When Love Sticks Around

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Hand-me-down pants that don’t quite fit, twilight bike rides down sleepy neighborhood streets, sweaty family camping trips. The things that almost break you, and the things you barely notice.

It’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it. 

In this collection of short essays, Danielle Dayney recounts her experiences as an awkward child in the piecemeal family that raised her. From her biological father’s absence to her mother’s battle with cancer to the birth of her daughter, Dayney’s stories venture beyond anecdote to nest safely among the tangled experiences that shape the people we become. With a keen eye for the pebbles of humor and glimmers of beauty along the rough roads of her life, Dayney has crafted a book that feels as familiar as a home-cooked meal and as exciting as the first night in a new city.

When Love Sticks Around is a memoir of love, loss, humor, identity, and above all, family—the one you’re born into and the one you gather along the way.

Those are the things worth sticking around for.


Photo courtesy of Kerry Mulhern

Born and raised in Ohio, Danielle Dayney got her start writing rock concert reviews for Toledo-based music magazine, The Glass Eye. Today, her work has appeared in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, online at Huffington Post, Dead Housekeeping and The Mindful Word, and in several anthologies including the Virginia Writers Centennial Anthology, Nevertheless We Persisted, and Beach Reads: Lost and Found. She has also received awards for two creative nonfiction essays at BlogHer. Her debut memoir, When Love Sticks Around, is out now.

PRAISE FOR When Love Sticks Around

When Love Sticks Around is an instantly engaging memoir that deals with the highs and lows of coming-of-age and the realities and complexities of adulthood. Dayney moves seamlessly through her life from birth, right up to the first moment of motherhood, before losing her own mother to cancer. Her vignettes of life’s journeys instantly transport readers into a world unique to her. It’s the complexities of the relationships within the pages of her debut novel that are both delightful and also heartbreaking. From the very first page, she has written a book worth sticking around for.” 

-Donna-Louise Bishop, community life correspondent for The Eastern Daily Press, Norfolk, UK 

“Ms. Dayney’s story of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in Toledo, Ohio, is a tale of disappointment, grit, and ultimately, love. In her quest to unravel her family’s thorny relationships, she brings readers into a cigarette-and-beer-filled world they will not want to leave.” 

-Amy Francis Dechary, editor of the Beach Reads anthology series and president of Third Street Writers 

“Each short essay in When Love Sticks Around is a marvelous example of the struggles we face throughout our lives, how love in all of its various forms presides through it, and ultimately how together we face both the tragedies and the moments of celebration. Whether the topic is growing up poor, struggling to gain a relationship with a parent, dating, having not-the-best jobs, transitioning into being an adult, or navigating racism, Dayney’s mesmerizing narratives and skill at storytelling aid in exploring the complexities of life, all told in simple, relatable ways. Through these candid glimpses of her own experiences, this coming-of-age memoir reaches beyond the moments of growing up to create a visceral testament to all that we love and search for.” 

-Chelsey Clammer, author of Circadian and BodyHome

“In When Love Sticks Around, Dayney instantly transports us to moments throughout her life with relatable cultural touchstones and references, linking us to her younger self, growing up in a struggling, working-class family in upstate Ohio throughout the 80s and 90s. Her story of family, hope, and perseverance opens a space for us to laugh, acknowledge, and remember moments in life that shape us as adults. It is a work of great compassion and great joy.” 

-A.E. Bayne, writer, artist, and publisher of The Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review 

“Dayney’s well-written and poignant collection of personal essays makes you laugh, seethe, and cry. In other words, this is life itself.”

-Betsy Ashton, author of Out of the Desert 

“In a voice as familiar as a life-long friend’s and in astonishingly evocative detail, Danielle Dayney charts her journey from a childhood in Toledo, Ohio, longing for love enough to fill an inexplicable emptiness left by her absent father, through the universally awkward teen years and floundering young adulthood, to her life in Brooklyn as a wife, mother, and writer, who discovers through tragedy and triumph that her indomitable mother, steadfast step-father, championing husband, and darling daughter have filled her heart to overflowing. When Love Sticks Around will break your heart and then restore it, like a shattered seashell that still sounds like the ocean with just a little bit of glue and a lot of love.” 

-Elane Johnson, Gotham Writers Workshop 

When Love Sticks Around is a compelling and honest portrayal of Danielle Dayney’s childhood and relationships. From the beginnings of her parents’ relationship to its eventual end, to the introduction of her stepfather, the birth of her sister, the comings and goings of her biological father, and her own marriage, Danielle examines the meaning and the shape of family. The role of father is care- fully dissected, and the two men who compete for that role in her life are thought- fully, subtly contrasted. There is no overt comparison, no stark listing of attributes. Instead, by showing these men and their actions, the reader is led to decide which of them better fulfilled the role. All the relationships in this memoir are viewed with a keen eye and a refreshing sincerity. There is no harsh judgement of anyone, and their actions are described in an almost matter-of-fact tone, leaving the reader feeling a level of inevitability to those actions. The author also doesn’t pull punches when examining her own behaviors or feelings. By the end of the narrative, the reader is left with an overwhelming feeling that the author has come to accept that the various events and relationships in her life have shaped her into the person she currently is. There is a great sense of peace in that.” 

-Asha Rajan, managing editor at Dead Housekeeping and contributing editor at YeahWrite

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