By Wendy Lawless
(Gallery Books, Hardcover, 9781451675368, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
With clear-eyed grace, refreshing honesty, and flashing wit, Wendy Lawless tells the true story of her unhinged upbringing in this New York Times bestselling memoir.
By the time Wendy Lawless turned seventeen, 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.
In “a searing memoir that reads like a novel” (Anne Korkeakivi, An Unexpected Guest), 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.
Wendy Lawless is an actress who has appeared on television, in regional theater, Off-Broadway in David Ives’s Obie-winning play All in the Timing and on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles. Her essays about being a mom in Hollywood, including “Whatever Happened to Musical Chairs?” have appeared in the local Los Angeles press. She lives in California with her screenwriter husband and their two children.
“Lawless leavens her harrowing story with biting humor and never descends into self-pity--but boy, do we feel for her.”
"Frequently entertaining chronicle of a daughter’s sad, detached upbringing."
“[A] darkly comic memoir…[Lawless] chronicles her mother’s decline from sparkling femme fatale to desperate drunk in this simultaneously chilling and hilarious tale, whose unmistakable message is that though Lawless has, in some ways, led a privileged life, she never got the one thing she most wanted: her mother’s love."
“[A] quick but powerful read that you can only wish was fiction.”
“Lawless’s chronicles of life with her charming, wildly unstable mother could be bleak, but the author’s wit, resilience, and compassion make her story illuminating and inspiring.”
"A searing memoir that reads like a novel, as Lawless’s beautiful, unstable mother careens through the swinging sixties and seventies in New York, London, Paris and Morocco, two captive blond daughters in tow, before bottoming out in Boston. What astonishes is the author’s ability to tell her often hair-raising story of survival not only with lucidity and fluency but wry humor."
-Anne Korkeakivi, author of An Unexpected Guest
“[A] wrought and engaging memoir.”
“I was blown away by Wendy's ability to tell the story of such an emotional, troubled upbringing with such heart, love, and oftentimes, humor. If she isn't bitter, maybe none of us have the right to be. I found her story riveting.”
-Sarah Colonna, New York Times bestselling author of Life as I Blow It
"Mothers, in spite of what we wish desperately to believe, are sometimes very, very bad at taking care of children. Wendy Lawless survived her mother's flagrant horror show to bear witness and record her astonishing childhood. Chanel Bonfire makes an undesirable truth more vivid: some mothers just plain suck."
-Susanna Sonnenberg, New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Death and She Matters
“Chanel Bonfire is both terribly funny and terribly tragic, often at the same time. With remarkable clarity, wit, and grace, Wendy Lawless recounts a childhood defined by her wildly unstable mother, a woman who can morph from Grace Kelly to Joan Crawford in the blink of an eye. I laughed a lot, teared up once or twice, and called my mom to say ‘I love you’ once I finished.”
-Cristina Alger, bestselling author of The Darlings
This book is on these lists:List 9 by sdunbar12
Library requests by erickskh
Magleonard's Wish List by magleonard
Mama s's Wish List by mama s
Purely entertaining by erickskh
2013 TBR by NoelleL
Amr130's Wish List by amr130
Gail500's Wish List by gail500
NF Biography by Hazelthyme
Another list by Kerri
All lists >>