Everything has history, but sometimes, history is more deeply rooted than we can imagine. Today marks the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and we can’t help but remember all the powerful authors that brought slavery into the light for us to truly see.
So many legendary authors have created works that stood the tests of time. They gave us literature and the truth all in one. Here are four works to honor this day and every day of freedom:
One of the first of the slave narratives, Jacobs’s work was a passionate appeal to white women living in the Northern United States to enlighten themselves as to the evils of slavery. Jacobs describes her life from a young age living as a slave in North Carolina. Her formative years are relatively idyllic and it is not until her mother dies and her mistress bequeaths her to a relative that she begins to discover the true horror of her position. What follows is a harrowing narrative of sexual abuse and fight for survival. While the work was almost immediately overshadowed by the start of the American Civil War it has since found its place as one of the most important of all the slave narratives distinguishing itself as one of the first from the female perspective.
Considered as one of the most famous of all the slave narratives ever written, the story recounts Douglass’s life from early childhood growing up in Maryland as a slave to his eventual escape to the North. Douglass tells of his life with various owners depicting the cruelty that he himself endured and was witness to. Douglass begins to learn to read and write when his master’s wife, Mrs. Sophia Auld, begins teaching him the alphabet and some small words. His instruction quickly comes to an end though when Mr. Auld disapproves. Douglass, however, realizing the importance of literacy, takes it upon himself to learn to read and write. This decision would serve him well as he would eventually use it to document the civil injustices of slavery in 19th century America and to craft his impassioned oratories against it.
Northup, who was a free African American living in Saratoga, New York, had no idea what was in store for him when he was approached by two circus promoters with an offer of a brief high paying job as a musician with their traveling circus. A skilled violinist, Solomon gladly accepted the offer and traveled with the two men to Washington, D.C. When he awoke one morning drugged and bound in a cell for slaves he discovered the men’s true intentions of selling him into slavery. What followed was twelve years of bondage during which Northup experienced the gamut of both kindness and cruelty afforded to slaves in the Southern United States just prior to the American Civil War.
Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.
Steve Jobs is often remembered as a brilliant mind that bestowed humanity with gifts in the form of various technologies that we use today. There have been many books published about him after his death, and two movies have come out to portray his life. However, in her new book, Lisa Brennan-Jobs discusses how life with her father really was, giving us many unknown details and characteristics about the tech titan.
Image Via Macrumor
Although the author has said in interviews that she has come to peace with her father, the new memoir Small Fry presents Steve Jobs as a very cold and often times manipulative father. Brennan started work on the book not long after Jobs’ passing. She spent time interviewing most of her family and even past loves of both her parents in order to have somewhat of a distinctive view of a different type of family.
Although one might expect the work to mainly cover the relationship with her famous father, Brennan doesn’t shy away from writing accurately about her family. In a recent interview according to The New York Times, the author’s mother Chrisann Brennan stated:
“It was horrendous for me to read… It was very, very hard. But she got it right.”
Ms. Brennan said that her daughter has, if anything, underplayed the chaos of her childhood. “She didn’t go into how bad it really was, if you can believe that,” she said.
Image Via The Inquisitr
Although it sounds like a brutally honest account of cold and distant family members, Brennan also recounts the good times with her family. Their relationship was somewhat rocky, but there are moments where Steve Jobs releases hold of his harsh exterior and truly bonds with his daughter. Some of their conversations and moments are both heartwarming and satisfying, only ever-present in a few pages.
Small Fry is due to release soon on September 4th. Be sure to pre-order your copy!
In 1999, author Laurie Halse Anderson released a young adult novel entitled Speak that would result in widespread conversation and a shift in the way we view and talk about sexual assault.
The novel spread quickly and rooted itself deep, still being something that is read and taught in classrooms across the globe today, even resulting in a movie adaptation starring Kristen Stewart.
**Speak Spoilers Ahead**
Speak is written through the perspective of high school freshman Melinda Sordino as she struggles with finding her place after being completely ostracized and isolated by her peers for calling the police during a party. Melinda begins shutting down more and more, solely expressing herself through art projects; she hardly verbalizes anything aloud at all. What her classmates and friends fail to understand is that Melinda was raped by popular senior Andy Evans at the party and, in a moment of panic and disembodiment, called the police. By the time the police arrived, Melinda found herself in a state of dissociation, unable to say what had occured. She buries the assault deep inside of her, confiding in no one.
