Reinhart’s debut memoir recounts her childhood and early adulthood as she worked toward stability and self-realization.
The author was born in 1969 near Oakland, California, and she and her family moved into the city itself soon afterward. Reinhart had to quickly adjust to life in the “Holy Hill” neighborhood; at school, Reinhart says, she learned “from one of the toughest girls” there to stick up for herself and to never be a “mark.” As one of the few white kids at her school, she struggled to find a way into the social scene, she says. Although her parents weren’t religious, she joined a local community of arch-conservative Apostolic Pentecostals. Through the church, she befriended 19-year-old Lindsay, who gave her horseback-riding lessons; she also taught Reinhart how to cook and clean in a more laid-back way than her own fastidious mother did. The author eventually took exception to her church’s treatment of women, and by junior high, she’d delved further into her school’s party scene and began going on dates—sometimes with older men in their 20s. Reinhart also says that she became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol. After finishing high school, she studied to become a hairstylist and was successful in her career before an unexpected pregnancy at the age of 20 changed her life forever. Overall, Reinhart writes in a conversational tone, as if she’s telling a juicy story to a good friend. This voice makes her memoir an easy read even when the subject matter takes darker turns. Her portrayal of her relationship with her mother is deeply detailed although her connections with her sister and father are less defined. Reinhart ends her story tidily with a description of how she came to “manifest” her goals and bring them to fruition. However, she tells more about this transformation than she shows, which makes the overall arc somewhat unsatisfying; for instance, when she describes her relationship with her future husband, Hunter, she stuffs their scenes of conflict with explanation rather than letting readers draw their own conclusions.
A memoir that crafts a neatly resolved narrative though it doesn’t always dive as deeply as it could have.