want to experience and making the reader feel exhilirated to live vicariously through her. Reading Kambri’s work is like watching a train wreck of sunshine and despair…you can’t help but read on as every moment is filled with tragic beauty and brilliant humor!” — Scott Ramsey, TexintheCity.com

I guess the fact that we can all relate to everything that comes out of this girl’s mouth is a testament to the power of good delivery, great writing, and the fact that we’re all a little deaf, trailer, and crazy. – Joanna Parson, Happy Hour Salon


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