A blogger and nonfiction writer’s account of how she survived both new motherhood and her eccentric parents’ federal imprisonment for fraud.
Fedden was 36 years old and nine months pregnant when she had her first encounter with the federal agents who raided her parents’ luxurious South Florida home. She already knew that her wisecracking mother, Cecily, had once dabbled in drug dealing. Alongside her husband, Joel, a man who produced softcore pornography for cable TV, Cecily made “deals” that the pair never discussed. Despite the questionable nature of their business, arrest—and eventually, incarceration—was not what Fedden expected would happen to the parents whose friends included John Gotti’s nephew and the “hooker who claimed to have screwed Mohammed Atta the week before 9/11.” The author and her husband tried to build a quiet, relatively conventional life together, but inevitably, they became unwitting witnesses to the chaos that enveloped their parents’ lives. Cecily emptied out checking accounts to “stick it straight up [the] asses” of government officials bent on destroying her life. Not to be outdone, Joel cheated on her with women who were either younger or crazier than she was. Meanwhile, Fedden struggled through the rigors of early motherhood. Feeling “defective as a woman” and generally incompetent in comparison to her apparently “perfect” sister, she explored yoga and New Age teachings, which she ridiculed at first but grew to love. As her parents’ glittering world began to crumble, Fedden muddled her way to understanding that a “beautiful life” was less about finding perfection and more about accepting, and loving, flaws, especially in family members. At once disturbing and appealing, Fedden’s book charts a refreshing path through family dysfunction and personal redemption.
Entertaining and unexpectedly wise.