The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir

The Impostor's Daughter: A True MemoirLaurie Sandell Grew Up In Awe And Sometimes In Terror Of Her Larger Than Life Father, Who Told Jaw Dropping Tales Of A Privileged Childhood In Buenos Aires, Academic Triumphs, Heroism During Vietnam, Friendships With Kissinger And The Pope As A Young Woman, Laurie Unconsciously Mirrors Her Dad, Trying On Several Outsized Personalities Tokyo Stripper, Lesbian Seductress, Ambien Addict Later, She Lucks Into The Perfect Job Interviewing Celebrities For A Top Women S Magazine Growing Up With Her Extraordinary Father Has Given Laurie A Knack For Relating To The Stars But While Researching An Article On Her Dad S Life, She Makes An Astonishing Discovery He S Not The Man He Says He Is Not Even Close Now, Laurie Begins To Puzzle Together Three Decades Of Lies And The Splintered Person That Resulted From Them Herself. The Impostor s Daughter is a shocking graphic novel memoir full of unexpected surprises What does a person do when they discover that their parent has been lying to them about their entire life history Is Laurie s dad a Vietnam hero, or a con man This book is truly amazing and unforgettable. If this gossip columnist had simply stayed the course of the story about her scammer dad, as advertised, this would have been a 4 star book However, she wanted to tell us about problems with prescription meds, her failed relationship with a perfectly nice guy who was somehow holding her back, and her Lifetime Channel version of rehab Well, yeah, mistakes were madein the editing of this graphic novel, that s for sure These distracting side stories are common Lots of people go to rehab But very few people have a crazy con man of a dad who claims to have personally parachuted to Vietnam with General Westland and who claims to have been field promoted to Green Beret status it just don t work that way, folks How could she not know this Did she really think we were going to be interested in her experiences interviewing B list celeb Carmen Elektra, or in learning of the crazy poppa who left for months at a time and only communicated with the family by ham radio C mon, these are questions even someone who edits portions of a fashion magazine can figure out When she does zero in on what should have been the main focus of
The disenchantment of our parents, when we realize they re humans too, is an unpleasant event of growing up We all handle it differently For Laurie Sandell, she put it into a graphic novel, The Impostor s Daughter A True Memoir In a little less than 250 beautifully painted pages, Sandell shamelessly shows each and every skeleton in her closet starting from childhood and ending as her young adult self and the battles she fights to expose the lies about her larger than life father and form a new identity in that truth.Growing up on the east coast, Sandell was the eldest of three daughters, and her father s favorite She spent her childhood idolizing him and forming her identity in his stories of historical and academic greatness He had a Ph.D from Columbia University, earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in Vietnam, and corresponded with a not yet christened Pope John Paul II Doubt enters Laurie s mind when she discovers in college that her father had taken out many credit cards in her name, unbeknownst to her With over two hundred thousand dollars in debt and a father who couldn t give a proper explanation, Laurie hits the road She traveled for four years, a time when she says I was willing to be anything, try anything, as long as it didn t resemble the life I was living before The heaviest ball drops when Sandell returns from her escape After an
I have been tapping my foot impatiently over this book I heard Sandell interviewed on some NPR show and couldn t wait to get it My library had it in its system since sometime back in JUNE and somehow it only NOW got onto the acutal SHELVES of the library where one could actually get one s HANDS on it HMPH But I don t think my impatience really colored my opinion, I swear I love the artwork, and I liked the story, but I have to say I found this a tiny bit shallow And I feel like there were two parallel stories happening the relationship with her father, and, her drug abuse and the story as a whole suffered from never fully committing to one story or the other Of course one could argue that there was no way to tell one of those stories without the other I just felt a little cheated, somehow And her in
Sandell, who has the somewhat enviable job of interviewing celebrities for women s magazines, recounts in graphic novel form how she grew up awed by a magnetic, brilliant father who claimed all manner of extraoardinary achievements, and how in adulthood, she discovered he was basically a liar, con man, and narcissist Despite intriguing premise, charming bright illustrations, and high production value full color pages on glossy thick paperstock , not especially engaging on emotiona
I know I ve got a gender bias, but I think women are the masters of autobiographical comics I know there s Jeffrey Brown and even R Crumb, but didn t Aline Kominsky Crumb set the whole genre in motion This graphic memoir reminds me of Cancer Vixen in tone and art, but channels Fun House for me in Sandell s search to understand herself by understanding her father I love her honesty and humor and her struggle to know herself, which I think is what makes women s autobiographical comics unique Women can see their lives and past with some self deprecation and nostalgia, but always with an ability to capture the emotions laden in their memories Sandell shows in pictures and words how she loved and hated her father and explores her life from childhood through later recovery Maybe it s the social worker in me, but I really appreciate her honest contention for self knowledge Coming out of a two day training on drugs and alcohol, I was also impressed with Sandell s framing her
Laurie Sandell grew up hearing her father s stories about his time as a Green Beret in Vietnam, his medals, his PhDs, his time teaching at Stanford, and his thriving business investments In college, she applies for a credit card, only to find out that her father had taken out multiple cards in her name, and the names of both of her sisters, and her mother s name Digging further, she discovers that her father has no college degrees, never taught at Stanford, never got a medal in the army, and never even got above private in the army His entire life, everything that she knew about him was built on lies.It sounds like a really dramatic story, especially knowing that it s all true And it is, but the structure keeps it from hitting its full potential For some reason, it s published as a graphic novel I m not sure that was the best choice Sandell s art
When Laurie Sandell, if that is her real last name, was growing up, her father would have the mail stopped every time he went out of town If, by some twist, Laurie did get her hands on the delivery, she would find envelopes addressed to all sorts of people she had never heard of.The Impostor s Daughter by Laurie Sandell, a chronicler of celebrity stories and editor at Glamour, is a graphic memoir recounting a childhood spent with a mysterious father who haslarger than life stories of honors, awards, medals, and elbow rubbing Sandell, his favorite of his three daughters, is always trying to please him, and likes to leave little funny drawings for him to find As she gets older, and they disconnect a bit from their original clique, she starts to question the truth in the fantastic stories he has told her Does he work for the CIA Who is this guy And why in the hell did he open multiple credit cards in her name, and completely demolish her credit score before she s ever even pursed her own plastic She begins investigating her father, with plans to write an article for a magazine about his life and lies At first he is totally game He spends hours with her talking about killing people and almost being killed and jail time and the biggie bigs he s called friends She records these sessions, and then starts fact checking No, he didn t graduate from that university No, he never worked there Looks like he borrowed a shitton of money from a fami
So this is a memoir written by a magazine writer Vogue Something She writes for a fashion magazine , in graphic novel format, about a young woman discovering that her father is a fraud And not in the way we all do, where, after adolescence, we discover that our dads aren t heroes Or I guess we don t all do that, but you know what I mean Her father is an actual fraud, a liar, to his family, to employers, to the government, to money lenders It s a great premise.The book doesn t really deliver, though This isn t really Sandell s story of her father, it s her story of herself Which is also a good story she kind of stumbles into a cool career she enjoys, she struggles with substance abuse and depression and comes out on the other sides of them both, she faces some demons in herself and in her ability to have and maintain relationships it just keeps coming across as slightly self centered filler until you realize, too late, that the purported locus, the father, is not.So the read is unbalanced, content wise, and then there s the issue with the format Every time the la
Not since Jessie Spano s struggle with No Doz has there been such a gripping, gritty portrayal of addiction The story of Sandell s conman father is interesting, but most of the book is taken up with the boring details of Sandell s boring life She interviews self obsessed celebrities and marvels at her ability to get them to talk