The confessions of a codependent housewife who stumbled through two failed marriages, raised three kids and overcame cancer to prove her mettle as a wife, mother and survivor.
Finn (Pennies from Heaven, 2013, etc.) employs the well-worn conceit of comparing a person to an onion: To get at some essence requires peeling back layers, even if the process brings tears or, in Finn’s case, blood. With rhetorical questions that hopscotch from one platitude to another and a few curse words thrown in to show realness—“Talk about feeling like a fuckin’ pincushion”—the self-proclaimed wannabe Barbie examines the plastic sheen on her seemingly perfect life: gorgeous husband, expensive clothes, nice cars, etc. These blessings fall away when the facade begins to crack and Finn descends into a hellish inverse of what she wanted, marrying two men both addicted to cocaine and suffering from severe personality disorders; she goes bankrupt while undergoing chemotherapy, after her second husband and business partner stole money from their real estate company. Her self-worth becomes based on her “ability to give, give, and give some more. In other words, I defined myself by the men in my life and lived solely to please them.” She’s also very concerned with her appearance, yet all the time in front of a mirror doesn’t always lead to Finn mustering more self-reflection. Being diagnosed with colon cancer leads her and her family to a complete breakdown. Still, there are some important lessons:Don’t base your life around a doll’s version of perfection; don’t date jerks; don’t continue to date and then marry said jerks; don’t become business partners with your narcissistic, drug-addict husband; don’t keep your children in unhealthy emotional environments; don’t give up; and legalize medical marijuana. Her anecdotes sometimes add color to tired aphorisms, while the lighthearted touch keeps the story from reconciling the emotional weight of her family’s trauma with superficial concepts of what truly matters.
An unrefined, unpolished story of finding yourself that reads like a cautionary tale.