cover image Between Two Trailers: A Memoir

Between Two Trailers: A Memoir

J. Dana Trent. Convergent, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-44407-8

Minister Trent (Saffron Cross) recollects in punishing detail her hardscrabble childhood in Indiana and North Carolina with mentally ill parents who roped her into the drug trade. Her father, who was known as King for his religious “visions” and the band of devoted followers who gathered to hear them, taught Trent to separate marijuana stems and seeds from “good bud” and brought her with him on drug drops at age four. Meanwhile, Trent’s mother, a Southern-born psychiatric nurse who’d been hospitalized after attempting suicide, languished in bed, depressed or high. When her parents divorced, the seven-year-old author was ripped away from her small-town Indiana trailer and brought to North Carolina, where she and her mother bounced between relatives’ homes. Eventually, Trent returned to Indiana to spend summers with her father and grandparents, a move that stirred up her mother’s jealousy: “Navigating time with my parents was a losing game of Whac-a-Mole.” Despite her destructive binge drinking and overeating, Trent managed to finish college, marry, and get ordained as a minister after graduating from Duke University Divinity School. Trent’s attempts to recover from her trauma get relatively short shrift, which makes the note of faith she concludes on (“Home, as it turns out, was there all along in my two very loving and very unconventional... parents”) feel somewhat tacked-on. Still, fans of Jeannette Walls and Tara Westover will be drawn to Trent’s blend of grit and hope. Agent: Mark Tauber, Watermark Agency. (Apr.)