In the Dream House: Carmen Maria Machado


Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House is a fantastically unique, searingly honest memoir of one woman’s experience with abuse in a same-sex relationship.

Carmen met the women in the Dream House in graduate school. She was charismatic, thoughtful, and tender – and Carmen was head over heels. When the woman in the Dream House moved out of state, their relationship became long distance and the woman began exhibiting jealous tendencies. As Carmen struggled to be a good partner, the woman proved herself eratic, enraged, and, ultimately, emotionally and verbally abusive. This is the story of Carmen and the woman in the Dream House.

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading In the Dream House if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Homophobia

My Thoughts

Wow. Just, wow. In the Dream House is the most inventive memoir I have ever laid my hands on. Machado could write herself out of a paper bag, and I would definitely read that. She tells the story of an abusive relationship with her ex-girlfriend from beginning to end, and leaves nothing out. Utterly candid and honest, I felt wrong at times being so intrigued, so drawn in to these intimate moments of her life.

Machado writes about her abusive relationship in a vignette format, through choppy, short chapters that describe one specific instance or idea. She shifts from the relationship to other, supplemental topics and personal stories. I learned so much from this memoir about same-sex relationships and abuse, and was in awe at how ingenious the writing style was.

More than a memoir, Machado used this book to tell a more universal story – one that is seldom told, but a reality, nonetheless; same-sex relationship abuse. She nobly shoulders the burden of bringing this issue to light by telling her own story, and encouraging others to tell theirs.

I can’t tell you how engrossing I found this memoir. I absolutely devoured it; although, you could sit with it for weeks and still not soak up every juicy morsel Machado offers. I highly recommend this inventive memoir to everyone in the world, ever.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on In the Dream House. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the memoir in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.

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