After surviving a traumatic childhood in 1970s New York and young adulthood living in the shadow of her flamboyant mother, Rita, a makeup-addicted former television singer, Altman has managed to build a very different life, settling in Connecticut with her wife of nearly 20 years. To sustain their fragile mother-daughter bond, the author must navigate the turbulent waters of their shared lives and the practical challenges of caregiving for someone who refuses to accept it.
Altman takes on a classic queer mythology—that never-ending tie between parent and child—and turns the mythology into a lived, complicated work of lyrically-wrought prose with a quiet surprise on every page ... [a] gorgeous new memoir[.]
Although this is Altman’s memoir, Rita is definitely the star. Readers do learn bits and pieces about the author’s life, but even then it’s through Rita ... Yet in the end, Altman calls her book a love story. And so, in its introspective, psychologically acute way, it is.
Funny, raw, and tender, Altman’s book examines the inevitable role reversals that occur in parent-child relationships while laying bare a mother-daughter relationship that is both entertaining and excruciating ... An eloquent, poignant memoir.