An engrossing, cathartic account of empathy and success through determination and confidence.

RUNNING THROUGH DARKNESS

MEMOIR OF A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR

This debut memoir chronicles a woman’s spiritual exploration and growth as she overcame a disturbing childhood and helped others heal.

Brought to America from the Dominican Republic as a youngster, Molina-Marshall should have led a happy life. Her father was a diligent worker, and his large family wanted for nothing. But the author recounts that her dad had a drinking problem and was a serial philanderer. Molina-Marshall’s long-suffering mother left him for a woman. Then it was all downhill for the bright, 12-year-old girl, who was shuttled between foster care and relatives. According to the author, she was sexually abused by the husband of one of her siblings. This resulted in Molina-Marshall becoming alienated and moody. By 15, she simply tried to survive. In her favor were grit and a restless intelligence. She quit school, rented a room, and found a factory job. Time went by, and for a while she was happily married. Yet when her husband left her, her life truly began. She turned to religion for answers but decided that blaming God for her woes was a cop-out. In this absorbing and moving memoir, Molina-Marshall’s vivid storytelling is fearless. She frankly discusses the truths she discovered and the indignities she suffered. These admissions are disclosed with a touch of resignation and plenty of bite. However painful, everything she experienced was a lesson, and she bravely realized that she was part of the problem: “The fear of being hurt, rejected, or abused often led to me feeling lonely and misunderstood. No one knew the agonizing pain I felt being trapped in my thoughts and anger. I was becoming my biggest threat.” The author skillfully recounts her intricate spiritual journey. To deal with her psychic wounds, she searched for an inspirational system. Her open-mindedness led her to the interfaith concept—cherry-picking from various religions and spiritual movements, yoga, and Indigenous beliefs as a way of finding peace. Along with her female partner, she built a therapy practice, making use of every spiritual element that aided her and others. The road was bumpy, and she found that women of color in same-sex relationships were not welcomed everywhere. To do good works—and finally live on her own terms—she effectively overcame bigotry.

An engrossing, cathartic account of empathy and success through determination and confidence.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-578-38315-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: From Trauma to Triumph

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2022

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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