In a word?
I finally finished it today.
It’s not a fun read, a pleasant read, or an entertaining read – even if there are a couple moments of joy interspersed – but I think it is a necessary one. One I didn’t give up despite setting it aside several times to clear my mind doing or reading something else.
It is the tale of a monster. Two of them. One that is still lauded by her peers despite defending a NAMBLA-supporting convicted pedophile, the other said pedophile who the SF/F community around Berkeley debated whether or not to ban him.
Says a lot about some of the truly weird and broken people in that community. There are many more monsters about, and her perents offered her to them to use and abuse.
The book recounts the origins of her mother and father, and the abuse they went through. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about this book is the degree to which, though not excusing, it humanizes and explains (though doesn’t excuse) how her parents ended up the way they did.
Then it recounts her life, and all the lives her parents directly touched and destroyed through sexual abuse and mental games. Through it , you also get a view of Berkeley of that era, and some of the truly strange and often broken people who lived there in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.
When you’re done, go listen to her album. It will be, especially after this, a warm ray of sunshine.