By JOANNA POWELL JONATHAN DURBIN CASSIDY STOCKWELL
January 21, 2008 12:00 PM

by Susanna Sonnenberg |

CRITIC’S CHOICE

REVIEWED BY KIM HUBBARD

MEMOIR

Just when you think Tolstoy was wrong—that there’s a limit to the permutations of unhappy families, and we’ve heard about them all—along comes this tale of the fresh hell that was Sonnenberg’s childhood. Her parents divorced early, and she and her sister grew up mostly with their glamorous, unstable mother, a compulsive liar who also shoplifted and used cocaine (offering it to Susanna at 12). But it was “Daphne’s” intrusive preoccupation with sex—she told Susanna about orgasms when she was 8, bought her Penthouse and later tried to seduce her boyfriends—that did the most damage. “I know everything about you, I always will,” Daphne repeatedly, chillingly said. Just not that her daughter would emerge intact enough to write this disturbing, beautifully observed memoir.

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