"Empowering. Beautiful. Brave. These three words are the epitome of Melissa Grunow’s Realizing River City. Traversing through personal transformations, the strength that lives within her memoir stems from Grunow’s fresh writing and unrelenting honesty. She doesn’t hold back when showing us the complexities of what it means and what it looks like to become an independent woman. This is a book about liberation. This is a book about revolution. This is a book that will live in your body long after you have finished it, a book that will embolden your life, always."
–Chelsey Clammer, author of BodyHome and Circadian
"In her memoir Realizing River City, Melissa Grunow shares with honesty and clarity the often-precarious landscape of love, loss, and longing. Her book offers readers vibrant details of New Mexico and an intimate glimpse into a woman’s persistent search for acceptance and positive relationships."
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Crafting the Personal Essay
Non-Fiction, Second Place winner in the 2016 IAN Book of the Year Awards
Winner of the 2018 Book Excellence Award in the Memoir Category
"A deeply rich meditation on what it means to be a woman in a sometimes uncertain and complicated world, in relationship to men, but ultimately, and more importantly, to oneself. Melissa Grunow's Realizing River City raises just as many questions as it answers, circling back always, in beautiful prose and a clear, honest voice, to what it means to be alive, to love, and to be present for all of it."
—Amina Cain, author of Creature and I Go to Some Hollow
"Realizing River City is the compelling story of Melissa Grunow’s search for love with all the wrong men. It’s a story about loss, love, compassion, and finally redemption, as Grunow learns to stand on her own, embrace life’s messiness, and forge ahead full of hope for the future. I was cheering for her as I turned the final pages!"
—Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air and Use Your Words
"Melissa Grunow has written an intimate exploration of need, desire, doubt, and survival; her memoir is remarkable for its heart-breaking honesty."
—Robert Root, author of Happenstance and Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Places
Outstanding Memoir winner in the 2016 IAN Book Awards
First Book- Nonfiction
Finalist in the 2016 IAN Book Awards
At times, life can feel like a challenging feat of survival. Whether it’s living through abusive relationships or figuring out the complexities of what it means to be a woman searching for love, Realizing River City is a memoir that proves how despite the troubles we may face, there is hope in the way we continually risk ourselves in search for the life we want to live. In her poetic exploration of past relationships, Melissa Grunow’s honest words do not falter in the face of so much loss. Taking the rage we all feel about grief and pain, and funneling it into truth, beauty, and ultimately redemption on each page, Realizing River City is about discovering how the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves.
The Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest