Synopses & Reviews
Cris Mazza delivers a spirited rebuttal to pop-culture stereotypes about growing up female in Southern California. Coming of age in the 1970s and ’80s, Mazza’s memories aren’t about surfing, cheerleading or riding in convertibles. Though her story has its exotic elements—her family hunts and -gathers food in the semi-arid coastal hills well into the early ’70s—she sets herself in the context of familiar Americana. Repeating motifs—gender issues, the California landscape, dogs, musicians, plus the perplexing melancholy of a sexless marriage—thread through these very personal essays, as Mazza confronts madness, disability, sexual dysfunction and death, speaking to the drama of ordinary lives.
Cris Mazza’s most recent novel was Girl Beside Him, and she is the editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction.
" ... Mazza reveals a normality beneath the California myth that seems all
the more dazzling and exotic with the passage of time." Los Angeles Times
"These essays shine with hard-won honesty and emotional clarity. You can
trust Cris Mazza to level with you and entertain you with her stylish prose;
this is an engaging collection." Phillip Lopate, editor of Writing New
York: A Literary Anthology
"Cris Mazza's stunning memoir worries the notions of belonging, of
be-longing for a place and of longing for the memories of same. Her tales of
her native California expertly excavate an always surprising and always
rewarding experience cache." Michael Martone, author of The Flatness and
"Mazza's beautifully rendered love affair with her native state has nothing
to do with gilded dreams or pretty postcard depictions of sun and surf. Her
experience is rooted not in image but in a primal connection to the land
itself. " Chicago Tribune
Engaging memoir about growing up in rural Southern California and identifying as a "Californian" for life.