After Perfect by Christina McDowell (4 out of 5)

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Wow. What a stunning memoir.
I was screaming at Christina through half of the book not to trust her father. Which is horrible- it’s your blood!
McDowell (not her real name, by the way, she legally changed it to no longer reflect her father’s name. She took the name from her mom’s side of the family) is part of the “perfect” upbringing in a toney suburb- until one morning when the FBI arrests her father on fraud charges, part of the fallout from Jordan Belfort’s (AKA The Wolf Of Wall Street.Surely you remember him!) crooked dealings coming full circle.
As the family loses everything, including their material possessions, their home,their individual identities, as well as their family dynamic, instead of drawing together, it breaks the family apart. Christina’s father isn’t telling them the truth, and they-at least Christina- believes him to the bitter end. Her father takes out credit cards in her name, runs them up, and cannot pay them- because he’s doing time. Her credit ruined, collectors calling her phone every day, and threatening letters piling up, Christina does nothing short of prostitution to try to make ends meet and pay her bills. She goes through one guy after another, drinking, smoking, doing drugs, and continually crashing on various couches because she isn’t making enough money to have her own place (and she can’t anyway, because her dad screwed her credit up). Her dad gets sprung and the first thing he does is buy her groceries to try to save face- then gifts the three girls with Hermes Birkin bags- a gift that Christina tries selling later on, only to be told that the bags are fake, and her intent to sell them could have landed HER behind bars for 5 years. This guy is the gift that keeps on giving dads a bad name. It takes a violent act and Christina’s subsequent hospitalization for her to stop questioning things and getting her ass in line. The end to this story isn’t a happy ever after Hollyweird tale, or some stupid reality show you’d see on E. It’s true, and it will break your heart. I think this woman deserves a medal for all the shit she went through, and I hope she gets to lead the life she deserves without her father’s bullshit.

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~ by generationgbooks on July 20, 2015.

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