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Half A Life: A Memoir

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Half a Life: A Memoir

Current Status:
In Season
Jill Ciment

We gave it an A-

The story of a willful child with a Willy Lomanesque father, an engagingly dotty mother, and a knack for acting her way through life, Half A Life: A Memoir is a frank and spunky memoir about growing up in the ’60s. It tracks the Ciment family’s move from Montreal to Los Angeles, where their hopes of financial and domestic security are dashed almost immediately, and where the author, a nearly illiterate truant, cheats on her SATs to get accepted to Cal Arts college. Through her paralytic relationship with her father, who suffers from emotional sclerosis and heart trouble, Jill Ciment learns that ”compassion is not innate to the heart…it has to enter us with each childhood scrape and hurt, like tiny bacteria.” Except for Ciment’s teenage attempt to strangle her father with a leather thong, her understated story is free of melodrama yet perfectly riveting. A-