Saturday, March 14, 2009

Her Last Death by Susanna Sonneberg

Susanna Sonneberg's mother gets the "Covertly Incestuous Totally inappropriate Mother of the Century" award. DAMN> This book is great because it flies in the face of so may illusions about mothers and whether or not they abuse...and how they do so. I'd like to strangle this woman, and mad props to Susanna for cutting her off and getting a clue about boundaries. Review

Susanna's mother gave her a copy of Penthouse when she was a ten-year-old, cocaine when she was 12, and seduced her boyfriend at 14. Sonnenberg recounts "the true calamity of being daughter to this mother." The glory of this memoir is that the author survived her traumatic childhood and somehow navigated her way to a deftly written book capturing her dismantled youth. The daughter of a glamorous, falling-down addict of a mother and a gifted, self-absorbed father, Sonnenberg never falls into the trap of attempting to analyze two people never meant to be parents. Instead, we are allowed to feel the strange and powerful familial currencies running between mother and daughter through the keenly observed writing of Sonnenberg. The writing is razor-sharp and raw, a significant feat considering the untethered early years of this immensely talented writer. --Molly Jay 

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