Book Review: Her Last Death

Her Last Death

Susanna Sonnenberg

Scribner

288 pages

Susanna Sonnenberg is a seemingly typical married mother of two young sons when she gets a horrible phone call.  Her mother has been in a terrible accident and is likely to die.  Susanna needs to get on a plane immediately to try and make it to her bedside.  Except . . . Sonnenberg does not want to go.  She has washed her hands of her mother and can’t bear to be pulled back into her mother’s vortex.  Sounds cold hearted, until Sonnenberg fills the reader in on the tumultuous relationship she has had with her mother.

Sonnenberg grew up with a single mother as well as her younger sister, Penelope.  Her childhood was anything but normal.  Her mother had no qualms about doing cocaine in front of her daughters and often brought strange men in the home and had sex with them while the girls were in the next room.  This behavior continues on for years, with Sonnenberg’s mother “christening” Sonnenberg’s dorm room with her young boyfriend while her daughter was at orientation.

Not only was I horrified at the behavior Sonneberg’s mother displayed, but I eventually got a bit bored too.  It seemed like the same story over and over again, with not much resolution.  I don’t generally shy away from abundant references to sex and drugs, but it just got to be too much for me.  It reminded me of an amateur retelling of Jeanette Walls’ Glass Castle which, coincidentally, I loved.  Ditto for Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs.  If you are looking for a great memoir about a sordid childhood, go with one of those two and skip Her Last Death.

Other Reviews:

The Book Lady’s Blog

My Round File

I purchased this book from Borders.

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2 Responses

  1. Yes! Finally, a book I DON”T have to read. 😀 My wanna read list is getting a bit overwhelmed, so it thanks you for this review.

  2. Thanks for the honest review. I will skip this – because like you I love The Glass Castle and Running with Scissors.

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