PositiveThe FederalistTo McCulloch, her father is a tragic figure with a mythic past. In memoirs, figures such as these can seem melodramatic because there is a clear disconnect between the opinion of the memoirist and the critical view of the reader. Because of this, McCulloch’s book tends to assume that the reader will feel as she felt, that her testimony will affect the reader as the events of her life affected her. But not quite so ... McCulloch’s writing is at its best in All Happy Families when she simply tells what happened and what was said, leaving the melodramatic element to arise from the reader’s reaction instead of pawing at what she assumes the reader’s feelings to be ... Although All Happy Families is structured as an emergence from the solipsism of youthful self-pity to an understanding of the struggles we all face, the book still identifies the men as the culprits. It leaves the reader with the sense that something is being hidden, if only tacitly, by the author. The author resists laying her family completely bare and exposed for the world to see ... Despite having written 240 pages about the topic, McCulloch seems to not quite understand her story ... Nevertheless, McCulloch’s book is a worthy read due to her simple yet powerful prose style and her amazing ability to recreate scenes and dialogue from memory that deliver an emotional punch similar to her first experience ... a memoir with all the qualities of a best-seller, but that will also be enjoyed for the wrong reason—the tragedies suffered, not the lessons learned.