Yes, Storm Large is her real name, though she’s been called many things. As a performer, the majority of descriptions have led with “Amazon,” “powerhouse,” “a six-foot Vargas pinup come to life.” Playboy called her a “punk goddess.” You’d never know she used to be called “Little S”—the mini-me to her beautiful and troubled mother, Suzi.
Little S spent most of her childhood visiting her mother in mental institutions and psych wards. Suzi’s diagnosis changed with almost every doctor’s visit, ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder to multiple personality disorder to depression. One day, nine-year-old Little S jokingly asked one of her mother’s doctors, “I’m not going to be crazy like that, right?” To which he replied, “Well, yes. It’s hereditary. You absolutely will end up like your mother. But not until your twenties.”
Storm’s story of growing up with a mental time bomb hanging over her veers from frightening to inspiring, sometimes all in one sentence. But her strength, charisma, and raw musical talent gave her the will to overcome it all. Crazy Enough is a love song to the twisted, flawed parts in all of us.
With a name like Storm Large, a larger-than-life destiny seemed natural for the rock singer and winning contestant on the TV reality show Rock Star: Supernova. Yet growing up in the 70s in Southborough, Mass., where her father was a teacher and coach at Mt. Mark s prep school, Large was plagued by her mother s mental illness, as she recounts in this frank, funny, and caustically un-self-pitying memoir. Her mother s manic depression and undiagnosed personality disorder required frequent hospitalizations, wreaking havoc on the whole family, and for love, Large found sex ( hypersexuality ) a suitable replacement, at a very young age, as well as drug abuse. An inconsistent student who excelled at such sports as crew in order to please her sports-fan dad, Large nonetheless failed at everything except singing, eventually graduating from New York s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, convinced she couldn t act. Gravitating toward San Francisco, heroin, and rock groups, she found some success with the band Dirty Mouth in the 1990s, then in Portland with the Balls. Yet the gritty druggie anecdotes and one-night stands aside, her memoir boils down to the tension inherent in her relationship with her mother, who used her sickness as emotional manipulation. In her gutsy, shrill way, Large exhibits an engaging insouciance in delving into very real, scary, emotionally weighty issues.
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Reality at its best. A poignant discovery of feeling and feelings. Brazen and Large, sometimes a bit too much to unfold, but yes, memorable.