Author of the New York Times bestseller Chanel Bonfire, Wendy Lawless chronicles her twenties: the darkly funny story of a girl without a roadmap for life who leaves her disastrous past to find herself in the gritty heart of 1980s New York City.
Before downtown Manhattan was scrubbed clean, gentrified, and overrun with designer boutiques and trendy eateries and bars, it was the center of a burgeoning art scene—both exciting and dangerous. Running from the shipwreck of her glamorous and unstable childhood with a volatile mother, Wendy Lawless landed in the center of it all. With an open heart and a thrift store wardrobe, Wendy navigated this demi-monde of jaded punk rockers, desperate actors, pulsing parties, and unexpected run-ins with her own past as she made every mistake of youth, looked for love in all the wrong places, and eventually learned how to grow up on her own.
With the same “biting humor” (People) that made her “powerful” (USA TODAY) and “illuminating and inspiring” (Reader’s Digest) New York Times bestseller Chanel Bonfire so captivating, Wendy turns her brutally honest and often hilarious spotlight on herself, recounting her tumultuous and giddy twenties trying to make it in the creative underbelly of New York City, all the while searching for love, a paying job, and occasionally, a free meal.
Lawless (Chanel Bonfire) devotes her lively and engaging second memoir to her 20s,when she was setting out to pursue her passion for the theater, primarily in Manhattan (in the 1980s). The daughter of a "narcissistic, batty mom" and a father who was also an actor, Lawless is still reeling from her unconventional childhood (her mother kidnapped the author and her sister, raising them in an abusive environment far from her ex-husband) when she arrives in colorful, crime-ridden New York to study film at NYU. Initially, Lawless moves in with a boyfriend, but the relationship doesn't last. In the pre-HIV atmosphere, she freely explores her sexuality, but her deep desire for a stable, committed relationship eludes her; she leans toward men who are "bad boys." The author also flits from job to job (coat check clerk, deli worker, salesperson, etc.) and from one acting gig to another. After reuniting in Minneapolis with her long-lost father, she returns to New York, eventually landing a part in the popular play The Heidi Chronicles. Lawless's route to success and happiness is intricate and circuitous (prepare to lose count of her love interests). As she shares her progression from an insecure, troubled girl to a young woman who can stand confidently on her own two feet, the unsinkable Lawless tells a tale of triumph over a difficult past. Readers will be drawn to her unique blend of sweetness, grit, and resilience.