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Half a Life (Paperback)

Author:  Jill Ciment
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Half a Life Ciment, Jill 1 of 1
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Learn more about Half a Life:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0385488912
ISBN-13: 9780385488914
Sku: 30055711
Publish Date: 8/25/2008
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.25L x 0.5T
Pages:  220
See more in Personal Memoirs
From the Publisher:
Unflinchingly honest, moving, and funny, Half a Life shows how a girl without means or promise and with only a loving mother, chutzpah, a bit of fraud, and a lot of luck turned into somebody. In 1964 the Ciment family left middle-class Montreal for the fringe desert communities of Los Angeles, where their always unstable father lost the last vestiges of his sanity. Terrified and broke, in a world he could neither understand nor control, he came apart. When the family finally threw him out, he lived for weeks in his car at the foot of their driveway.Ciment turned herself into a girl for whom a father is unnecessary-a tough girl who survived any way she could. She and her brother Jack helped support the family by working for a shady market researcher, quickly learning to supply their own answers to burning questions like, "Did we like Swanson TV dinners? If so, why? On a scale of one to ten, how would we rate the new Talking Barbie? Arrow wax? Dr. Rosss dog food?" She became a gang girl, a professional forger, and a Times Square porn model. Using a friend's SAT score she cheated her way into art school, and seduced and eventually married her art teacher, a married man thirty years her senior. By turns comic, tragic, and heartrending, Half a Life is a bold, unsentimental portrait of the artist as a girl from nowhere, making herself up from scratch, acting up, and finally overcoming the consequences of being the child of a father incapable of love and responsibility.By turns comic, tragic, and heartrending, "Half a Life" is a bold, unsentimental portrait of the artist as a girl from nowhere, making herself up from scratch, acting up, and finally overcoming the consequences of being the child of a father incapable of love and responsibility. "Tender, unsentimental, and filled with moments of contagious joy and heartbreak, her 'half a life' is more than most people experience in a lifetime".--"Publishers Weekly".The author describes her family's move to Los Angeles; her father's loss of sanity and brutalization of his family; her careers as a gang girl, professional forger, and porno model; and her marriage to an older man
This memoir follows its author's family from Montreal's Jewish suburbs to the desert communities of Los Angeles, where Jill Ciment's father, terrified and broke, brutalized his wife and children until they threw him out. Jill became a gang member, a thief, a porno model, gradually overcoming the consequences of being her father's child.


Kirkus Reviews
"...[T]he author is a triumphantly self-made woman and her book gives us the agony--and intermittent joy--of the process in tough, spare, convincing language." 05/01/1996

New York Times
"It's no surprise to learn that Jill Ciment, the author of this luminous memoir, once studied to be a painter. Sad, funny, and affecting, 'Half a Life' is animated by reminiscences that are so emotionally detailed, so physically well observed that they burn an image in the reader's memory, like paintings glimpsed at an exhibition." - Michiko Kakutani 07/02/1996

Los Angeles Times Book Review
"It takes a certain audacity to write your memoirs while still relatively young, especially if you aren't famous. Ciment has plenty of audacity, a quality that may have saved her life, and certainly enhances her book....Reading 'Half a Life' feels like sitting down to dinner with someone you really like....Given the difficult, dramatic events of her life, Ciment's lack of self-pity and histrionics is nothing short of incredible. She writes with absolute compassion." - Erika Taylor 07/07/1996

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0220
Product attributePublisher:   Anchor Books
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