Author Cris Beam left her mother's home at age 14, driven out by a suburban household of hidden chaos and mental illness. Her mother, a descendant of William Faulkner, told neighbors and family that her daughter had died. The two never saw each other again. Nearly twenty-five years later, after building her own family and happy home life, a lawyer called to say her mother was dead. In this story about the fragility of memory and the complexity of family, Beam decides to look back at her own dark history, and for the secret to her mother's madness.
Cris Beam is an author and professor in New York City. She is the author of the young adult novel I Am J, as well as Transparent, a nonfiction book that covers seven years in the lives of four transgender teenagers, which won the Lambda Literary Award for best transgender book in 2008 and was a Stonewall Honor book. She is currently at work on a book about the foster-care system.