By the time Wendy Lawless turned 17, she'd known for quite some time that she didn't have a normal mother. But that didn't stop her from wanting one.... Georgann Rea didn't bake cookies or go to PTA meetings; she wore a mink coat and always had a lit Dunhill plugged into her cigarette holder. She went through men like Kleenex, and didn't like dogs or children. Georgann had the ice queen beauty of a Hitchcock heroine and the cold heart to match.
Wendy Lawless deftly charts the highs and lows of growing up with her younger sister in the shadow of an unstable, fabulously neglectful mother. Georgann, a real-life Holly Golightly who constantly reinvents herself as she trades up from trailer park to penthouse, suffers multiple nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts while Wendy tries to hide the cracks in their fractured family from the rest of the world.
Chanel Bonfire depicts a childhood blazed through the refined aeries of the Dakota and the swinging town houses of London, while the girls' beautiful but damned mother desperately searches for glamour and fulfillment. Ultimately, Wendy and her sister must choose between living their own lives and being their mother's warden - the hardest, most painful, yet most important decision each of them will ever make.
©2013 Wendy Lawless (P)2013 Tantor
"Frequently entertaining chronicle of a daughter's sad, detached upbringing - but this story's all about the mother." (Kirkus)
Unless the reader is interested in all tales of abusive childhoods and alcoholic parents, or has no knowledge of what torment can occur within a family; I doubt this will be found anything special.
This is nothing you wouldn't hear in an A.A meeting, or from a friend. The author's mother was beautiful, but that, and the title seem to be a marketing ploy to make an otherwise unremarkable book sound unique.
Sadly, stories like this abound. To make a lasting mark, in my opinion the author needs to intuitively add insights, wisdom, and have almost a poetic sensibility. Hearing "I felt sad" "I felt guilty" isn't evocative when it's used almost solely to describe emotion.
Overall this was a collection of events told so dispassionately, I felt as if I'd tuned into a radio interview I'd have on in the background only until the dishes were finished.
It was like listening to an average student reading a High School essay aloud.
Disappointment, and of course a generalized, detached sadness that anyone has to go through this, including her mother,who, while obviously unfit to be a mother, was mentally unwell, and had suffered abuse herself. She wasn't having any fun either.
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