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The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir Hardcover – July 29, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (July 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316033057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316033053
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this delightfully composed graphic novel, journalist Sandell (Glamour) illustrates a touchingly youthful story about a daughter's gushing love for her father. Using a winning mixture of straightforward comic-book illustrations with a first-person diarylike commentary, Sandell recounts the gradual realization from her young adulthood onward that her charming, larger-than-life Argentine father, bragging of war metals, degrees from prestigious universities and acquaintances with famous people, had lied egregiously to his family about his past and accomplishments. Growing up with her two younger sisters and parents first in California, then in Bronxville, N.Y., the author records signs along the way that her father, a professor of economics with a volatile temperament and autocratic manner, was hiding something, from his inexplicable trips out of town, increasing paranoid isolation, early name change from Schmidt to Sandell, to massive credit-card fraud. Interviewing her father for her first magazine article, the author resolved to check his sources and even flew later to confront his past in Argentina, only to discover the truth. Feeling betrayed, guilty for exposing him and mistrustful in her relationships with men, Sandell numbed herself by abusing Ambien and alcohol. Her depiction of her rehab adventure is rather pat and tidy, and she does not address the notion that her own creativity might have sprung from her father's very duplicity. However, Sandell's method of storytelling is marvelously unique and will surely spark imitators. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A stunner. From the opening page of Laurie Sandell's illustrated memoir, I was hooked. This coming of age tale for grownups may be a feast for the eyes, but it's also a sock in the gut-a wrenchingly funny tale of deception, addiction, and what it means to search for true love when you were raised on lies. You'll finish this page-turner in a single night-but the story will stay with you for much longer." (Carole Radziwill, author of What Remains)

"Don't pick up The Impostor's Daughter if you have an urgent looming deadline. You'll start reading and then keep reading till you reach the last page, because this real-life detective story is so compelling, personal, and poignant that you'll end up ignoring your own life and responsibilities. Like I did." (A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically)

The Impostor's Daughter is the mesmerizing account of Laurie Sandell's hunt for the truth about her father. Maybe he's a con man, possibly he's delusional, but to Laurie he's a larger-than-life figure-the most adventurous father in the world. Compellingly told and wonderfully drawn, The Impostor's Daughter is also the story of Laurie's personal struggle with pop-culture's zeitgeist trifecta: sex, celebrity, and substance abuse. It's a stirring debut. (Nathan Englander, author of The Ministry of Special Cases and For the Relief of Unbearable Urges)

"The Impostor's Daughter is funny, frank, and absolutely engaging. It's about truth and consequences and families and men and women and fame and, well, life itself. It's wonderful." (Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief)

"In this delightfully composed graphic novel, journalist Sandell illustrates a touchingly youthful story about a daughter's gushing love for her father. Using a winning mixture of straightforward comic-book illustrations with a first-person diarylike commentary, Sandell recounts the gradual realization from her young adulthood onward that her charming, larger-than-life Argentine father, bragging of war metals, degrees from prestigious universities and acquaintances with famous people, had lied egregiously to his family about his past and accomplishments.... Sandell's method of storytelling is marvelously unique and will surely spark imitators." (Publishers Weekly)

"Sophisticated and spellbinding, Laurie Sandell's graphic memoir, The Impostor's Daughter, is rife with dramatic family dynamics, secrets, and subterfuges centered around her mysterious, mercurial, Argentine-American father. By uncovering the buried truths of his past life, she claims her own coming-of-age story." (Elle)

"Celebrity journalist Laurie Sandell's absorbing graphic memoir, The Impostor's Daughter, delves into her father's shady past.... This smart, candid book with its vivid illustrations is a must-read." (InStyle)

"[An] eloquent graphic novel." (Time)

"Sandell's wit shines through her clever illustrations and honest prose." (USA Today)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

This is the first graphic novel I've ever read-- and it's made me in love with the form.
Gentle Reader
I suppose it was an attempt to flesh out her character, but it seemed like she was pointing out things just to seem cooler or more interesting.
Kay J
The book is told through the eyes of Laurie Sandell, about the relationship with her father.
Judy Mines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Scott Manus on August 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Impostor's Daughter is a stunningly original and utterly compelling memoir.
It is original in so many ways. The drawings and the text combined add a depth
and descriptive precision that hits you on so many levels, emotionally, intellectually
and creatively.

