Postmortem

Laurel Saville, iUniverse.com/Rising Star, $16.95 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-1-4401-6105-6
In this thoughtful memoir about childhood idealism, the art world, and mental illness, Saville documents her stormy relationship with her mother, gifted artist and designer Ann Ford, who socialized with the likes of Marlon Brando and Claes Oldenburg, but whose schizophrenia, drinking, and drug use led to homelessness and a tragic end. Saville spent years coping with Ford's eccentricities and destructive behavior, grew estranged, and finally moved away. But when she learned of her mother's murder at the hands of a transient, she began digging into the past and questioning assumptions about her grandparents, her mother's talents, her parents' breakup, and her own upbringing. Saville creates lovely imagery and writes with introspection, but she holds her most personal material at arm's length, preventing readers from ever fully engaging with the story. The book has all the right pieces—mental illness, childhood trauma, substance abuse, and celebrity—but it is clumsily fashioned. While Saville is clearly trying to come to terms with her own story, readers will not find it as easy to maintain interest.
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 09/01/2009
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Paperback - 196 pages - 978-1-4401-6107-0
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