Equal parts investigative and deeply introspective,
The Wreck is a profound memoir about recognizing the echoes of history within ourselves, and the alchemy of turning inherited grief into renewal.


There is a secret that young Cassandra Jackson doesn’t know, and it’s evident in the way her father cries her name out in his sleep. Through awkward encounters with family, she comes to realize that she is named after her father's niece, and looks eerily like the child’s mother, both of whom were killed in a car wreck along with her father's beloved mother, and—as she soon discovers—his first wife. Cassandra learns to keep silent about the wreck, but soon learns there is no way to outpace the claw-like grip of her family’s past trauma.

In this luminous memoir, Jackson attempts to unearth her lost family, while also creating a new one--only to discover little progress separates the past from the present. As she moves back and forth between her girlhood and her journey to motherhood, Jackson reveals the chilling parallels between the harrowing inhumanity of Jim Crow medical care and the toxic discrimination that undergirds healthcare in the United States today. But as she traces the cascading effects of loss punctuated by racism, she also discovers a powerful legacy of fearless love and furious perseverance that she hopes to extend to a new generation.

Lyrical, urgent, and wise, this is an unforgettable story of reclaiming the past to reclaim ourselves.