Don’t Let Me Down: A Memoir

Erin Hosier. Atria, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4495-1

Literary agent Hosier shares an unsettling yet witty coming-of-age story, focusing on her relationship with her father, a man she describes as both villain and hero. Growing up in Burton, Ohio, in the 1970s, Hosier, the eldest of three, idolized the man who mocked her clumsy attempts to ride a bike, and who called her a whore when she was caught having sex as a teen. Alternatively, her father, who worked in advertising, could also be a kind, charismatic man who adored the Beatles (the family’s theme song is “Here Comes the Sun”). Hosier probes deeply into her own life, realizing that her flawed relationship with her father was the harbinger of future romantic mishaps, such as dating a psychopathic sculptor and a needy young man who cheats on her. Despite the darker elements of her history—she was molested at age 10 by a 15-year-old neighbor—Hosier’s tale is infused with levity, as when she writes of losing her virginity in a Firebird owned by a boyfriend’s mom “with the ‘I Love Jesus’ bumper sticker’ ” (“the sex lasted only as long as a couple of [radio] commercials”). With chapter headings named after Beatles songs, this incisive memoir effectively transports readers to the ’70s while exploring the weighty complexities of father-daughter love. (Feb.)