A sentimental journey through the author’s childhood.
Recollections of childhood are often gauzy half-remembrances that yield to selective memory. However, many authors are able to remain objective in their search through the past. In her debut book, writer and performer Clancy provides an impartial account of her life growing up in the outer reaches of Queens, but by stringing together a series of vignettes and remembrances rather than a thematically driven narrative, the recollections read more like an extended monologue. Growing up in an apartment with her mother in Bellerose, Queens, Clancy spent every other weekend at her police officer father’s cramped Broad Channel home and other weekends at the Hamptons estate of her mother’s boyfriend. Unfortunately, the novelty of these juxtapositions is short-lived. Skipping around in years, the author tells the story of her parents, the peculiarities of her grandparents, and the questionable decisions of her adolescence, which included smoking cigarettes and marijuana and regularly drinking while at school. In addition to her tales of adolescence, Clancy broaches the subject of her burgeoning homosexuality, chronicling a trip she and her mother took to visit her mother’s lesbian friend in Los Angeles. It was not until she was 19 that Clancy had her first girlfriend and came out to her parents. (Mom was fine. Dad, reluctantly accepted: “Ah, screw it. At least now we have two things in common—whiskey and women!”) Though Clancy’s story will strike a nerve with a particular strand of Gen Y who experienced the rap and grunge waves as high schoolers in the 1990s, there is not enough charm in the narrative to overcome the lack of focus and cohesion throughout her reflections.
At times funny and touching, Clancy’s recollections from her childhood are otherwise all too familiar in their mundanity.