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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones

Lies My Mother Never Told Me: A Memoir

Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 0061778710
Pages: 400 pgs
Genre: Memoir
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

     Summary (from Publisher)
    Her mother, Gloria, was a brainy knockout whose fierce wit could shock an audience into hilarity or silence. Her father was James Jones, the award-winning author of From Here to Eternityand other acclaimed novels of World War II . Kaylie Jones grew up amid such family friends as William Styron, Irwin Shaw, James Baldwin, and Willie Morris, and socialized with the likes of Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonnegut. When her father died from heart failure complicated by years of drinking, sixteen-year-old Kaylie was broken and lost, which in turn left her powerless to withstand her mother's withering barbs and shattering criticism, or to halt Gloria's further descent into the bottle—or that of her own.

    Lies My Mother Never Told Me is a beautifully written tale of personal evolution, family secrets, second chances, and one determined woman's journey to find her own voice.
    My Review:
    I don’t often pick up a book knowing that I will love it. It just never happens for me. With this one I knew that I would love it. I loved A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries and the movie version has been a staple in my DVD collection. I knew this one would be of similar themes so I couldn’t wait to pick it up.

    Lies My Mother Never Told Me was, first and foremost, a book about a child’s relationship with her parents. Sounds simple right? Nope. The relationship between James and Gloria Jones and their daughter was complex. I loved reading about James Jones from the eyes of his daughter. I have always thought of James Jones as the man who wrote war books, so, it was nice to see a gentler side to him. The closeness between Kaylie and her father was palpable in every word Kaylie wrote about him. The relationship with Kaylie and her mother was quite different. It bordered on antagonistic and sometimes crossed the line to emotional abuse especially after her father’s death.   Kaylie often described how gregarious and attractive her mother was but only from a distance. I caught glimpses of this  in A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries but it was not so blatant.

    I admire Kaylie Jones’ willingness to put all of this out there so honestly. It is so much easier to bury everything and pretend it doesn’t exist. Jones spares no detail and writes with almost complete clarity. That is one thing that I loved so much about this book. Memoirs that can be brutally honest are rare. Either they attempt to gloss over the facts or make it somehow prettier but in this one Kaylie Jones tackles the facts with honesty and a beautifully engaging writing style.

    I cannot state how much I highly recommend this book (and all of Kaylie Jones’ other books). She is one of my favorite writers and this is definitely a must read.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

    1 comment:

    1. "It is so much easier to bury everything and pretend it doesn’t exist." How true! And like you said, memoirs often either gloss over the bad parts or focus solely on them. It sounds like this book did neither, but rather tackled the issues with honesty. I'm so glad that this book didn't disappoint you! Thanks for being a part of the tour.



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