Speak is brutal, honest, and so, heartbreakingly real in the way it describes sexual assault it sparked a fire of conversation revolving around a side of sexual assault and rape culture that hadn’t yet been seen in the media. I remember first reading the book when I was about eleven years-old and the impact and mark it imprinted on me; it’s a novel I’ve never been able to forget.
Laurie Halse Anderson was inspired by her own sexual assault to write the novel, hoping to incite some sort of change. Now twenty years later and frustrated with the fact that, although the conversation regarding rape culture has changed, the culture itself is still very much problematic, Anderson has penned a new memoir centered around the subject.
The memoir is called Shoutand is a free-verse work of nonfiction detailed Anderson’s own rape, her fight to overcome the emotional aftermath, and her journey into finding some sort of healing. Anderson recently spoke out about the upcoming memoir, saying:
I lost my voice for a very long time after I was raped. I lost myself, too. Shout is a poetry tapestry that shares the darkness of my silent years and shows how writing helped me speak up. Shout is a declaration of war against rape culture and a celebration of survival.
And, in a time of sexual assault being so prevalent it seems like there’s a new case appearing in the media daily, this memoir can’t come soon enough.The way we speak about rape and assault has shifted and progressed so much that it can be easy to feel like society, as a whole, has finally progressed past it. But believing that would be ignoring that disgusting-but-real truth that one woman is assaulted in America every 98 seconds. Just because sexual assault is being talked about widely and predators like Harvey Weinstein have been brought down, doesn’t mean we can grow complacent.
According to RAINN1 out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (this statistic increases to 1 out of four women while attending college in the United States). And 94% of sexual assault victims will suffer from PTSD.
Sexual assault is so prevalent within our society I don’t think I, personally, know any women who haven’t been sexually assaulted or raped. It’s vital that we keep speaking up about it and that we listen when others rise to share their stories. It’s so weighing for women to be living in a constant state of fear, of never walking home alone at night, of “please stop following me”, of “text me when you get home safe” because we all know the reality of danger constantly hanging over our heads.
There can no longer be a stigma surrounding this because our well-being, and the well-being of our sisters, is always at risk. Laura Halse Anderson is doing such brave, powerful, revolutionary work (work that she’s been doing for the past two decades).You can’t miss out on this book. Share it with your family and friends. Keep standing up and speaking out.
And if you’re one of the many of us who’ve been victims of sexual violence, understand that it is no way your fault. You are not alone because you are standing alongside all of us, arm in arm.
Yrsa Daley-Ward was born in 1989 in Northern England and, at just twenty-nine years old, has already published two full-length works and gained 136K followers on Instagram. She is arguably one of themost famed and renowned Instapoets of the modern age, what with her posts gaining more than eight-thousand likes. Read her compelling poem Mental Health here.
However, Daley-Ward wasn’t always the well-known force of literature that she is today; her upbringing was a darkly complicated, messy, and difficult one. She was raised alongside her younger brother by their single mother and her eccentric, toxic partner before they were eventually sent to live with their incredibly religious, strict, and domineering grandparents.
As soon as she finished high-school, Daley-Ward made the decision to skip out on college, leave her grandparents home behind, and move to Manchester, before eventually moving to London. Now, finally out of her strict, conservative upbringing, she began to really see herself and understand her body and the power her sexuality could hold. She began pursuing modeling; struggling for years to make ends meet. She took up work as an escort and an exotic dancer before eventually deciding to leave England behind and move to Cape Town, South Africa.
The thing that attracted me to South Africa was that the models look like me and there’s so much more diversity.
Cape Town turned out to be the place Daley-Ward would rediscover her love of words, writing, and poetry. She’d originally begun submitting her poems to literary journals at the age of seventeen but found herself feeling rejected and discouraged, so she spent the following years focusing on modeling; pushing away the burning need to express that was boiling up inside of her.
Image Via Sleek Magazine
Not long after her arrival to South Africa, Daley-Ward happened upon a bar hosting a spoken word open mic night and decided to take the opportunity to finally share the words she’d been filing away in journals and notebooks for years and years; bringing them out into the world.
She began posting her short, concise-yet-cutting poems on Instagram, quickly gaining a cult-like following (including stars like Florence Welch and Ellen Page). In 2014, she released bone; a collection of poems detailing themes of sexuality, addiction, mental health, and more written during a three-month period. Her works are small yet so, incredibly impactful. She manages to define moments, emotions, and the darkest parts of herself within the confines of one or two sentences.
