Fiction Ruined My Family: A Memoir

Jeanne Darst. Riverhead, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59448-814-6
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In this memoir, freelance writer Darst has a brilliant eye for the absurd, sad, and often hilarious circumstances of her family life. Darst grew up as the youngest of four daughters. Her father, a lover of books and literature, came from a prestigious newspaper family. Her mother, a little rich girl, was a celebrated child equestrian. Yet Darst’s childhood reality—never enough money, “a stay-in-bed mom,” and a stay-at-home writer dad—didn’t jibe with the golden family saga. The jarring discrepancy set the family up for disaster. The family left St. Louis for New York in 1976, where her father began writing the Great American Novel, which never sold. He stopped writing and merely talked about it, her mother’s drinking increased, and Darst followed her example (“Her drinking was also completely out of control, which was infuriating, as I was trying to enjoy some out-of-control drinking myself”). Darst’s parents divorced, and their lives took a further turn downward: her father is mistaken for a homeless panhandler and her mother becomes “less and less of a mother you could take out in public.” With her own life a mess, Darst realizes she embodies the worst qualities of both her parents. With cutting language, she chronicles the perils and joys of the writing life and her journey toward sobriety and truth. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-54784-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-59448-617-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-52362-9
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