Buying your first piece of IKEA furniture. Backpacking around Europe. One-night stands. Splurging on dinner Friday night and spending the rest of the week eating ramen. These are just a few of the things most of us expect of our 20s.
Something that isn’t on anyone’s list? Slowing going blind from a degenerative eye disease.
It wasn’t on Nicole Kear’s list, either. And the Yale and Columbia graduate intended to live her life like it wasn’t. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, fell in love, got married and even attended clown school. Yet through it all, Kear knew a degenerative eye disease she had been diagnosed with at 19 was slowing taking her vision away. She was told she had one good decade before she would be entirely blind. Her family and husband knew about the disease (retinitis pigmentosa), but Kear was embarrassed and hardly told any friends — she had lots of excuses for why her eye makeup looked messy or she wouldn’t drive at night. However, Kear and her husband settled into new parenthood, and she had to come to terms with the realities of her disabilities, including learning how to walk with a cane.
I read Nicole Kear’s funny, fascinating memoir Now I See You in almost one sitting and came away from it thinking, I could be friends with this person. She’s smart, spunky, and makes it easy to put yourself in her (unfortunately, no longer high-heeled) shoes. I gave her a call at home in Brooklyn to chat about blindness, how she managed to write a book with three young kids, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.
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Mother’s Day is when advertising distills motherhood down to home-cooked brunch, a bracelet, or a fragrant bouquet. But for far too many people, the relationship with their mom is a complicated one. Not all mothers have been nurturing and caring; not all daughters and sons have overcome the trauma of their childhoods as adults. There can be a lot of love in a mother-child relationship, but also a deep well of pain. That’s why The End Of Eve: A Memoir, by Ariel Gore, is the perfect antidote to Mother’s Day.
Several years ago, Gore, who is the editor of Hip Mama magazine, was happily in a relationship with her partner and raising a college-aged daughter and a toddler son, when she got some news. Her narcissistic, emotionally abusive mother, Eve, announced she had cancer.
So, Gore and her family picked up their lives and moved to spend the last couple of years caring for Eve — who, in turn, made everyone’s lives difficult in every possible way, like reporting Gore and her partner to Child Protective Services for (nonexistent) child abuse. But Gore was dedicated to both caring for her sick mom and trying to keep her relationship with her girlfriend together.
As a memoirist, Ariel Gore is gifted: she is able to tell a heartbreaking story of illness and betrayal with the perfect mix of respect, humor and irreverence. I called Gore at home to talk about The End Of Eve, which I absolutely devoured. Our conversation is after the jump!
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Former MTV VJ Kennedy (you probably remember her if you were a loyal “Alternative Nation” watcher as I was) makes some outrageous claims in her new memoir, The Kennedy Chronicles.
In a chapter titled “MJ and the VJ” Kennedy recounts a game of dice back in 1995, when she was still a virgin. In the book, she writes about a dinner with Michael Jordan and Russell Simmons at the Bowery Bar. Allegedly, the basketball star broke out some dice and suggested they “play for something,” saying, “If I win, you come back to my hotel room with me tonight.” Kennedy flipped out worrying that Jordan’s potentially large dick might “eviscerate [her] from the inside out” (a valid concern when your hymen is still intact). Keep reading »
Shhh. Don’t tell Mindy Kaling, but I didn’t read her first memoir. (Yet!) From what I hear, 2011′s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) was okay. Her publisher thinks it was more-than-okay, because the 33-year-old is going to write a second memoir about “the high highs and the low lows of the past 18 months” during the hiatus before the second season of “The Mindy Project.” And if that’s not enough Mindy Kaling for you, she’s also coming back as Kelly Kapoor for “The Office” series finale. Damn, that girl is going to be busy! I guess there’s no time anymore for lunches with Reese Witherspoon or flirting with President Clinton. [Deadline Hollywood] [Image: WENN]
In her new memoir, Lucky Me: My Life With – And Without – My Mom, Shirley MacLaine’s daughter, Sachi Parker, reveals some shocking information about her famous mom. In the book, there’s an excerpt about how Shirley MacLaine invited her sex therapist friends over to support Parker when she lost her virginity at age 17. According to the Daily Mail:
“Sachi says Phyllis told her mother: ’It would be a fabulous opportunity for Sachi, to have her first introduction to sex with all of us here as a support group. We could talk about it afterwards and validate her feelings.’ As Sachi flushed with embarrassment, she says her mother declared: ‘I think it’s a wonderful idea. We’re all here to help you, sweetheart.’ Once [her] mission was accomplished, we had to face the next hurdle: reporting back. We hid out in the bedroom until we heard a light knock on the door, and Mom’s voice, ‘Is everything OK in there?’”
I feel uncomfortable just reading that. I know Shirley MacLaine is deep into UFO conspiracies and New Age business, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that she thought it would be a good idea to throw a hippie party for her daughter’s V-card loss. But it’s still weird. Shirley MacLaine’s team is not commenting on the incident. [Daily Mail UK]
Update: Shirley MacLaine’s responded with the following statement:
“It’s a painful moment for me as a mother and as someone who values the truth. I’m shocked and heartbroken that my daughter would make statements about me that are virtually all fiction. I’ve praised her lovingly and truthfully in my own autobiographies. I’m sorry to see such a dishonest, opportunistic effort from my daughter for whom I’ve only ever wanted the best.”
As I tore through the pages of Abby Sher’s new book, Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things), I felt like I was in the passenger’s seat accompanying her on the bumpy ride through her lifelong struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. An extended meditation filled with humor and grace, and anxieties, fears, joys and sorrows, Abby’s memoir brought me right to the center of her vulnerable humanity and my own. I now understood OCD in a whole new way—not as something foreign, but as an antidote to the uncertainty of existence that we all can relate to. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand OCD, or themselves, more intimately. Keep reading »