She is raw, brutally honest, and relatable in so many ways. And, lucky for us, she has just penned and released a new full-length memoir that’s a uniquely stunning blend of prose and verse entitled The Terrible.
I am somewhere else now. I am part human, part metaphysics, and I still haven’t worked out which parts of me are which. I love this new form. I can feel space traveling through me. I am porous and wondrous and bold…It’s not that I loved to leave, rather that staying was always completely impossible.
The Terrible is a coming-of-age tale detailing the struggles of a young Yrsa Daley-Ward as she pushes on through familial dysfunction, drug abuse, sex work, modeling, and mental illness. The memoir shows Daley-Ward growing, shifting, and transforming throughout her life until she eventually becomes the strong, powerful, poetic powerhouse she is today.
The book is brutally honest, so completely, vulnerably human, and not something you’d want to miss!
Time is an illusion, say the scientists. It is molecular, it is bendable or liquid, it is soldered metal; or it is droplets of memory. I imagine it looks like mercury, silver and elusive…Burn all the clocks. I am free.
Father’s Day is approaching fast! It’s a time to celebrate the dads in your life along with all of the advice, mentoring, tough yet unconditional love, and horribly cheesy jokes they bring to the table.
A father is someone who cares for you, looks after you, and helps to guide you along your way. They can be biological, adoptive, or not even your technical “father” at all. A father can come in the form of a close teacher, an uncle, or even a reliable and trustworthy family friend. A “father-figure” doesn’t have to be a man at all because that’s not what any of this is about. Your “father-figure” is simply the one who protects you, leads you, and helps you to find your way through this wild, incredible, difficult life. The parents you are raised by sort of feel like a luck of the draw, in a way. We don’t get to choose the ones who raise us or the childhoods we’re given. And, some of us wind up luckier than others.
In the words of famed memoirist Augusten Burroughs:
If you have one parent who loves you, even if they can’t buy you clothes, they’re so poor and they make all kinds of mistakes and maybe sometimes they even give you awful advice, but never for one moment do you doubt their love for you–if you have this, you have incredibly good fortune.
If you have two parents who love you? You have won life’s Lotto.
If you do not have parents, or if the parents you have are so broken and so, frankly, terrible that they are no improvement over nothing, this is fine.
It’s not ideal because it’s harder without adults who love you more than they love themselves. But harder is just harder, that’s all.
This Father’s Day, take the time to thank the mentors and the fathers in your life, in whatever forms they may have come. Take the time to reach out to the people in your life who you know are fatherless or have strained relationships with their fathers.
Let’s also take a look at some memoirs penned by the children who were raised in the spotlight alongside their superstar dads. Some of it is as beautiful and enviable as you could possibly imagine, a life of wealth, love, and fame that anyone would feel so lucky to have. However, some of it is sadly graver and much, much more dark. Growing up can be harder for some than it is for others. Whether your dad is a small town guy working a normal nine-to-five or the biggest star in Hollywood, none of it can really determine the sort of childhood you’ve been dealt. Still, it just goes to show that people have always been and will always be resilient, empathetic, forgiving, and so, insanely strong.
So, whether your dad is the Danny Tanner of dads, or whether he’s more of the Frank Gallagher, it all worked out okay because you’re still here, reading this! And, who knows, maybe some of these famed fathers will closely resemble your own?
PART MEMOIR AND PART ELEGY, Reading My Father is the story of a daughter coming to know her father at last. “A natural writer, fluid, and engaging” (The Boston Globe), Alexandra Styron grew up in Connecticut and on Martha’s Vineyard, where her family’s vibrant social life included writers, presidents, and entertainers. She was raised under both the halo of her father’s brilliance and the long shadow of his troubled mind. William Styron, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, was a fascinating and difficult man whose own memoir, Darkness Visible, searingly chronicled his midlife battle with major depression. “By turns brilliant and shocking” (The New York Times Book Review), Reading My Father is a tale of a daughter’s love and her own coming-of-age, beautifully written, with humor, understanding, and grace.
The composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in twentieth century America.
But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was above all the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes; the jokester and compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles; the insomniac whose 4 a.m. composing breaks involved spooning baby food out of the jar. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life.
In Famous Father Girl, Bernstein mines the emotional depths of her childhood and invites us into her family’s private world. A fantastic set of characters populates the Bernsteins’ lives, including: the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall.
