I start back to school tomorrow, and am feeling winsome about quite a few things. No more "me" time (or precious little, anyway); no more hanging out at Ye Olde Swimming Hole; no more reading for pleasure~for the foreseeable future, at any rate
Lies My Mother Never Told Me is one of those books that I enjoyed immensely this past summer. Not because it's a summer read~Kaylie Jones's memoir is far too deep for that~but because I had the time to digest this rollercoaster ride without having to worry about papers to grade, people to see, or Principal Man's latest shenanigans.
Jones is a daughter of literature. Sure, she knows how to write, and this gem holds more than a few delights between its 370 pages. But she's also the progeny of WWII novelist James Jones (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, Whistle) and the sometimes-actress/socialite and literary colony maven Gloria Jones.
The author combines tales from her iconic childhood, spent in Paris and the Hamptons, with memories of her hard-drinking parents and their über-famous social circle. What kid wouldn't have been affected by friendships with all the greats of the mid-20th Century literary scene? Jones's stories about William Styron, Truman Capote, Willie Morris and Kurt Vonnegut are enough to keep the reader stuck to her proverbial beach chair, no matter how many fabulous summer activities beckon.
But there's a larger reason why I finished this riveting but lengthy account in less than a week. Jones reflects on her childhood through the lens of a woman who herself has lived a privileged, but difficult, life. She frames her tale from the viewpoint of a recovering alcoholic who perseveres.
Jones's victories essentially become, for a short time, the fabric of the reader's consciousness as well. We're all behind Kaylie in her battle with her demons, both large and small, real and imagined. And that's what makes this wonderful memoir so much more than just a summer read.