Perishable

How many dysfunctional-family memoirs can readers take? Those who’ve savored the shocking tales of Mary Karr, Augusten Burroughs, and Jeannette Walls will find a similar — if less accomplished — voice in Perishable, Dirk Jamison’s account of his wacky, somewhat depressing boyhood. His itinerant dad was a screw-the-Man Dumpster diver whose obsession with ”freedom” was both a call to enlightenment and a baffling burden that left his son scarred enough to put pen to paper. Despite moving episodes involving his wise (but weak) mother, a feeling of incompleteness pervades this slim volume. Ultimately, Jamison’s juiciest stories (about his violent older sister, a lecherous scoutmaster, and his uterine-cancer-stricken dog) feel half-told.

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