Musical Chairs

Biographies & Memoirs

By Jen Knox

Publisher : ATTM Press

ABOUT Jen Knox

Jen Knox
Jen Knox is a Fiction Editor at Our Stories Literary Journal, and works as a freelance writer, editor, and writing tutor. She grew up in Ohio, and lives in Texas, where she is currently working on a novel entitled "Absurd Hunger."



Musical Chairs explores one family's history of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between a '90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs. In order to understand her restlessness, Jennifer reflects on years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement. Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jennifer struggles towards reconciliation. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.


Jen Knox is an exceptionally gifted storyteller, who can take the events of the past and craft them invariably into engaging and compelling narratives.

--Phillip Lopate, Author of Notes on Sontag

This true tale of grit, survival and eventual rebirth of the psyche is engaging and inspirational, even to a small-town girl like me.

--Gretchen A. Phillips, Pearson Education

With her unique voice, Jen tells the poignant, yet raw, story of her journey to adulthood, living on the streets as a runaway and her ultimate struggle to establish her own identity as a woman who truly values herself. This is one of those books that lingers long after the last page.

--Heather McIntosh, author of Small Animals First

Jen’s a runner, a runaway. Following in the footsteps of her great grandmother, Glory, who defiantly set out on her own near the same young age, and finding commonalities of mental illnesses among the women in her family, Jen must’ve realized her course was set out for her organically.

In the writing of Musical Chairs, a memoir blatant and unapologetic, Jen attempts to make sense of herself within the larger family history.  Yet, for all of the similarities Jen discovered between herself and Glory, there is at least one difference: Glory ran away from family, while Jen’s running brought the both of them back.

--Jennifer Lynne Roberts, playwright and writer, author of Beekeeper and Book of Taos

Other Book(s) By Jen Knox