cover image The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story

The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story

David Crow. Sandra Jonas, $28.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-99748717-6

In this painful memoir, Crow recounts his experience growing up with a mentally ill mother and a violent, psychologically abusive father who expected his son to be “a Cherokee Indian of superior intelligence and courage.” With a degree of emotional dissonance, Crow explores the circumstances that led to his father Thurston’s arrest for nearly beating a man to death before the author was born, and how his disarming charisma and fabrications led to a light sentence. Crow grapples with the realization that Thurston unsuccessfully attempted to murder his mother, nearly making good on his frequent threats to make her disappear (“I was three and a half the first time my dad told me we had to get rid of my mother”). As an adult, Crow confronts the impact of Thurston’s violence and insatiable lies on his psychological development, while acknowledging his history of enabling his father’s crimes; at last, he confronts the monstrous man who raised him. Despite instances of stiff dialogue, Crow vividly characterizes a complex, deeply intelligent, and volatile figure whose lies would extend as far as fabricating his Native American heritage. Crow’s work delivers a truthful and ultimately empowering missive about the long shadow cast by an abusive parent. [em](May) [/em]