The Chelsea Whistle (Paperback)
Seal Press (CA), 9781580052399, 384pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
In this gritty, confessional memoir, Michelle Tea takes the reader back to the city of her childhood: Chelsea, Massachusettsa place where time and hope are spent on things not getting any worse. Tea's girlhood is shaped by the rough fabric of the neighborhood and by its charactersthe soft vulnerability of her sister Madeline and her quietly brutal Polish father; the doddering, sometimes violent nuns of Our Lady of Assumption; Marisol Lewis from the projects by the creek; and Johnna Latrotta, the tough-as-nails Italian dance-school teacher who offered a slim chance for escape to every young Chelsea girl in tulle and tap shoes. Told in Tea's trademark loose-tongued, lyrical style, this memoir both celebrates and annihilates one girl's tightrope walk out of a working-class slum and the lessons she carries with her. With wry humor and a hard-fought wisdom, Tea limns the extravagant peril of a dramatic adolescence with the private, catastrophic secret harbored within the walls of her family's homea secret that threatens to destroy her family forever.