“I also had a passion. In my free time I liked to torture dolls and stuffed animals. Run-of-the-mill stuff really- singeing their hair, twisting off their heads. My parents encouraged it.”
When I first started reading I thought, oh- is this going to be a new age memoir? It’s not, keep going through her struggle with her night visitor, it all makes sense. I spent many nights when I should have been asleep laughing. I love her childhood and her eccentricities. She’s a child I would have loved to befriend and who can’t help but laugh when she admits to adults what she wants to be when she grows up? Living on two sides of the pond after her parent’s split, her world seems richer for it in experience. Her burning, fiery love affair with the smoldering Giacomo turns hilarious when his ‘titty squeezing’ daddy enters the scene. It’s either laugh, or cry! That these folks are actually real is just more solid proof that life is stranger than fiction. It’s as though she has entered the twilight zone but with the Godfather as the main attraction.
Escaping to the American West has to be the cure to what ails her, courting her past in solitude is just what she needs. But the locals she encounters are even wilder than anyone before them. Just how do you confront yourself, squelch your panics, lock out your sleep demons, channel your creative side, and be a good mother and wife at the same time? Maybe she becomes more vagabond than supermom, and it’s the raw honesty and hilarity of her journey that endears the reader to Pollen. I was tickled reading about her childhood and her adult years aren’t any less fascinating. Just how the heck does she find herself with smugglers in Mexico, surely she’s too delicate to journey into the country to learn about the perils migrants faced? Making editors and friends alike laugh, she does just that. The woman’s got grit, she does- but not so surprising when the reader remembers the earlier chapters of little blue-eyed girl walking to and from school, channeling Pam Grier in her beautiful Afro wig.
Her mother and father are interesting too, and there are losses and heartbreak but there seems to remain a ‘twinkle in the eye’ sort of humor that flows through her veins, and may well have come from her father. A beautifully written memoir about a woman who is just like any of us, trying to be a good wife and mother, struggling with her inborn hunger for periods of solitude, trying to be creative while filling her roles in life, winning and failing because she is human. Relationships are never happily ever after, we are all a work in progress, we can’t always keep up with each other or ourselves. Somehow, Pollen is able to use humor to keep the reader riveted, even when writing about the loss of her father. Wide eyed, wild, messy, honest and raw but never boring! Lovely.
Publication Date: June 6, 2017