Hungry Hill: A Memoir

Carole O'Malley Gaunt, Author . Univ. of Massachusetts $19.95 (284p) ISBN 978-1-55849-589-0

P laywright Gaunt was 13 when her father went out one morning to do errands with her seven brothers in the family car. He told her to let the priest in, if he knocked—neglecting to mention that the priest was coming to administer Last Rites to her dying mother. After the funeral, her father told her that since she was so tough, he'd rely on her to look after her brothers. This being 1959, no one discussed her mother's cancer or her father's alcoholism. Still, Gaunt already understood how her father's behavior changed after a few drinks, how his hangovers became more and more debilitating. Before long, he found another woman to marry. He knew the stepmother slapped his children too freely, that she was emotionally erratic, but he enjoyed having an adult drinking companion. When alcohol made a widow of the nasty stepmother, Gaunt and her brothers endured a few more years of her unpleasantness before they were old enough to escape their loveless home. The saddest part of Gaunt's story is her feeling that she spent her youth parenting her brothers and her irresponsible father: “I was always a mother, never a daughter.” In the end, Gaunt has written a poignant, heart-wrenching memoir. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Hardcover - 284 pages - 978-1-55849-588-3
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