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The story of the author’s search for a meaningful life after tragedy.

Rich (Johnny's Girl: A Daughter's Memoir of Growing Up in Alaska's Underworld, 1993) begins her narrative shortly after the death of her mother and murder of her father when she was in her teens. In a straightforward, journalistic style, she chronicles how, as an orphan in Alaska, she drifted from one friend’s home to another, attended high school, made friends, and explored nature, all while searching for a normal lifestyle. She then moves on to discuss her move to New York City, her college days, her first marriage, and her ventures into journalism. Eventually, Rich shares the details of writing her first memoir, Johnny’s Girl, which started out as a series of newspaper articles and was later made into a Hallmark TV movie. Once she moves past those early years, the author’s writing becomes somewhat less rote, and she focuses on minute details of her childhood and touching, sometimes-humorous tales of her grandfather, who suffered from dementia and struggled against a woman’s plot to marry him and take his money. Rich’s tone grows more serious as she discusses her bout with breast cancer and the frightening decisions she had to make during that period. She quickly follows with her troubles conceiving a child with her second husband and the efforts they made to create a family via fertility treatments and adoption. The second half of the book is far more vibrant and emotionally gripping than the first, allowing readers a closer look at the author as she is today rather than the awkward adolescent she used to be. For those who read Johnny’s Girl and want to know what happened next, this book has the answers.

An uneven memoir full of meticulous details and some funny moments.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-943328-50-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


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