PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... [a] searching new memoir ... Moore takes the trouble to see her mother’s choices in their historical and social context ... Moore is sparing with the details of her protracted conflict with her mother ... Readers of The White Blackbird, her 1996 biography of her maternal grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, will find some of the details in this ruminative, sometimes lyrical memoir familiar. The process of understanding a parent, perhaps like memoir writing, never ends. The writer and the child return repeatedly to a collection of fragments, rearranging and reconsidering them in the shifting light of age.
William D. Cohan
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIf Cohan sees a common thread [among his subjects\' deaths], he does not make it explicit. His flashlight hovers over the usual suspects—entitlement, recklessness, drugs, drinking, parental pressure, parental neglect—then moves on. Perhaps he was wise not to strain for a unified field theory, but a reader may hunger for fewer meandering quotations from friends and more analysis from the author ... The profiles are touching. They are also impressionistic and inconclusive. Because the book has neither endnotes nor a bibliography, it is not always easy to weigh the credibility of conflicting assertions ... I couldn’t help thinking about what story Cohan actually intended to tell.