An intoxicating tale, Famous Father Girl is an intimate meditation on a complex and sometimes troubled man, the family he raised, and the music he composed that became the soundtrack to their entwined lives. Deeply moving and often hilarious, Bernstein’s beautifully written memoir is a great American story about one of the greatest Americans of the modern age.
In John Wayne: My Father, Aissa Wayne delves into her father’s childhood, his film career, and his life off the screen. The result is an affecting portrait that offers a new perspective on one of America’s most enduring hero’s humanity.
In this remarkable dual memoir, film legend Martin Sheen and accomplished actor/filmmaker Emilio Estevez recount their lives as father and son. In alternating chapters—and in voices that are as eloquent as they are different—they tell stories spanning more than fifty years of family history, and reflect on their journeys into two different kinds of faith.
At twenty-one, still a struggling actor living hand to mouth, Martin and his wife, Janet, welcomed their firstborn, Emilio, an experience of profound joy for the young couple, who soon had three more children: Ramon, Charlie, and Renée. As Martin’s career moved from stage to screen, the family moved from New York City to Malibu, while traveling together to film locations around the world, from Mexico for Catch-22 to Colorado for Badlands to the Philippines for the legendary Apocalypse Now shoot. As the firstborn, Emilio had a special relationship with Martin: They often mirrored each other’s passions and sometimes clashed in their differences. After Martin and Emilio traveled together to India for the movie Gandhi, each felt the beginnings of a spiritual awakening that soon led Martin back to his Catholic roots, and eventually led both men to Spain, from where Martin’s father had emigrated to the United States. Along the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path, Emilio directed Martin in their acclaimed film, The Way, bringing three generations of Estevez men together in the region of Spain where Martin’s father was born, and near where Emilio’s own son had moved to marry and live.
With vivid, behind-the-scenes anecdotes of this multitalented father’s and son’s work with other notable actors and directors, Along the Way is a striking, stirring, funny story—a family saga that readers will recognize as universal in its rebellions and regrets, aspirations and triumphs. Strikingly candid, searchingly honest, this heartfelt portrait reveals two strong-minded, admirable men of many important roles, perhaps the greatest of which are as fathers and sons.
Sandi Lansky Lombardo grew up the only daughter of mob boss Meyer Lansky. Raised in upper-class Jewish splendor, first at the Majestic Hotel and then at the Beresford, at finishing schools and fancy stables, Sandi was the wild child of the late 40’s, the 50’s, and the early 60’s. She was the Paris Hilton of her day, partying till dawn at El Morocco and the Stork Club, dating the biggest celebrities of the era. Her life was not without heartbreak and tragedy, including the insanity of her mother, and the crippling handicap of her baby brother – not to mention his drug addiction.
Sandi was privy to her father’s secrets as well as his unexpected tenderness. She always stuck closely to the strict code of omerta. In Daughter of the King, Sandi teams up with Nick Pileggi (author of the seminal Wise Guy, perhaps the best-selling mob book ever) and multiple time New York Times Bestselling writer Bill Stadiem. Nick has made a career in books and films chronicling the mob, and Bill has emerged as a master of recreating the glamour and romance of the golden era of American culture with bestsellers like Mr. S and George Hamilton’s Don’t Mind if I Do.
From the moment of its publication in 1977, Haywire was a national sensation and a #1 bestseller, a celebrated Hollywood memoir of a glittering family and the stunning darkness that lurked just beneath the surface.
Brooke Hayward was born into the most enviable of circumstances. The daughter of a famous actress and a successful Hollywood agent, she was beautiful, wealthy, and living at the very center of the most privileged life America had to offer. Yet at twenty-three her family was ripped apart. Who could have imagined that this magical life could shatter, so conclusively, so destructively? Brooke Hayward tells the riveting story of how her family went haywire.
Mackenzie Phillips shares “a raw glimpse” (Entertainment Weekly) into her lifelong battle with personal demons and near-fatal addictions—and reveals the shattering truth behind her complex, secretive, and damaging history with her father, the legendary John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.
Not long before her fiftieth birthday, Mackenzie Phillips made headlines with her arrest for drug possession at Los Angeles International Airport; the actor-musician-mother had been on her way to a reunion of One Day at a Time, the hugely popular ’70s sitcom on which she once starred as the lovable rebel Julie Cooper.
