Uppers or downers?
Donna Lethal’s debut is an authentic, can’t-put-it-down page-turner, an astonishing first-time work about growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts (Jack Kerouac’s home town) in the 1970s. With a stern ex-nun for a mother, a rascally bookie for a dad and a brother behind bars as often as not, Donna’s purgatory years in Lowell make for unforgettable reading. Her book is peopled with a rogues’ gallery of memorable local personalities, most hovering on the edge of small time crime, alcoholism, drug abuse and general oblivion. Funny and melancholic, sweet and brutal, it is everything a family memoir should be, a vivid flashback of haunting and hilarious memories arriving unbidden in the consciousness. Unlike some compulsive reads that evaporate after you’ve finished them, MILK OF AMNESIA’s images will stay with you, making you laugh or tear up at unexpected moments.