A romping, vivacious memoir covering eight decades of one woman’s peripatetic existence that reads as though Katherine Hepburn was dropped into one of Hunter S. Thompson’s fever dreams.
From the moment Lloyd thwarts her father’s plans to send her to a staid, prim private school for young ladies, the author twists, turns and swivels through marriages, children and countless parties, alongside battles with alcoholism, illness and disappointment. Married early to an eccentric heir to the Standard Drug Company, Lloyd quickly learns that the she’s made a ill-advised decision and encroaches on what promises to be a very public divorce, the process abruptly cut short when she learns her soon-to-be ex-husband has been killed in a car accident and an inheritance of $1 million has landed at her feet. Lloyd promptly enters into her second marriage and bankrolls her new husband’s many failing businesses until they discover Spanish Wells, an island in the Bahamas where the couple opens a scuba resort they successfully helm for 15 years—until tragedy strikes again. It’s at this turn that Lloyd embarks on perhaps the most challenging part of her life as she faces down illness, her long-standing alcoholism and the volatility of love. The author’s tone is infectious, if occasionally too digressive, but her tale zigs and zags through so many decadent experiences—travel, luxury and plenty of camp—that the reader can’t help but be carried along with the swell. The story crisply refuses to draw a conclusion about the ranging life its protagonist has led, leaving us to revel in the sooty side of bad decisions and the punchy highs brought on by hard-won redemption.
A survivor’s story that sometimes buckles under its loquacious tendencies yet reveals a one-of-a-kind life bound together by abandon, resilience and pure fun.