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A Memoir

by Kambri Crews

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-345-51602-2
Publisher: Villard

A New York publicist and producer’s unsparing yet compassionate account of her dysfunctional childhood and the father who both charmed and victimized her family.

As the hearing child of two deaf adults, Crews grew up between worlds. Her outsider status increased when she and her parents moved to Boars Head, Texas, a place that “wasn’t even on the map.” At first, their new life, though undeniably difficult, seemed a glorious, backwoods adventure—the perfect tonic for her father’s roving eye and failing marriage. But not long after they moved from their tin-shed shelter into a mobile home, Crews began to see evidence of domestic abuse that took the form of mysterious bruises on her mother’s face and inexplicably cruel behavior in her brother. Her home life continued to show signs of ugly undercurrents, yet only silence prevailed, and the author threw herself into school and a full-time job. Meanwhile, her carpenter father began losing jobs and turning to alcohol and gambling while her mother struggled to support a splintering family. When Crews was 16, she witnessed “by far the most traumatic incident I had ever experienced in my life”: her father destroying the family home and brutalizing her mother. Even after she found success in her career, her past was far from behind her. At age 31, she received the shattering news that her father had stabbed his girlfriend. Rather than blame her father for his actions, however, Crews chose to embrace a more difficult truth. She, along with her own family—in collusion with a society and criminal-justice system insensitive to the needs of domestic-abuse victims—had contributed to what he had become.

Poignant and unsettling.