Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Not many books are this brave. You won't forget it.
on March 2, 2011
This is a short, rewarding, fast-moving read, extremely tough yet somehow gentle account of the degradations and essential humanity of lost young homeless people in Hollywood. Although fictional, the details are concrete and intense, as you would expect from the author's widely-admired work as a journalist. The narrative arcs across these lives of tedious repetition yet total insecurity, from one fast-food doorway to the next 7 Eleven, with layers of hell into which the characters must descend at different times for the purpose of survival.
But the point of it all is the love it reveals. There is deep compassion in its unflinching truth, a love you get to share and take away at the end, just for spending time and witnessing the characters' lives; and their natural openness, innocence, vitality, the simple desire to do no harm. You may feel shocked and disturbed at the start, but The Bad Mother lays humanity out upon a table like an evening spread out against the sky (to misquote T.S. Eliot)- the humanity of the characters mirrored in the humanity of their author. The human soul shines through, and it is captivating.