LET THE TORNADO COME
By Rita Zoey Chin
Simon & Schuster | Hardcover | June 24, 2014 | $25.00
“[A] lyrical debut … Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of [her] stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable resilience.” —Kirkus Reviews
“At the heart of this brave, beautiful memoir is an extraordinary tale of hard-earned compassion and love. Despite all odds, some of the most broken down souls, human and animal alike, can not only heal but can take wing and soar. Rita Zoey Chin offers us her unforgettable story with richly textured, luminous prose—I fell in love with her book from the very first line.”
—Mira Bartók, bestselling author of The Memory Palace
"Unbearably beautiful and unflinching, Rita Zoey Chin’s Let the Tornado Come is a brilliant portrait of a life skirting the precipice. She has captured masterfully the maelstrom of her years as a runaway, a wife, a sister, a rider, a searcher. But what shines, page after page, is her resilience, in how every day is built. This is a story full of lightning—sudden, intimate, radiant."
—Paul Yoon, bestselling author of Snow Hunters
“Let the Tornado Come is as riveting as it sounds. In lyrical yet clear-eyed prose, with a gentleness and humility that belie a fierce inner strength, Rita Zoey Chin illuminates the debilitating consequences of childhood abuse and her search for its antidote. At once heartbreaking and heartening, compassionate and wise, Let the Tornado Come is a story about love—its unmatched enormity, its curative power, its reverberating force that, though not dissimilar to the tremors of fear in our heart, can carry us to a place where we are cherished, and in turn, learn to cherish the life in our care.”
—Vaddey Ratner, bestselling author of In the Shadow of the Banyan
Rita Zoey Chin was born into a world that roared: a Queens apartment near JFK Airport where the power of the planes that rattled the walls was matched only by the power of her neglectful parents whose violence and out-of-control nature left her with no choice but to run away. Today, Rita is no longer a girl without a home but instead a successful writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. How did she go from hitting rock-bottom to creating a meaningful life for herself? In LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster; Hardcover; June 24, 2014; $25.00), Rita candidly shares how she found happiness after her tumultuous upbringing, the debilitating panic attacks that threatened to take it all away in her thirties, and the beacon of light that reassured her that she’d survive once more: her horse, Claret.
Rita first ran at age eleven. In the years that followed, where she was headed wasn’t something she knew until she was already on the move: sometimes a friend’s house, sometimes a hidden stairwell off an alleyway, sometimes strangers’ beds. By thirteen, she was out of the house for good and soon found herself a ward of the court, being sent from one institution to another and running away from most, back to the streets and an adult world of drugs and sex that threatened to consume her. At nineteen, after a three-month-long cocaine addiction, she finally hit rock bottom. Realizing she had to turn her life around or else, she called upon one of her few cherished childhood memories: a herd of horses galloping across a field, beautiful and free. The sound of their hooves hitting the ground never left her and came to represent hope as she began piecing her life back together; the horses comforted her the same way they did whenever her mother kicked her out of the house or her father raised his hand, even during those long, crazy nights spend on the run. Little did she know then just how important her connection with horses would be in the years to come.
Fast-forward just over a decade, and Chin is no longer a girl without a home but instead a prize-winning poet and happily married; she loves her life and is proud of what she’s accomplished since her years as a runaway. Without any warning, however, her life is turned upside-down when she is besieged by terrifying panic attacks that worsen with every passing moment. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear—literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing her hard-won happiness is in jeopardy if she doesn’t seek help, she turns to a variety of treatments to help ease her anxiety. Eventually, she finds an emotional pillar in Norm, the first therapist to reassure her that the events of her childhood were not her fault.As he helps her through her panic attacks in a way no conventional therapy or doctor (including her husband) had prior, Rita simultaneously finds solace in an unexpected friendship with another troubled soul: a spirited, endearing horse named Claret. “The first time I saw Claret, I fell in love,” she fondly remembers. Taking into account her past experiences and calling upon all she had learned about anxiety from Norm, Rita formed a bond with the rebellious, agitated Claret that those around her thought impossible. “In the end, we saved each other,” she says.
A riveting memoir that reads like a novel, in LET THE TORNADO COME Rita shares how she applied the hard lessons learned during her tumultuous childhood and adolescence to save the beautiful life she created for herself in adulthood with prose so vivid and raw they could only be written by a true survivor.
About the Author
Rita Zoey Chin’s writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland and now lives in Boston with her husband, where she teaches at Grub Street, mentors teenage girls, and rides her mischievous horse, Claret.
About the Book
LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir
By Rita Zoey Chin
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
ISBN: 9781476734866 | E-Book ISBN: 9781476734880