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FAMILY SECRETS: One Woman's Affectionate Look at a Relatively Painful Subject Paperback – January 31, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
In the her one-woman show of the same name, Glaser performs various monologues as different members of her family. This memoir, which is based in part on that performance, is predictably all over the map. Most of the more interesting parts take place within the confines of Glaser's family, because once she leaves for California, her experiences (or at least her recollection of them) take on a New Age quality that will make more Earth-bound readers cringe ("Her character is a combination of my New Age Goddess-worshipping self and the great mother that I am"). There is a hint of this as Glaser starts off by explaining those characteristics that reflect her zodiac sign ("Air represents the aspect of the self that is the mind"), but she is on solid ground when recalling childhood in Queens and then on Long Island: a foiled attempt at sexual abuse by a stranger, prepubescent sex games and experiences of bulimia, as well as an ovarian cyst that Glaser believes related to her creativity. Glaser moves to California for college, and her parents follow. Once there, she forms a female comedy troupe called the Hot Flashes in 1980. Years of sexual indecision are followed by a scene at the Santa Barbara Women's Music and Comedy Festival (after which Glaser begins announcing "I'm a lesbian," to anyone within earshot), then by marriage to a golfer named Greg and a baby. This narrative is occasionally interrupted by pages of monologue from her show, which while inventive, read like a play and tend to be distracting. Glaser is like your wacky aunt from California: she's endearing and sweetly honest, but sometimes you feel embarrassed about liking her.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Glaser won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for the source of this book that, like that one-woman stage piece, explores five characters' lives and also her own artistic development and the development of the show itself. In it, readers meet Glaser's father as represented by the character Mort, a hard-working, loyal accountant who sees his family mainly on weekends. Mort's wife is manic-depressive and was hospitalized for electroconvulsive shock therapy when her daughter was four. Glaser depicts herself at various stages of her growth and details her adolescent tortures, including early sex, drugs, and the bulimia that was to plague her into adulthood. On the way to that adulthood, she loved and left both men and women. She eventually chose to identify as lesbian at the Santa Barbara Women's Music and Comedy Festival; she was performing in the Hot Flashes, an all-female theatrical troupe, and developing the family-based monologues that eventuated in this gripping book, full of painful recollections and ripe with insights. Whitney Scott