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Johnny's Girl
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About the Author

Born in Hollywood, raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Kim Rich has an MFA degree in writing from Columbia University, and has taught at Alaska Pacific University. She now lives in the lower 48, outside of Alaska. A Normal Life is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Johnny's Girl: A Daughter's Memoir of Growing Up In Alaska's Underworld.

Reviews

“This memoir poses the question, ‘Which offenses from our childhood are forgivable and which ones are not?’ [Rich’s] book is…the story of a gutsy child’s survival, the kind that should go straight to the heart.” ---New York Times Book Review

“Rich does an amazing job of searching out legal and hospital records, plus letters and diaries of her dead parents, and of interviewing cops, lawyers, former B-girls, and family members,---all in a effort to lay to rest the ghosts within her…Compelling.”         ---Kirkus Review

Don't be fooled by the misleading title, which conjures up images of an Alaskan version of Teresa Carpenter's Mob Girl ( LJ 3/1/92). Although Rich, as the only child of a gambler and a stripper, grew up ``amid the denizens of Anchorage's nightlife--pimps, con men, gamblers, prostitutes, heroin addicts, strippers,'' she has written not a sensationalistic account of the criminal world but a compassionate memoir, much like Geoffrey Douglas's Class ( LJ 10/1/92), that seeks to make sense of her parents' failed lives. For Johnny Rich and Ginger Chiaravalle, the B-bars and gambling dens of 1950s and 1960s Anchorage were the quick ticket to the American Dream. But Ginger's career as a stripper and prostitute eventually triggered her insanity (the book's most moving section recounts her last years dying of cancer in a mental institution), and Johnny's schemes finally resulted in his murder in 1973. Rich describes in rich detail her unusual and unstable childhood but skimps on her life after her parents' deaths. How did she survive? Why did she become a journalist? Perhaps she can tell us in the next book. Strongly recommended.-- Wilda Williams, ``Library Journal''

"This memoir poses the question, 'Which offenses from our childhood are forgivable and which ones are not?' [Rich's] book is...the story of a gutsy child's survival, the kind that should go straight to the heart." ---New York Times Book Review

"Rich does an amazing job of searching out legal and hospital records, plus letters and diaries of her dead parents, and of interviewing cops, lawyers, former B-girls, and family members,---all in a effort to lay to rest the ghosts within her...Compelling." ---Kirkus Review

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