Fiction Ruined My Family
by Jeanne Darst
Nonfiction – Memoir
Released September, 2011
Bottom Line: Read it.
The youngest daughter of an alcoholic mother and a struggling writer father tells the true story of her childhood and of trying to avoid repeating her parents’ mistakes while trying to succeed as a writer herself.
Many reviews compared this book to Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, and I do think the two books are similar (although this one is definitely funnier). Certainly, if you liked The Glass Castle, you will probably like Fiction Ruined My Family.
It’s somewhat of a tragi-comedy – Darst is able to inject humor into a childhood that was pretty heartbreaking. She is honest and doesn’t sugarcoat any unpleasant experiences, both her own and her family’s. So much so that I wonder if any family members are still speaking to her after reading this book! She doesn’t spare any of them their most embarrassing moments being described in minute detail for the world to read! And, there are some doozies in there – i.e. if gross-out humor bothers you, probably best to avoid this book.
Darst basically lives her adult life with the sole purpose of creating situations that may result in great writing material. This involves rarely holding a steady job, living in squalor, and acting like she is 22 well into her mid-thirties. But, her strategy worked and she got a very entertaining memoir out of it all!
Though this is kind of a fun book, it is well-written and more than just a memoir of drunken escapades…it’s also going on my Book Club Recommendations List.