Friday, September 19, 2008

Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg

Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell Susanna her mother is in a coma after a car accident. She might not live. Any daughter would rush the thousands of miles to her mother's bedside. But Susanna cannot bring herself to go. Her courageous memoir explains why.

Glamorous, charismatic and a compulsive liar, Susanna's mother seduced everyone who entered her orbit. With outrageous behavior and judgment tinged by drug use, she taught her child the art of sex and the benefits of lying. Susanna struggled to break out of this compelling world, determined, as many daughters are, not to become her mother.

Sonnenberg mines tender and startling memories as she writes of her fierce resolve to forge her independence, to become a woman capable of trust and to be a good mother to her own children. Her Last Death is riveting, disarming and searingly beautiful.

I don't know if I have just read too many my-mother-was-terrible-and-it-wrecked-my-life type memoirs, or if it was my frame of mind (I've had a hard time getting through books lately), but I couldn't have cared less about this story.

The author came across as whiny to me. Yes, her mother was a drug addict and far from a good role model, but that doesn't excuse the author's poor choices at nearly every stage in her life. At some point you have to grow up and take responsibility for yourself, and I never felt Sonnenberg did that.

There wasn't all that much in the book that I found all that interesting or humorous. I keep reading, expecting it to get better and finally put it aside with about 40 pages left. If I have made it that far in a book I will almost always finish it, but I couldn't justify wasting anymore time when I have so many other books to read.

1 comment:

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

I had such a hard time writing a review about this book. Usually I try to inlude the positives and negatives about a book, but this one was just terrible.

I think you did a really good job with your review.