Thank you to Gallery Books for sending me a copy of Chanel Bonfire in exchange for an honest review. Chanel Bonfire is available on January 8th.
You get to choose a lot of things in life — but for better of worse, you don’t get to choose your parents. And for Wendy Lawless, author of Chanel Bonfire, this is a terrible predicament.
Chanel Bonfire is Lawless’s memoir of living with her horrible mother. Now an actress on Broadway, Lawless’s description of her mother sounds a lot like Mad Men’s Betty Draper meets Satan. She goes through numerous husbands, drags her two daughters around the world and attempts suicide several times. All the while, she puts on a good front to strangers and terrorizes her daughters at home.
I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a terribly sad situation but you just keep waiting for the mother to do something more outrageous. It’s like the train wreck you can’t look away from. Lawless never fails to deliver with ample amounts of dry wit which becomes part of her coping mechanism.
There were two other things I was waiting for: 1)Her birth father to show up and save her and 2) A redeeming aspect of her mother, Georgann Rhea.
It seems that her mother’s only redeeming quality is her beauty. I guess I wanted a redeeming quality because then I could see the inner conflict that Lawless has about leaving her mother. Alas, it never comes.
While life with mom isn’t rosy, Lawless describes a lot of fun times made possible by rich friends and a lack of parental supervision. It’s almost enough fun to give you hope until mommy dearest sets the house on fire.