Afflictions & Departures is a collection of first-person experiential essays by writer and academic Madeline Sonik. Although Sonik explores some of the salient personal experiences of her young life, the essays in Afflictions & Departures are not traditional memoir. In addition to incidents and feelings recaptured from memory, Sonik seeks out connections between the microcosm of of the daily events of her childhood and the social, historical, and scientific trends of the time. Afflicitons & Departures begins by considering the turbulent and changing nature of the world in the late 1950s and early 1960s-the world in which the author was conceived and born. Like many couples of that era, Madeline Sonik’s parents focused on shared social and economic ambitions at the expense of authentic personal feeling. These ambitions would erode and, by the 1970s, completely collapse. In Afflictions & Departures Sonik exercises both intellectual depth and emotional range. The essays are as incisive as they are deeply moving, and leave the reader with a sense of history as it was lived, not as it is codified in countless textbooks.