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The Shyster's Daughter

1 rating: 5.0
A memoir by Paula Priamos
1 review about The Shyster's Daughter

A gripping, honest memoir

  • Jul 18, 2012
  • by
For the first fifty pages or so of this superbly written memoir, I had to keep reminding myself that it was indeed that--a memoir, a personal account of what Priamos experienced in her own life. I don't want to say it reads like a novel because you'll get the wrong impression. It reads like the story of someone whose life, if fictionalized, holds enough material for several novels. But what makes this memoir exemplary is the fact that Priamos does not fictionalize or sensationalize or embellish. She does not fancify or sugar-coat. Her unrelenting and unapologetic candor offered with a writing style characterized by precision and an economy of words is enough to raise the hair on your arms and have you exclaiming "oh my god" aloud every few pages as she stoically leads us through life with her father, her family, and her emergence into the messiness of adulthood.

As a memoirist, I read a great deal of the work of others, partly to appreciate how others tell their tales, mostly because I believe that everyone has a story. But not everyone has the skill and craftsmanship that Priamos exhibits here as she renders the most appalling moments of her childhood and adolescence with a journalist's degree of pure honesty and objectivity, allowing no room for sentimentality.

I loved this book. I stayed up late on two consecutive nights, turning page after page, knowing her words would find their way into my dreams to stir up my own bleak childhood memories, but I was helpless to put the book down. Kudos to Priamos for having the courage to give us the gift of this book. An amazing and wonderful read.
A gripping, honest memoir A gripping, honest memoir

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