Category Archives: USA Today

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Chanel BonfireBy Wendy Lawless
Gallery Books, 295 pp.
*** 1/2
Wendy Lawless’s biting memoir recounts her unstable childhood under the care — if you’d call it that — of her neglectful socialite mother, Georgann Rea. With Wendy and her sister Robin as props in her glamorous world, Georgann is a larger-than-life terror in a string of darkly comic anecdotes. She locks her children in a closet for hours, forces them to give back their Christmas presents and kidnaps them from their father, and that’s all before puberty. Then mommy dearest gets overly friendly with the first boy Wendy says she has a crush on. Colorful locales, from Minneapolis trailer parks to lavish London town houses, flash by in this shocking story of two sisters’ survival despite their mother’s mental illness. It’s a quick but powerful read that you can only wish was fiction. — Lindsay Deutsch