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Who Do You Think You Are?: A Memoir

by Alyse Myers

Published by Touchstone/Simon&Schuster

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Shortly after Alyse Myers's mother dies, Alyse and her sisters are emptying her mother's apartment, trying to decide what to discard and what to keep. Alyse covets only one thing -- a wooden box that sits in the back of a closet. Its contents have been kept from Alyse her entire life. That box, she hopes, will contain answers to her questions: Who were her parents really, and why did her mother settle for so very little in her life?

Growing up during the 1960s in a working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, Alyse's home is not a happy one. Her parents argue constantly and after the death of Alyse's father, her mother at age thirty-three is left with three young girls. While her mother retreats to the kitchen table with her cigarettes and bitterness, determined to stay there forever, Alyse yearns for more in life, including the right to escape. After a childhood of harrowing fights, abject cruelty, and endless uncertainty, Alyse adamantly rejects everything about her mother's life, provoking her mother's infuriated demand, "Who do you think you are?"

With candor and eloquence, Alyse Myers explores the profound and poignant revelations that so often come to light only after a parent has died. Balancing childhood memories with adult observations, Who Do You Think You Are? is a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting portrait of a mother and daughter. No matter what your relationship with your own mother is like, this book will stay with you long after you put it down.


pub date: 2009-04-28 | paperback | 9781416543053