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A Memoir

by Jeanne Darst

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59448-814-6
Publisher: Riverhead

A woman's post-adolescent coming-of-age amid her less-than-conventional family.

In her debut memoir, Darst chronicles the subject she knows best—playing the part of the youngest daughter to her failed writer father and alcoholic mother. Add to the mix a group of three equally peculiar sisters—"a book-hater, a compulsive reader, a paperwork fanatic"—and the readers are left with a startlingly frank account of a family seemingly on leave from the loony bin. As a child, Darst naively placed her faith in her father's writing, assuring herself that "things aren't going that great now, but it's all about to change, drastically, because Dad's gonna sell this novel…” He never did, and as the family's financial hardships worsened, so did her mother's alcoholic tendencies, both of which provided an unstable home life that eventually crumbled down around them. While Darst's humorous tone guards readers from the memoir's darker moments, occasionally readers may yearn for a slightly more serious take. The author’s troubles with crabs (of the STD variety), a failed lesbian interaction and an incident involving a bowel movement and a plastic bag all serve as further proof of intimate encounters exploited for humor rather than examined on any deeper level (though admittedly, there is little insight to be gleaned from the plastic-bag incident). Despite its surface-level story, Darst's work offers readers plenty of laughs, though it could benefit from a few more tears.

A comic tale of a drifting writer's stumblings beyond her family's eccentricities onto her own path toward happiness.