Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shaine Cunningham
This is another book I stumbled upon at the previous Big Bad Wolf Sale. It was a gem among the many jewels found that day. I've discovered that besides the mandatory business books that I HAVE TO read to improve my business sense, I love reading memoirs.
I used to read novels from Irish authors, my fave being Marian Keyes (she is SO funny!) but I enjoy reading memoirs now as they are about real people in real situations (some funny, some sad).
So back to Sleeping Arrangements. This book follows the life of Lily Shaine, who lives with her mother in the 50s. At age eight, Lily is orphaned and her two bachelor uncles begin to raise her and take care of their senile mother in a cramped apartment in the Bronx. What begins as a tragedy for Lily ends up a sometimes sad but more often hysterical story of how she learns to negotiate life, love, sex, school, religion and just about everything else, all against the backdrop of the city.
Laura doesn't write bitterly about the loss of her mother (who she has a very close relationship with- so close they can almost communicate telepathically) and the difficult neighbourhood she grows up in. Instead she centres her story around her two eccentric uncles (one who is a private investigator who speaks and dresses like one, and the other a dreamer who unfortunately is never lucky in love), her friends and her glamourous grandmother.
Her family is in no way "normal" and her school even threatens to put her away in an orphanage as they suspect that her family might be mistreating her. However, they soon learn that the pure and unselfish love that they shower on her is what helped forme her into an almost normal child.
You will laugh and cry (I seem to be drawn to books like these!) and you'll wish that the book never ended.