Half a Life by Jill Ciment

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Jill Ciment weaves an unforgettable tale of survival, compassion, and courage, in this haunting recollection of a child surrounded by confusion and madness, and her struggle to find an identity.

  Half a Life  traces Jill Ciment's family from Toronto to the California desert - -a landscape and culture so alien to her father that the last vestiges of sanity leave him.  As madness engulfs him he becomes increasingly brutal and the family, grasping at survival, throws him out the door.  Having no understanding that he has done anything wrong, he first lives in his car at the end of the driveway, waiting to be invited back in, before exiting completely from their lives.

Poor and fatherless, Ciment spends the years from age fourteen to seventeen, as a gang girl, a professional forger, a stripper, a corporate spy, and finally, a high school dropout who by age eighteen has seduced her art teacher, a man  nearly three decades her senior and bluffed her way into college in an effort to shape a  future.  

Ciment is cutting, insightful and clearly unapologetic as she details the confusion and bravado of a child heroine whose dreams and tenacity allow her finally, to create the life she has been so desperately seeking.

About Jill Ciment

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Published June 30, 1998 by Random House Value Publishing. 210 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Half a Life

Publishers Weekly

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Bitter poverty and disordered family life thrust Jill Ciment out into the mean streets of the world long before she reached adulthood.

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Publishers Weekly

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In a starred review, PW called this memoir of a scrappy, fatherless childhood ""honest and engaging."" (Sept.)

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Entertainment Weekly

The story of a willful child with a Willy Lomanesque father, an engagingly dotty mother, and a knack for acting her way through life, Half A Life: A Memoir is a frank and spunky memoir about growing up in the '60s.

Aug 09 1996 | Read Full Review of Half a Life

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