Perishable by Dirk Jamison
A Memoir

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Fascinatingly disturbing, this memoir chronicles seven years in the life of a distinctly unordinary American family. In 1973, Dirk Jamison's father started having a midlife crisis that never ended, and after purposefully losing his construction job, he moved his family to a ski resort and started feeding them from dumpsters in an effort to reject money and all its trappings. They were never homeless, never desperately poor, but they lived on garbage. While Jamison struggled with adolescence, he faced a father who valued freedom more than anything, an overweight Mormon mother, and a cruel sister who delighted in physical abuse. Hilarious and horrifying, this heartbreaking account tells the strange story of the anti-American dream.

About Dirk Jamison

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Dirk Jamison has contributed work to LA Weekly, Self, Utne Reader, and on PRI's This American Life. His documentary film about his father, who still dumpster-dives at the age of 71, was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
Published April 1, 2006 by Chicago Review Press. 223 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Food stamps.” Jamison’s irate mother fluctuated alarmingly in weight, gorging secretly to allay her dissatisfaction with her marriage and lying to hide what the author calls her “staggering stupidity.” The older sister was a sadist who often physically tortured her hated siblings and eventually d...

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Publishers Weekly

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At first glance, it appears Jamison's 1970s Southern California childhood was an unending disaster.

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Entertainment Weekly

Originally posted Apr 07, 2006 Published in issue #872 Apr 14, 2006 Order article reprints

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Project MUSE

The publisher's pitch on the cover of Dirk Jamison's Perishable makes the Jamison family sound like a good candidate for the Jerry Springer Show: "Hilarious, horrifying, and ultimately heartbreaking, Perishable is a childhood memoir that chronicles seven years in the life of an almost ordinary Am...

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