Publisher: Gallery Books. June 2015.
Source: Book of the Month
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Christina McDowell was born Christina Prousalis. She had to change her name to be legally extricated from the trail of chaos her father, Tom Prousalis, left in the wake of his arrest and subsequent imprisonment as one of the guilty players sucked into the collateral fallout of Jordan Belfort (the “Wolf of Wall Street”). Christina worshipped her father and the seemingly perfect life they lived…a life she finds out was built on lies. Christina’s family, as is typically the case, had no idea what was going on. Nineteen-year-old Christina drove her father to jail while her mother dissolved in denial.
Since then, Christina’s life has been decimated. As her family floundered in rehab, depression, homelessness, and loss, Christina succumbed to the grip of alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity before finding catharsis in the most unlikely of places. From the bucolic affluence of suburban Washington, DC, to the A-list clubs and seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, this provocative memoir unflinchingly describes the harsh realities of a fall from grace. - Goodreads
So I was recently introduced to something called Book of the Month. Yes, it's the same one as like the big deal Book of the Month Club from back in the day. But it's officially relaunching this month! Now judges (such as Emily St. John Mandel and Liberty Hardy) pick five books and you have the opportunity to choose one that will be sent to you in an adorable box. Even cooler, there are online discussions on their site now.
I wasn't super interested in any of the picks offered to me in August, so I decided to go for a memoir. After Perfect is about the daughter of a man who worked with Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wallstreet guy). There was a lot of promise for downward spirals, family drama, discussion of privilege, and redemption. And it's not that these things weren't present, but that it felt like a shallow representation of each.
"And that was it. He turned around and walked through the automatic sliding glass doors, carrying nothing but a plane ticket. I studied him as he entered the concourse, looked left, then right, and then left again. He was figuring out which way to go. It was the first time I had ever seen him look uncertain."
Obviously Christina has gone through a whole hell of a lot, and I don't want to critique her story as it's a reality for her. There are some really devastating moments. I definitely gasped when the extent of her father's deception and betrayal is revealed. I just wasn't blown away by the writing or how deep it went. And there was a whole lot of name dropping that made me roll my eyes instead of get deeper into the story.
One of the best parts of reading this book was doing it with Book of the Month, because Christina McDowell actually did a Q&A on the site for members. The interactivity of that was cool and I'm definitely curious about what's next for Book of the Month. If you're interested, there are 3 more days to sign up and get a September book. It sounds like I was paid to say this, but I really wasn't. I just think it's a fun idea.
HOW OUTLANDISH WAS IT?
2/10 - The family betrayal was minorly outlandish. But like humans are pretty awful, so it wasn't the surprising.