Monday, July 20, 2009

A Memoir A Day....

Keeps the reading blues away? I don't know, but I've been reading a lot of memoirs lately, food and otherwise, and they are keeping me riveted. I have a few to review and so I think I am going to call this

Memoir Week

here at Books and Cooks. I am going to try to post each day, which may not work but I'll give it a go.

Today's featured memoir is

The Imposter's Daughter

by Laurie Sandell

I read an interview with Sandell in a magazine recently about her upcoming memoir and when it was offered for review by Hachette books I eagerly accepted. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it is a graphic book! I was not at all sure I was going to like this memoir, after all, I tried one graphic novel which didn't work for me at all, and another short one that did. Almost immediately after receiving The Imposter's Daughter, my computer was having issues and while I was waiting things to improve I began reading Sandell's book.

I was immediately drawn into her story. Sandell grew up in a home where there were many secrets surrounding her father. Where did he go on his long trips? Why did he get mail addressed to other people? Who did he communicate with on his ham radio? Did he really earn all the degrees and work at all the jobs he said he did? Sandell lived in a cycle in which she tried to understand and please a man who was unstable and dishonest. It's not until Sandell goes away to college and is a young woman that she realizes how her father has personally betrayed her and some of what he was involved in.

The heart of Sandell's book is what effect all this had on her. Not surprisingly, she's pretty damaged and makes some not-so-great choices. While her writing career takes off, she struggles in her relationships with men and with an addiction to sleeping pills. She avoids her father and is frustrated with the fact that her mother refuses to see her father as he really is.

I really enjoyed reading The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir . Despite my reluctance to read another graphic book this one has the right balance of narrative and dialogue to make it a satisfying read. Sandell's perseverance to seek the truth and take control of her life is quite moving and I enjoyed the unique way she told her story.

Many thanks to Hachette for this review copy.


bermudaonion said...

I thought this was a great book too. I'll be posting my review later this week.

Anonymous said...

Looks good! I really enjoy memoirs, and I always want to expand my graphic novel horizons. So this sounds like just the book for me!

Jenny said...

This does sound very interesting, and I've enjoyed most of the graphic novels I've read. Maybe you could post links to your reviews of the ones that did/ didn't work for you?

Anna said...

I'm really picky when it comes to memoirs, but I like the idea of it being a graphic novel. I'll have to keep this one in mind.

Diary of an Eccentric

Iliana said...

Great review Tara! I've read some memoirs in graphic form and I've enjoyed them so I will put this one on my list. Which one did you read that you didn't like?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the graphic memoir genre - I'm really hoping to get a chance to read this soon.

Staci said...

I haven't heard of this one but I love graphic novels so I think I would probably really enjoy it!

Tara said...

bermudaonion, I'll be looking for your review!

jennysbooks, I bet you'll like it then, and it's a quick read.

Jenny, I didn't post about the other graphic books. I wasnt' going to say, but, since two people have asked, I didn't care for Maus. I only read a few pages of it but it just didn't click for me, it seemed to be a lot of dialogue which makes me batty. I know it's won awards and such, it just wasn't for me. The book I enjoyed was Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs. It was lovely!

Anna, it was unusual, but it worked!

Iliana, thank you! I didn't care for Maus, I only read a few pages of it. I'm okay with holocaust subject matter, it was the fact that it was graphic and there was a lot of dialogue that put me off.

Carrie, do you? I hope you like this.

Staci, I bet you would too!

avisannschild said...

As you know, I really loved this one too. It's inspired me to read other graphic memoirs. (Seems like they'd make pretty good summer reading!) I really enjoyed your review!

Tara said...

avisannschild, this book does open up my mind to reading other graphic books - they are generally quick reads and, yes, I see your point about being good summer reads.