Back to back posts about Susanna Sonnenberg’s Her Last Death. The proximity suggests that I read the book with superhuman speed but the dates tell the truth. It took a little less than a week, it just fell on a not-so-bloggy week.
Sometimes you’re surprised by a book and sometimes you get exactly what you expected. With Her Last Death it was definitely closer to the latter than the former. I predicted that I might find the memoir about a daughter dealing with her charismatic yet out of control mother a bit over the top, repetitive, and too crazy to be believed. Well there was quite a lot that was over the top, repetitive and too crazy to be believed. So so many drugs, lies, and sexcapades! Much of these instances frustrated me. Yet, some brought the entertainment factor, keeping me reading, hungry for the next outrageous incidence.
Also worth noting is that the memoir is written in a type of stream of consciousness. I too like the stream of consciousness style – it’s how I wrote letters passed in the hallways of high school and I how I frequently talk. However, I do not have a book. In Her Last Death, the stream of consciousness brings the reader from anecdote to anecdote with little to no transition. It can be a bit disorienting.
I think the reason I am slightly skeptical of the veracity of Her Last Death is because of the disclaimer in the beginning. Sonnenberg says that the events are true to the best of her memory, though some things have been changed, and some people are composites. On top of that, it is demonstrated over and over in the book that both Susanna and her mother are adept liars.
Then again, if the events all are true, I’m pretty impressed that Sonnenberg has survived as well as she has. She’s lived a crazy life and lived to tell about it.