Born into rock-and-roll royalty, flying in Learjets to the Virgin Islands at five, making pot brownies with Donovan at eleven, Mackenzie grew up in an all-access kingdom of hippie freedom and heroin cool. As a rising Hollywood star herself, she joined the nonstop party in the hedonistic pleasure dome of her father’s making, and a rapt TV audience watched as Julie Cooper wasted away before their eyes. By the time Mackenzie discovered how deep and dark her father’s trip was going, it was too late.
As an adult, she has paid dearly for a lifetime of excess, working tirelessly to reconcile her wonderful, terrible past and the pull of her magnetic father. By sharing her journey toward redemption and peace, the star who turned up High on Arrival has finally come back down to earth—to stay.
In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.
A beloved star of stage, television, and film—“one of the most fun people in show business” (Timemagazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.
When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.
With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Sonwill make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth, a startling, compelling, yet affectionate portrait of an American entertainment legend by his youngest daughter, who writes about the man, his life, the accusations, and about the many people who surrounded him—wives, friends, lovers, users, and sycophants—from his Hoboken childhood through the notorious “Rat Pack,” and beyond.
Frank Sinatra seemed to have it all: genius, wealth, the love of beautiful women, glamorous friends from Las Vegas to the White House. But in this startling and remarkably outspoken memoir, his youngest daughter reveals an acutely restless, lonely and conflicted man. Through his marriages and front-page romances and the melancholy gaps between, Frank Sinatra searched for a contentment that eluded him. Tina writes candidly about the wedge his manipulative fourth wife, Barbara Marx, drove between father and daughter.
My Father’s Daughter, with its unflinching account of Sinatra’s flaws and foibles, will shock many of his fans. At the same time, it is a deeply affectionate portrait written with love and warmth, a celebration of a daughter’s fond esteem for her father and a respect for his great legacy. Even now, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, the world remembers Frank Sinatra as one of the giants of the show business. In this book from someone inside the legend, Tina Sinatra remembers him as something more: a father, and a man.
Jennifer Grant is the only child of Cary Grant, who was, and continues to be, the epitome of all that is elegant, sophisticated, and deft. Almost half a century after Cary Grant’s retirement from the screen, he remains the quintessential romantic comic movie star. He stopped making movies when his daughter was born so that he could be with her and raise her, which is just what he did.
Good Stuff is an enchanting portrait of the profound and loving relationship between a daughter and her father, who just happens to be one of America’s most iconic male movie stars.
Cary Grant’s own personal childhood archives were burned in World War I, and he took painstaking care to ensure that his daughter would have an accurate record of her early life. In Good Stuff, Jennifer Grant writes of their life together through her high school and college years until Grant’s death at the age of eighty-two.
Cary Grant had a happy way of living, and he gave that to his daughter. He invented the phrase “good stuff” to mean happiness. For the last twenty years of his life, his daughter experienced the full vital passion of her father’s heart, and she now—delightfully—gives us a taste of it.
After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation―few of whom are raising a child.
Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.
In Alysia’s teens, Steve’s friends―several of whom she has befriended―fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it’s time to come home; he’s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create.
Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father’s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love.
Finally, after four hit novels, Carrie Fisher comes clean (well, sort of ) with the crazy truth that is her life in her first-ever memoir.
In Wishful Drinking, adapted from her one-woman stage show, Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen.
Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher, looking at her life as she best remembers it (what do you expect after electroshock therapy?). It’s an incredible tale: the child of Hollywood royalty — Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — homewrecked by Elizabeth Taylor, marrying (then divorcing, then dating) Paul Simon, having her likeness merchandized on everything from Princess Leia shampoo to PEZ dispensers, learning the father of her daughter forgot to tell her he was gay, and ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.
Wishful Drinking, the show, has been a runaway success. Entertainment Weekly declared it “drolly hysterical” and the Los Angeles Times called it a “Beverly Hills yard sale of juicy anecdotes.” This is Carrie Fisher at her best — revealing her worst. She tells her true and outrageous story of her bizarre reality with her inimitable wit, unabashed self-deprecation, and buoyant, infectious humor.
Two months before he died, renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard called his grown son and daughter to his side to impart a secret he had kept all their lives and most of his own: he was black. Born in the French Quarter in 1920, Anatole had begun to conceal his racial identity after his family moved to Brooklyn and his parents resorted to “passing” in order to get work. As he grew older and entered the ranks of the New York literary elite, he maintained the façade.
Now his daughter Bliss tries to make sense of his choices. Seeking out unknown relatives in New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, Bliss uncovers the 250-year history of her family in America and chronicles her own evolution from privilged WASP to a woman of mixed-race ancestry.