Sandell, Laurie. The Imposter’s Daughter: A True Memoir.

NY: Little, Brown, 2009.

This is an odd sort of graphic novel — though, actually, it’s a graphic memoir or confessional biography. The author grew up in a home ruled with a heavy hand by her father, who always was the center of attention. According to him, he had multiple graduate degrees, had been a combat hero in Vietnam, had corresponded with the Pope when he was still just a Polish priest, had advised Henry Kissinger, and had fought a duel in his homeland of Argentina. He was also a genius.

He regaled Laurie with these stories and she grew dependent on them, but as she reached adulthood he became so controlling she couldn’t wait to escape. Which she eventually did, but by way of very risky behavior in her travels around the world. Eventually, she found a niche interviewing celebrities for popular magazines. She had a knack for getting them to open up to her because her years of practice with her father gave her the ability to successfully solicit their stories. But then she began to use her investigative abilities and contacts to check out some of her father’s yarns — and soon discovered that not only was none of it true, he also was an unrepentant con man. Parallel to all this is her on again, off again relationship with Ben, who loves her but who is insufficiently . . . something. If she stayed with him, she says, she “couldn’t grow.” Or something. It’s all sort of an interesting story, and it might make a good movie or dramatic miniseries on TV, but it was really difficult for me to work up any empathy for such self-pitying codependency, added to her addictive personality. That kind of goes for everyone in the family, all of whom seem to have easily forgiven their father’s cheating and lies and theft, destroying their credit ratings, alienating what few friends they had. This was especially true of her mother. Did it really never occur to any of them to call the cops and turn their old man in? For everyone’s good? There’s a limit, but Laurie apparently has never reached it.

Published in: on 29 June 2011 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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