As a psychotherapist that specializes in people who have been harmed by living
inside a lie that no one in the family is allowed to name or challenge, I know intimately
that although Ms. Sandell's story is utterly unique and mind blowing, the sad truth is
that so many people have had to survive equally dysfunctional families, though,
her's is uniquely creative in its dysfunction.

I have already used this book in my psychotherapy practice to show people
who are still in the "it wasn't so bad, it wasn't like they ever beat me with a lead pipe" defense
of minimalizing that if you didn't have the worst parents in the world that you have no right
to complain about the authentic pain that you experienced.

As if all you have to do to be a good parent is not physically beat your children.

What makes this book so special is that while it is quite easy to chronicle others
bad behavior, Ms. Sandell doesn't choose the easy way out, that is to say, she never is
vengeful nor in denial about how badly she needs her father merely to be the sweet and
loving man she senses he has the capacity to be, instead of his misguided belief that in
order to be good enough, he had to be extraordinary.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By BermudaOnion VINE VOICE on July 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When Laurie Sandell was a young girl, she idolized her father. As she grew older, she began to realize that he's different from other fathers and she suspected that a lot of what he was saying wasn't true. After college, Laurie discovered that her father had obtained credit under her name and done some other questionable things.

In trying to find herself, Laurie does some questionable things of her own after that - traveling the world looking for love and participating in some outrageous behavior. She finally returned to the states and started working as a secretary. When she told a friend who works in the magazine business, about her father, he suggested she write about him. At about this time, she was having trouble sleeping and her mother suggested she try Ambien.

Laurie wrote an article on her father and it was published anonymously. Even so, it still didn't sit well with her family. When Laurie got a magazine job interviewing celebrities, she started researching her father's past in earnest, even traveling to South America to visit his step-sister. In the meantime, she's became addicted to Ambien. She was in a relationship, but it wasn't really a happy one, yet she couldn't ever break it off.

After interviewing Ashley Judd, Laurie exchanged a few emails with her and opens up to her and Ashley Judd makes a suggestion that changes Laurie's life forever.

The Impostor's Daughter is Laurie Sandell's graphic memoir. What a story she has to tell! When this book first came, I leafed through a couple pages and I was hooked. The story is fantastic and the drawings are too. (You can get an idea of what they're like from the cover.) There are even some of Laurie's childhood drawings included.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Professor Griff on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It may seem odd to use the term self-involved to describe a personal memoir, but The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell book certainly merits it. There is undoubtedly the germ of a good story in here, worth at least a fifteen-minute segment on This American Life, and it might have been far more compelling had Ms Sandell had the ability to look outside of her own emotional life into that of the other characters who, as she portrays them, are little more than satellites in orbit around her own narcissistic consciousness. I wanted to know, for instance, how it was that her mother and sisters were able to survive and develop under the influence of such a dishonest, unstable husband and father, but Ms Sandell offers her readers only a cursory glance into that side of her family's dynamic. As for her father, his multiple sins and deceptions are described in detail, but Ms Sandell seems unwilling or unable to delve into his own interior life. His motivations are as mysterious at the end of the book as they are at the beginning and he seems to matter only insofar as he is the catalyst for the author's personal dysfunction and neurosis.

Instead, Ms Sandell dwells at length on episodes, such as her pathetic relationship with a drab creature named Ben and her career interviewing vapid celebrities that, while she may believe they represent significant chapters in her personal development, are frankly not interesting or unique enough to earn the demands they place on her readers' attention.
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