One of the most powerful memoirs of recent times. Shortly after Paula Fox's birth in 1923, her hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter father and her glamorous mother left her in a Manhattan orphanage. Rescued by her grandmother, she was passed from hand to hand, the kindness of strangers interrupted by brief and disturbing reunions with her darkly ...
One of the most powerful memoirs of recent times. Shortly after Paula Fox's birth in 1923, her hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter father and her glamorous mother left her in a Manhattan orphanage. Rescued by her grandmother, she was passed from hand to hand, the kindness of strangers interrupted by brief and disturbing reunions with her darkly enchanting parents. In New York, Paula lives with her Spanish grandmother; in Cuba, she wanders about freely on a sugarcane plantation owned by a wealthy relative; in California she finds herself cast away on the dismal margins of Hollywood where famous actors and literary celebrities - John Wayne, Buster Keaton, Orson Welles - glitteringly appear and then fade away. A moving and unusual portrait of a life adrift. Paula Fox gives us an unforgettable appraisal of just how much - and how little - a child requires to survive.
New. 0805071849. Remainder; 10 oz.; 216 pages; New PB unread w/remainder mark page edge 1st ED Thus. Newbery Award-winning writer Paula Fox recollects the tragedy of her upbringing in this woeful memoir. With an alcoholic father and a mother who aggressively rejected her, Fox was raised by a collection of diversely irresponsible parties whose eccentricities and cruelties she had to find ways to overcome.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-09 Newbery Award-winning novelist Fox (A Servant's Tale) lived a rather accidental, devastating childhood. Her Jazz Age parents dropped her at an orphanage shortly after her birth in 1923, from which she was rescued by a kindly clergyman and passed along, as in a "fire brigade," to various "rescuers" odd relatives or her parents' drinking buddies, mostly. Her scriptwriter daddy, a happy drunk, cared but was careless. Mom, on the other hand, with her "cold radiant smile," was openly rejecting. Her occasional reluctant meetings with Fox felt "as if we were being continually introduced to each other." No small wonder, then, that at age 21, Fox surrendered her own daughter for adoption. This could have been another Mommy Dearest, except that Fox is elegantly understated, relying on well-chosen detail and striking images to tell her tale. A nasty auntie crochets in "colors that suggested mud or blood or urine" and keeps her work in a sack with handles like "copperhead snakes." Her mother's one contribution to her education is teaching her solitaire. A childhood beau walks "lurching to the side like the knight's move in chess." Visiting her dying mother, Fox can't bear to use a toilet her mother might have used, and flees outdoors to use a tree. It would all be unbearably melancholic (? la Jean Rhys), except that Fox survives. The hard-won truths of her youth form the basis for the sensitive focus on family dynamics that characterizes her children's fiction notably Blowfish Live in the Sea. Fox deserves a comeback, even if this slim memoir is too tragic for popular taste. (Oct. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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