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Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg



Paperback in Good (G) condition. Please see our guide to book conditions for more details.

Susanna Sonnenberg's memoir of growing up the privileged, peripatetic daughter of an eccentric mother falls somewhere in the middle of the contemporary memoir continuum: not as gripping as Jeannette Walls's Glass Castle or Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors, but infinitely more readable than Jennifer Saginor's improbably wan account of growing up in the Playboy Mansion.

Were it not for Sonnenberg's silky prose and vivid retelling of past events, Her Last Death would be a bit of a head-scratcher. Sonnenberg's refusal to name reportedly famous acquaintances is bewildering in these tabloid times. While readers will sympathize with her scorching teenage embarrassment at her mother's antics--which invariably include some combination of drugs, sex, profligate spending, and ceaseless babbling about the three--the author's globetrotting and universal backstage access make much of her life seem more glamorous than grueling. And her confession to having "conflated or changed some events and dialogue," as well as creating "occasional composites" changing some identifying characteristics and reconstructing some conversations" takes some of the oomph out of the book's emotional thrust. Still, Sonnenberg's stories of how her mom sanctioned cocaine use in the home while shagging anything that moved--including her daughter's teenage pals are riveting, in a rubbernecking way.