X-rated memoir by novelist Resnick (Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick, 1999).
Sliding toward 50, the author takes stock of a life so sordid and filled with so much need that almost every page overflows with sadness and desperation. Her father Henry, a well-educated librarian portrayed as a weak man unable to stand up to his successive wives, left the house when Resnick was four. He never completely abandoned his daughter, yet never completely embraced her either. Her mother Jane, who committed suicide when the author was 14, also suffered from romantic addiction, compounded by substance abuse. As a result, Jane lost custody of Rachel and her baby brother. They kicked around, separately, from one living situation to another. Resnick’s partly Jewish heritage frequently complicated those living situations as well as her personal sense of identity. Not completely destitute, she attended Yale and showed promise as a writer. Her destructive relationships with men, however, frequently compromised the quality of her work, whether as an author or as a private investigator. At one low point, past age 40 and wanting to have a baby, Resnick became intentionally pregnant by one of her abusive lovers. She lost the hoped-for child early in the pregnancy, adding new velocity to her downward spiral. In the past five years, the author declares, she has begun to heal, thanks to 12-step programs and a healthy romantic/sexual relationship with a tender woman rather than an abusive man. Resnick’s prose is memorable, the situations she describes unforgettable—and both are frequently graphic. Unfortunately, the writer fails to inform readers whether she is using real names or pseudonyms, whether she has done anything to verify her memories and whether she has created composite characters—glaring omissions in an era of warranted suspicion about the accuracy of memoirs.
An important memoir about romantic/sexual addiction and the potential cures…if it’s accurate.