Tuesday, January 29, 2008

(12) Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg

Her Last Death.

Shocking, scandalous, sad.

The memoir (this years Glass Castle) starts out with the author receiving a phone call that her mother is on her death bed.

At first, Susy is skeptical. Her mother is a known pathological liar. But then she realizes that it isn't a joke & her mother seriously could be on her death bed.

And she has a decision to make. Does she leave her husband & two kids in Montana to go to Barbados to be by the bedside of the Mother who gave her her first line of cocaine? The mother who slept with her boyfriend?

From there, Susanna takes you back through her childhood. And a shocking childhood it is. In reading some of the horrific stories, you don't know if what she says is true. ALA James Frey.

From the front page "This is a work of memoir and subject to the imperfections of memory. I have been faithful to what I remember, and people in my family may remember shared experiences differently..."

So did her mother really give her a line of cocaine on her 13th birthday? I don't know. She quotes directly from her diary on several occasions. Horrific details of her mother's drug use & the physical abuse she endured.

The book gets very graphic sexually. Susanna holds nothing back when it comes to her on sexual exploits. Including losing her virginity to her English teacher in high school.

This memoir is very compatible to The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. But there is a difference. And it took me several days to actually determine what the difference between the two authors was.

Compassion.

Now, I know it probably isn't fair to compare the two memoirs, but The Glass Castle really touched my heart. And I was kind of expecting this one to do the same. So when I found myself not really liking the characters, I couldn't figure out why.

And it came to me. Susanna doesn't have the compassion for her mother, like Jeanette did for her family.

Now, that is not saying Susanna is a BAD person. Given her mother's personality & lifestyle, Susanna did not learn compassion from her mother. She learned how to give the perfect blow job & cut a good line of coke.

Her Last Death is a hard book to put down. Just because you want to see what happens next. It really is like a train wreck. If you have the time to spare, read it & get sucked into a lifestyle that you can only read about in books or watch in the movie theaters.

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Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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