Powerful Emotional Memoir of a Child Abused and Raised in a Cult | BookishFirst

Powerful Emotional Memoir of a Child Abused and Raised in a Cult

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This memoir from a debut author combines all the raw and heartbreaking abuse of 1995's shocking book 'A Child Called It' with 2018's best selling 'Educated: A Memoir.' At times it is difficult to not put the book aside as one reels at the abuse from the ex-con, heroin addict father. (The type of reading break I occasionally had to take years ago when reading 'The Lovely Bones'.) Interestingly, the first page of my ARC of HOLLYWOOD PARK is a letter from the president and publisher of Celadon Books saying that he doesn't usually select memoirs because there are so many. Likewise, I am not necessarily drawn to memoirs unless I am really interested in the author as a person; I knew nothing about author Mikel Jollett ahead of time, but the description of his life sounded more like a novel than a memoir. My hunch was not wrong. Novel fan or memoir fan - Jollett's book will appeal to either. When the book opens, the narration begins with Jollett as a young child - at least chronologically, because as the very first sentence eerily states: "We were never young." There was too much fear, too much insecurity, too little food, too little emotional support - no child could relax and be young in those circumstances. As Mikel grows older, he must be tough to survive, but there is always that innocent child within him that wishes things could be different. A classic example is later in the book when he tells his dad that he is really scared and concerned about the mean guy who continually threatens to kill him. Dad's advice is simply to tell Mikel (a thin, 5'7" teen) to kick the ass of the other kid. Oh, and don't fight fair. No spoiler alerts needed. You have to read the book to get Dad's ex-con-style advice. Throughout the book there are interesting anecdotes about Mikel's life, such as the walls of the little California bungalow rattling from the jet engines of the newest, biggest airplane, the 747. You might find the book even more interesting after a little background reading about Synanon, a supposed self-help drug rehabiltation program which continued to change into something increasingly strange and dangerous, under the guise of being a church.Needless to say, most of the time this memoir is not about light hearted memories so saying that this memoir is about overcoming obstacles is the literary understatement of the year.