cover image Easy Street: A Story of Redemption from Myself

Easy Street: A Story of Redemption from Myself

Maggie Rowe. Counterpoint, $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-64009-379-9

Rowe (Sin Bravely), actor and television writer for shows including Arrested Development, proves that things aren’t always as they seem in this funny and touching memoir. Despite her happy marriage, successful career, and life on “a smooth road lined with jasmine” in L.A., she admits she’s had a bumpy run “beset by envy and petty rivalries of all kinds.” Plagued by her inner critic and battles with OCD, she relates how she came to resent anyone who had what she lacked—from Krista Tippett, host of NPR’s On Being (“Boy, did she play her cards right”) to even “wise old women on their deathbeds.” But those feelings took a turn when Rowe’s husband, former Golden Girls writer Jim Vallely, introduced her to Sunny and Joanna, a mother-daughter panhandling team who later became their close friends. While Rowe was initially skeptical of them, she traces how letting them in led to an intimate, at times tumultuous, relationship that began with a Golden Girls marathon and stretched over years and holidays singing ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” Eventually, their company led her to feel a fragile but real sense of contentment. Rowe’s bluntness about her mental health struggles, combined with her account of her imperfect but enduring dedication to Sunny and Joanna, makes for a heartstring-tugging and charming story. Readers will find it hard to put this one down. (Jan.)