review of and the floor was always lava
from Dustin Fisher, author of Daddy Issues

And the Floor was Always Lava is the forthcoming essay collection by Michelle Junot. Reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect, a film in which Ashton Kutcher transports himself back in time by reading passages about his childhood, Junot’s book provides a similar portal for discovery.

The collection opens with a prologue introducing the adult Michelle who is moving far from her Louisiana home to Baltimore for graduate school. The transition is life changing. Junot carefully introduces readers to her new and evolving character, before sending them back in time to find out how she arrived at this critical juncture.

As a memoirist, Junot has a unique gift, the ability to seamlessly write from the perspective of childhood innocence while including mature, adult insights.

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review of
and the floor was always lava
from Ian Anderson, author of These Things Do Happen

Michelle Junot beautifully articulates the joy and sadness of being a child. On the surface, “and the floor was always lava” is a coming-of-age story, but to label it as simply that feels disingenuous. Yes, the pieces in this collection do relate the story of a girl growing up in an ever changing world (and home), but more than this, it is the story of childhood. Reading these essays, one can’t help but to see themselves pushing through a world that is wonderful, and at times, confusing. Junot delves into those universal moments that everyone growing up experiences, yet she does it with a style and voice all her own–and it is a a wonderful stye and voice.

I would recommend this collection to anyone who was ever a child. Junot has a rare talent to make readers laugh on one page and wipe misty eyes on the next. Simply put, “and the floor was alway lava” is a heralding debut. Stop reading this, and start reading Junot’s work, okay?

review of and the floor was always lava
from Justin Tibbels

“and the floor was always lava” is a cute, nostalgic, reflective collection of “coming of age” essays by my friend Michelle Junot. The title comes from one of her essays, and suggests that our pasts, including early childhood, stay with and shape us as we become adults.

Continue reading review on Justin’s website.

review of and the floor was always lava
from Mike Tager

I remember a lot from when I was a kid, more than most I’d think. But Michelle Junot’s first book implies that she remembers a bit more than most. She remembers everything. And she’s embarrassed and confused by all of it.

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Each of the stories in “And the Floor was Always Lava” is trying to reconcile past with future. Trying to figure out where a person is going is hard; using the past as a cipher? Not easier. But it’s brave and it’s honest and (often) quite funny.

While all the short personal essays are good, special notice should be paid to “lava laws”, “if you hate church” and “catching my breath.” What appeals to one reader isn’t the same as what appeals to others, but those particular pieces, I wanted to eat with a spoon of irony and sympathy.