The book has a thoughtful message about the images we see in other people's family photographs - not the casual Polaroid snapshots but the more formal sit-down, dressed up posed photos that we are most willing to share with people outside the family.
While Kuhn's book doesn't take a linear path through her life, and is at times extremely confusing, her strongest message to the reader is reminding us all of the images - in photographs and even in movies - that shape our lives and our perceptions. She writes about a movie she saw as a child, one that fascinated her greatly, and which resulted in the author growing up to become a noted film critic, historian and writer.
I enjoyed reading this because it made me more aware of the influences that shape all of our lives. Kuhn's own existence was defined by the time and place of her birth - in postwar England, her parents working-class, her mother sending her conflicting messages about the elite prep school her daughter was attending on a scholarship. Her mother understood that the end result of this education was that her child would outgrow her, achieve more in her life, and as a result, she would not be part of the working class.