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Two Memoirs, a Memoir

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Two Memoirs
A biography + art by Amanda Montei

“Amanda Montei deftly evokes the splendors and miseries of her childhood in LA, a fabulous country of the mind, a land unlike any other. The riches to rags narrative she offers breaks your heart at a hundred intersections; it is a story populated by the demonic energies of family and school life, polished and broken into shards of crystal… With relentless subconscious force Montei’s genealogy slams against her personal life story, creating a stunning reverb effect.”
Dodie Bellamy, author of The TV Sutras and The Letters of Mina Harker

“In this deft, funny, sad, and strong memoir, Amanda Montei shows a remarkable skill for zooming in on the hilarious, unbearable, sometimes heartbreaking detail (watch for the polyps!), then panning out to give a memorable portrait of a time and place (Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s, with all its deceptive, and sometimes real, glamour). It’s as much discovery narrative as recovery narrative, as its author explores the deep mysteries of both mothers and memory with a wry and steady hand.”
Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets, The Argonauts and The Red Parts


“A daughter gives birth to her mother’s voice and finds her own in this remarkable bifurcated narrative. Set against a backdrop of fading Hollywood glory, Two Memoirs portrays two lives, two eras, two equally compelling stories, deeply interwoven and powerfully rendered in Amanda Montei’s clear-eyed, strong-hearted and revealing prose.”
—Janet Sarbanes, author of Army of One

Two Memoirs is written in two voices— Amanda’s and her mother’s. In these dueling coming-of-age memoirs spanning early Hollywood and 90s Los Angeles, both mother and daughter explore how addiction, American mythology, money, sexuality, and their proximity to celebrity shape their lives.

Confronting the instability of memory and the difficult search for truth in memoir, Two Memoirs is a biography of a mother, an autobiography of a daughter, a story about being a girl and finding one’s story in a culture of appearances—but also a conversation, an argument, and a tribute to the way our mothers’ words both haunt and guide us.