The Condemned: A Memoir Told Through Selected Early Works of Short Stories, Essays, and Poetry by Shari Lopatin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Shari Lopatin shares a collection of both fiction and non-fiction stories, as well as essays and poems, to share the story of a young woman trying to find herself in the book “The Condemned”.


The Synopsis

In this special memoir told through a collection of earlier works including fictional short stories, non-fiction essays, and poetry, Shari Lopatin tells the story of her younger self—a millennial coming of age through the 1990s and 2000s while fighting to make sense of a world rapidly changing amidst The Great Recession and September 11. Touching on themes still relevant today, Shari shares deeply emotional pieces from her formative years about mental health, the search for home, the awkwardness of dating, love and heartbreak, and the effects of Antisemitism.

Included in this hand-selected collection are the fictional short stories “Pomegranates” about the power of kindness and connection; “A Call from Paris” about a young marriage falling apart; “Stone from HELL” about the effects of a monstrous society; and the namesake of this book, “The Condemned” about finding self-acceptance. Shari also included other personal essays and poems never before seen.

Ultimately, The Condemned: A memoir told through selected early works of short stories, essays, and poetry reveals one young woman’s struggle to find herself within a confusing and sometimes ostracizing world, and the messages of love, hope, and truth she now brings to others.

The Review

What an emotional and captivating collection of stories. The author found a great balance between her fiction and nonfiction works, with each story doing an exemplary job of conveying the raw emotions and pivotal moments that defined her life. The imagery and the heart that the author poured into the story and essays were remarkable, really bringing the reader into these moments and in the case of the fiction work, allowing the reader to embrace the characters outright.

The poetry was also so moving and conveyed the honesty and passion of the author’s writing so eloquently. The quick pace of the book and the variety of the collection gave the author ample opportunity to really connect to a wide range of different readers and gave an intimate look into the author’s life in a creative and moving way.

The Verdict

Insightful, thoughtful, and engaging, author Shari Lopatin’s “The Condemned” is a memorable and thought-provoking memoir filled with creativity and heart. The powerful messaging of the stories in this collection brings to life a beautiful and emotional story of triumph in the face of adversity, and the journey to find life and purpose. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist in her earlier years, she now writes novels that tie into modern-day social issues, short stories, serialized fiction, essays, and poetry. Shari has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, public relations professional, social media manager, and earned the title of “Cat Mom of the Year.” Read more of Shari’s work and get updates on her latest books by signing up as a free or paid subscriber for her Substack newsletter, Rogue Writer, at

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