From Publishers Weekly
McMillan acknowledges conventional wisdom in this oddly paced memoir: "any chick old enough to have acquired a Diet Coke habit has heard that your relationships with men will be based - one way or another - on the one you had with your father." The film and TV writer (The United States of Tara) believes that her failed marriages are a reflection of the connections, however imperfect, she has tried to forge with her father, a pimp, drug dealer, and convicted felon incarcerated most of her life. McMillan's relationship attempts dominate the discussion: there's Scott, her first boyfriend in high school, who already has a girlfriend. There's her third ex-husband, Paul, a Harvard grad from an affluent family, and "a lot like my dad. They both loved me and left me anyway. Then, once they were gone, they refused to let me go." Only when McMillan manages to accept her father for who he is does she get beyond her past and look to the future. But by the time she realizes that her young son, about whom she talks not nearly enough, is the true love of her life, the story comes to an abrupt end.
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Psychiatrists are overly eager to blame young women’s issues with men on their fathers, but in McMillan’s case, the charge holds some weight. McMillan’s father, Freddie, is charismatic and earnest—but he’s also a drug dealer and a pimp who has been incarcerated for most of McMillan’s life. The television writer (whose credits include Life on Mars and The United States of Tara) jumps back and forth in time as she recounts childhood visits to prison to see her father, the foster families she stayed with, her teen years living with an unstable adoptive mother, and McMillan’s three failed marriages. The last of these, a union with a charming compulsive liar named Paul, who can’t seem to be faithful or work regularly without female adoration, is what wakes her up to her propensity for choosing men like her feckless father. But it is McMillan’s love for her son that finally brings her to a better understanding of men, and herself. An eye-opening read, especially for women prone to picking the wrong men. --Kristine Huntley
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