Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell

Flap copy from ARC:
"Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is--not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them--herself."

This graphic novel was a truly wonderful read, full of insights and pathos. Sandell's willingness to lay bare her family secrets in an effort to better understand the reasons behind her sometimes self-destructive behavior is so raw and honest that I hurt for her. Her story is a touching one that outlines the challenges that those living with mental illness in the family must endure, and the terrible effect that an untreated condition can have on family members. I found myself enraged on Sandell's behalf when her mother and sisters acted as enablers, but came to realize they too were coping in the ways they thought best. Though this is my first graphic novel, its quality has convinced me it will not be my last. Highly recommended!

2 comments:

avisannschild said...

This was the first graphic novel/memoir I'd read too (unless you count the comic books I read as a kid) and I loved it. In fact, it spawned quite an obsession with the genre!

jennysbooks said...

Interesting! I read another review of this book that was pretty negative, and was disappointed because I'd been looking forward to reading it. I think I'll have to put this back on my list! :)