Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Bad Mother
Your Garage Up to 80 Percent Off Textbooks Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Dolly Parton Fire TV Stick Health, Household and Grocery Back to School Totes Summer-Event-Garden Amazon Cash Back Offer ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Shop Now

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
17
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:$3.99
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

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.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 1, 2011
The characters in "The Bad Mother" are real people - or at least it feels like it. This reads like non-fiction, with vivid imagery that you won't be able to shake when you close your eyes at night. I read this in two sittings, but it would have been one had I not forced myself to savor the world in which I'd been immersed. I'm just sad I can't read it again for the first time.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 4, 2011
Nancy Rommelmann is a first-rate practitioner of long-form nonfiction and she has adapted her talents gracefully and seamlessly into a first-rate debut novel. She has produced a book of unsparing honesty and tenderness toward her young wayward characters and created a memorable portrait of the down-and-out in LA in the early 21st century. Fans of Hubert Selby Jr. (Last Exit to Brooklyn) and Joan Didion (in her streetwise mode) should sit up and take note.

Peter Blauner

Author of Slow Motion Riot and Slipping Into Darkness
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 20, 2011
"The Bad Mother" is a gripping and heartrending tale about broken people clinging to the hardest edges of life. With sharp and unsentimental prose, Rommelmann shows us a world that shouldn't exist, but does. I'll never forget reading it. You won't either.

Stephen Dublanica

\
Author of Waiter Rant and Keep the Change
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 1, 2011
As I burned through this gritty little book, I encountered the internal lives of its characters as well as very direct sensations of its setting. I have to say it knocked me around quite a bit - it was like getting in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. The moment I felt empathy, or any of the many feelings the book provoked, a deft shift in time, place or character forced me to experience the story from a different emotional perspective. The Bad Mother reminds of the neorealism films of DeSica and Rossellini, except it never lingers nor bows to sentiment.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 28, 2015
I read this novel in two sittings, which is a compliment! I don't usually read books that fast, but this one kept me turning the pages.

What I love about this book is what I love about all Rommelmann's work: her spare and direct and pops-off-the-page style. She wastes no words. She gets us in then out. The sentences are sharp and fast. It's almost like a play: heavy on dialogue and visuals.

I had nightmares about these characters. Which is a compliment, too. That means that I was moved, haunted, changed. The effect didn't always feel pleasant, when I was in the middle of reading. In fact, I'd liken it more to a sucker punch to the gut. Sometimes I felt a sweep of nausea course through me. Strong feelings are good. Only strong books create strong feelings. The worst thing a reader can say about a book is that it had no emotional resonance. The emotional resonance of this book was like an active volcano.

I was most reminded of the experience I had when I first read Bonnie Jo Campbell's amazing and disturbing short story collection, American Salvage. I had a feeling of physical revulsion but also of awe and gratitude. Her characters are the abused and the abusers, addicts and losers. Those on the fringe of society. I remember her saying: People tell me they don't know anybody like the characters in my books. I tell them: You're just not looking hard enough.

I was also reminded of how I felt reading Katherine Boo (Beyond the Beautiful Forevers) and Denis Johnson (Jesus' Son). Jim Carroll comes to mind. I love the analogy on the book's blurb to Iggy Pop. Unflinching is the word I kept thinking about.

I do understand how this book could be controversial, how it could elicit strong and strongly opposite reactions in various readers. The opening scene, especially, because it's so gross.

But read past he first scene. Try not to be too squeamish. Rommelmann writes about people on the fringes, the kind of people who aren't written about enough. This is a brave and necessary book.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 28, 2011
This novel is fantastic!
Heart-wrenching, gritty, and at times painful to read, The Bad Mother offers marginal characters not unlike those set in Faulkner's iconic tales about misfits. With a nod to Mary Gaitskill, Rommelmann brilliantly creates powerful relationships between her readers and these derelict young adults. Intense, commanding, and quick-witted, The Bad Mother leaves us not quite ready to cut the cord to these Hollywood street kids.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 28, 2011
This is a novel written by a writer who is a journalist of considerable talent.It 's brief , to the point and efficient.It is very much one of those American urban lower depths novels reminiscent of Hubert Selby's work .The difference being , Rommelmann actually cares about her characters,which is something I wouldn't accuse Selby of.This is a realistic novel which "reports".It depicts the day in, day out lives of what are in effect lost children.It doesn't offer solutions.It doesn't preach and there is no hope being offered.Rommelmann wishes everyone the best and probably wishes people didn't live like this but they do and will continue to do so and she has decided to depict them.The setting is Hollywood. We on the East Coast need to be reminded of the fact that if this was ever glamourville, that was a long time ago.If you're in the mood for a little contemporary urban realism without the chill of Selby or the creepiness of William Vollman( think Whores for Gloria) you'll probably enjoy this.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 6, 2011
I loved this book. I found the lives of those who we see but never know, accurately intriguing. I couldn't put it down and have since found myself driving around the same streets looking for, at least a face, to the characters that are so beautifully and empathetically described within the lives of such sadness, yet without pity.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 25, 2013
Penetrating into a world so unknown for the fortunate, this fast-paced, gritty novel by the incandescent, Nancy Rommelmann, paints a gloriously grotesque portrait of homeless youth in our society and delves fearlessly into the raw underbelly of street life. Beautifully written in a touching and thought provoking manner; you may second guess that this book is actually fiction. The characters are vibrant and memorable, and may leave you heartbroken as they come to grips with their realities and work for nothing else but to survive through what they know life to be. You may see those once thought irritating travesties bombarding you for change at your local 7/11 with a newfound compassion after this read.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Need customer service? Click here