A Memoir As Disturbing As It Is Comical
By Wendy Lawless
Gallery Books, $25.00, 304 pages
Wendy Lawless had a jet-setting lifestyle that most girls would envy: New York to London, Paris to Morocco. But behind closed doors, she and her younger sister were the small casualties of their narcissistic, delusional, often diabolical mother. Ever the dutiful child, she maneuvered through the land-mines of her mother’s warped mind while playing protector to her sister.
Chanel Bonfire is an all-consuming memoir, in which the author draws you into her mother’s world. A world where the rules are always changing and there seems to be no escape. Lawless tells a story as disturbing as it is comical. Her narrative stands out as the voice of reason amidst the madness. At times, she tries to make sense of her mother, other times she’s in survival mode. This book really highlights the fact that you can rise above a rotten childhood, or you can remain broken, only to repeat what you are taught. Anyone who walked through land-mines as child will be able to relate to Wendy’s story.
Reviewed by Alicea Swett