An astounding 20-year drug trip through hell, riveting from first word to last. In the Fifties and Sixties, Chapin was famous as Robert Young's snippish and pesty younger daughter Kathy on Father Knows Best. Her real-life mother and father separated because of her mother's alcoholism, and mother remained with Lauren and her two brothers. Mother was a vicious harpy and life with her sheer hell. But even before the divorce, Lauren as a three-year-old was sexually abused by her father, who fondled her while watching TV. Then at seven Lauren landed her TV goldmine job and, with her childactor brother, supported the family. But life with mother was a raging inferno and at 11 Lauren ran away to live with her remarried father and got court protection from her mother. However, Dad was soon up to his old TV tricks with his aging daughter and for years disgusted and terrified her with his demands. So Lauren ran off again, to marry a kid she didn't love, then was taken in by a supercharming pimp hairdresser/drug-dealer, who got her hooked on heroine and had her turning tricks for $1000 each. Pimp Eddie was soon breaking her ribs and kicking her apart for not earning enough—and the rest of Lauren's tale is simply hair-raising, with vile, nutty killer Eddie and his .375 Magnum being the easy part. Seldom have jail doors slammed harder than the ones that slam time after time on unregenerate Lauren, who winds up trying to chop off her hand with a meat cleaver. Every time you think she can't fall lower, she spirals down further into slobbering degradation and crushing physical illness. And wearing the hardcore addict's bulletproof cynicism, she spares us no details in the telling. Searing.
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