Chanel Bonfire (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This is one of those juicy “Mommy Dearest” memoirs, one where you simply cannot believe that a mother would act the way she does, one where you feel intense sympathy for the children, and one where you cannot wait to find out what terrible thing she does next.

Lawless is a great writer, and the story is plotted and paced perfectly. At the beginning of her story, I understood her mother, Georgann. A few more chapters in, I at least had empathy for her. A few more chapters in, and I saw her for what she was, with no filter. You see how decisions in life can mold and make a person, how mental illness can make someone can go from manically happy to deeply depressed in the blink of an eye, and how all of that affects the ones closest to them. 

— Stef Schmidt

January 2013 Indie Next List

“Lawless has written a compelling, engaging, sometimes funny, and at times shocking tale of her childhood. Her mother, Georgann Rea, was a narcissist of the highest order, and Wendy and her younger sister suffered terrible emotional deprivation at her hands. From a very young age, when her mother attempts suicide for the first time, Wendy struggles to protect her sister and herself from a woman who lived a life of decadence, alcoholism, adultery, and lies. Lawless ultimately makes peace with herself and learns to live on her own terms, a process remarkably recounted in this searing memoir.”
— Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT


In her stunning memoir, Wendy Lawless tells the often heartbreaking tale of her unconventional upbringing with an unstable alcoholic and suicidal mother--a real-life Holly Golightly turned Mommie Dearest--and the uncommon sense of resilience that allowed her to rise above it all. Don't forget to look out for Wendy's follow-up memoir, Heart of Glass, coming March 2016 from Gallery Books.
Georgann Rea didn't bake cookies or go to PTA meetings; she wore a mink coat and always had a lit Dunhill plugged into her cigarette holder. She'd slept with too many men and a few women, and she didn't like dogs or chil-dren. Georgann possessed the icy beauty of a Hitchcock heroine with the cold heart to match.
From living at the Dakota in 1960s Manhattan to London's swinging town houses and beyond, Wendy Lawless and her younger sister navigated day-to-day life as their unstable and fabulously neglectful mother, Georgann, chased her delusions, suffered dramatic breakdowns, and survived suicide attempts. With clear-eyed grace and flashing wit, Lawless portrays the highs and lows of her unhinged upbringing--and how she survived her mother's endlessly destructive search for glamour and fulfillment--in "a searing memoir that reads like a novel" (Anne Korkeakivi, An Unexpected Guest).
Product Details
ISBN: 9781451675368
ISBN-10: 1451675364
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 295
Language: English