The Imposter's Daughter
I recently won a book from Supahmommy that I signed up for only because the cover intrigued me. I admit it, I only skimmed to see what it was about. Supahmommy's writing style is funny and honest, and she breaks her reviews down nicely for us skimmers.
What stood out to me? Funny/Quirky/Easy Read "OOOH!" thunk I, "I need something easy and funny after the more literary type things I'd been reading for the last few weeks." So I signed up. And won. And felt badly because I didn't remember entering or what the book was about. But I still sent my mailing info to supahmommy because I knew it must have caught my attention for some reason. Then The Impostor's Daughter arrived and I remembered the awesome colorful cover that drew me in. I started to read the inside flap and my heart dropped. A memoir. Told as a graphic novel. Neither do I enjoy regularly. So now I felt really badly for accepting the book.
I flipped through and the colorful images really appealed to me, just as the cover had. I knew that The Impostor's Daughter was not a book to be read in bed laying on my left side, my usual reading spot as I told y'all in the BBAW Reading Habits meme. I got an iced tea, went out on the deck and started reading. Iwas immediately HOOKED! I love hearing stories about people's families, the soil and nutrients from which the plant grew, so to speak. Learning what went in to making the person I know.
Laurie Sandell, the author and illustrator of The Impostor's Daughter brought me right into her home. I always enjoy imagining scenes when I am reading, but having the illustrations made the image of her curled up listening to her dad's fantastical stories about his life more vivid. He treated her as his special princess, taking her on special daddy-daughter outings and even telling her she was his favorite. Laurie's actual cartoons from her childhood show her father as an angry huge head with a wart on his nose, strange from Daddy's favorite. When Laurie was twelve, her father lost his job as a college professor and many things changed. Her mother returned to being a teacher, and her father began sitting around the house in his underwear working on deals and brooding to the point of raging at his family, causing Laurie and her younger sisters to avoid bringing friends home.
Laurie shares with us her college life, first boyfriend, and four years of traveling the world, thinking she was searching for the adventures of her father, but in reality a lost soul searching for herself. Over the years Laurie begins to question her father's legitimacy as different financial schemes come to light, including taking out credit cards in his daughters' names and running up huge debts in their names. This piques her curiosity about the stories of Daddy working for the CIA, sitting in on the National Security Council and having multiple degrees from prestigious universities. Two years of taped interviews with her father, and with his former colleagues and traveling to Buenos Aires for research and to meet his estranged step-sister brought about the amazing graphic memoir The Impostor's Daughter.
I was so entranced by Laurie's tale that I read the book in about three hours, only stopping to come in the house and eat lunch. For a very young woman she has lived an extraordinary life and the plant that grew from the soil and nutrients of her childhood and young adult adventures is an honest, interesting, and talented writer. I cannot reccomend this book with greater enthusiasm than I have shown here, especially for those looking to try a graphic novel for the first time. Be sure to visit Laurie's website where she has a great video showing pictures from the book and her narration explaining her motivation and process.
Author Photo: William Garrett