Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: A Colorful Past


When I find a memoir in my mailbox I immediately think of how maudlin the author must portray their own life to necessitate a “memoir.” I am happy to report that my initial scorn of seeing Laurie Sandell’s The Imposter’s Daughter waiting for me was very misplaced. Sandell‘s story feels wholly original and I was excited to follow her along her life’s journey.

The Imposter’s Daughter begins during Sandell’s early years; she recalls her father’s stern attitude and heavily guarded secrecy. But as a child, these traits seem admirable in their intrigue. When her father loses his job—claiming political prejudice cost him his career—Sandell understands that it would be worse for her father to compromise his ideals than to get dressed each morning. During her later years, after a few credit cards come back declined despite her never signing up for them, Sandell begins to realize the father she thought she knew didn’t exist. The second half of the novel follows Sandell as she deconstructs her father’s past as well as her journey confronting her own demons.

The art is colorful, bright, and full of emotion. Using vibrant hues, Sandell crafts a wonderfully touching story of her past. The memories are vividly put to page in a way that reminds the reader that this is her version of the past without distracting from the narrative. Each frame contains a fully furnished image; Sandell adds hints to her own work as well as notes and addenda.

Her life as a celebrity reporter helped make her middle years entertaining instead of just expository. Despite her father’s disappearance for much of the middle of the novel, her storytelling managed to keep the piece compelling and exciting. Name dropping some still relevant celebrities didn’t hurt her either.

Sandell’s case is compelling and I don’t think anyone can judge her negatively considering her circumstances. The mistakes she might have made were her own and she’s obviously begun to come to terms with them. But to watch as she paints energetic images to describe her past is a treat for any reader. This is definitely worth buying, borrowing, or stealing from a friend.

Hachette Book Group
256 Pages, Hardcover
ISBN 978-0-31603305-3


Salvatore said…

I'm glad that this wasn't a feel-sorry-for-me-look-at-how-bad-my-life-was memoir. I'm intrigued. And I enjoy the cover art.

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