Chanel Bonfire - Wendy Lawless | Book Review

11:54 AM
Pages: 304 hardback
Publication date: January 8th, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
How I got the copy: Library 
Rating:  5 out of 5


A stunning memoir about an actress's unconventional, heartbreaking childhood with an unstable alcoholic and suicidal mother — a real-life Holly Golightly turned Mommie Dearest — and the unusual strength that allowed her to rise above it all.

By the time Wendy Lawless turned seventeen, she'd known for quite some time that she didn't have a normal mother. But that didn't stop her from wanting one.

Georgann Rea didn't bake cookies or go to PTA meetings; she wore a mink coat and always had a lit Dunhill plugged into her cigarette holder. She had slept with too many men, and some women, and she didn't like dogs or children. Georgann had the ice queen beauty of a Hitchcock heroine and the cold heart to match.

In this evocative, darkly humorous memoir, Wendy deftly charts the highs and lows of growing up with her younger sister in the shadow of an unstable, fabulously neglectful mother. Georgann, a real-life Holly Golightly who constantly reinvents herself as she trades up from trailer-park to penthouse, suffers multiple nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts, while Wendy tries to hide the cracks in their fractured family from the rest of the world.

Chanel Bonfire depicts a childhood blazed through the refined aeries of The Dakota and the swinging townhouses of London, while the girls' beautiful but damned mother desperately searches for glamour and fulfillment. Ultimately, they must choose between living their own lives and being their mother's warden.


Wow, the life of Wendy Lawless is everything except normal. 

This book is a biography told in a form of a story, which I absolutely loved. There were times I would forget this was biography! I would be sitting there thinking, "Woah, this actually happened to Wendy when she was a kid..." The situations Wendy and her sister had to endure with their mother were insane and I loved reading such an unconventional family dynamic.

Chanel Bonfire is a biography of Wendy Lawless. Wendy takes the reader through her life with her sister and how growing up with their mother was not a walk in the park. Wendy's mother, Georgann, has no maternal bone in her body and her children know it. Georgann is mentally ill and an alcoholic, which both Wendy and her sister grow up dealing with on their own or their mother would backlash if they put her in a mental hospital. 

Throughout Wendy's life after her parents divorce her mother had men walking in and out of their life. Georgann lived off of the men and she never worked. Georgann moved Wendy and her sister to many places around the world for insane reasons such as she had had enough of the scenery, which was usually when she would burn through all the friends and men in town. Wendy's father isn't in the picture and both kids are manipulated to get Georgann's way

Readers grow with Wendy and when Wendy heads to high school she struggles trying to figure out who she is, falling in love, heartbreak and trying not to end up like her mother but with trying to become her own person her mother makes everything more complicated. 

Wendy Lawless ensures to make her story enjoyable and easy to read regardless how difficult her up bringing was with an unstable and manipulative mother was. I could not put this book down and I definitely recommend!


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