by Wendy Lawless
It has not been that long ago that some children grew up in some households with unstable, un-medicated mothers. Historically, this situation has provided the fertile soil that cultivated many a memorable upbringing, rich fodder for family reunions and subsequent stage adaptations.
Today thanks to modern pharmaceuticals known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro…) and the modern belief in better living through chemistry, everyone is medicated. We may someday miss the madness in millennial memoirs.
Wendy Lawless chronicles her mother’s un-medicated mental instability in Chanel Bonfire. The memoir leads readers through the 1970′s around the mine/mind fields left by the author’s mother. Wendy and her younger sister are dragged cross country, across the Atlantic and back again as their mother ping pongs from husband to husband (some hers, some belonging to others).
Take one beautiful, mentally unstable mother, add alcohol, money and the opportunities beauty brings and you have the makings of a romantic memoir. Take away a grasp on reality, the money and the willing men and you have a roller coaster ride of Hollywood/Hazelden proportions.
If you grew up with the “dark bedroom, curtains drawn” type of mom, buckle your seatbelts, take a few deep breaths and hang on for dear life. You are about to take a drive down the gravel road of memory lane. If you grew up with a “sunny porch, ice tea in hand” kind of mom, be brave take a peek through the curtains and thank your lucky stars.
“Mothers are all slightly insane.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye