Her mother was a brainy knockout with the sultry beauty of Marilyn Monroe, a raconteur whose fierce wit could shock an audience into hilarity or silence. Her father was a distinguished figure in American letters, the National Book Awardwinning author of four of the greatest novels of World War II ever written. A daughter of privilege with a seemingly fairy-tale-like life, Kaylie Jones was raised in the Hamptons via France in the 1960s and ’70s, surrounded by the glitterati who orbited her famous father, James Jones.
Memoirs seem to be hit and miss for me this year. When offered the opportunity to read Lies My Mother Never Told Me I jumped on it because, honestly, the title is great and it looked interesting. My mistake was not looking to see who it was about and learning more about it.
Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. Most memoirs I read are about people I’ve never been “introduced” to. That’s the whole point of a memoir, right? Getting to know someone. It was different in this book though. Because Kaylie Jones is the daughter of a famous writer (James Jones), there was a lot.. and I do mean a lot… of name-dropping in this book. Mostly names I’d never heard of due to the writers/actors/directors being people outside of the circle I am usually interested in.
This would not have been a big deal to me, I’m always happy to expand that circle, if I hadn’t felt so put off by everything she was writing. I felt as if she was writing to impress and as if she was just a bit whiny, to be honest. While I could feel sympathy for her and how she was raised, still.. she was the recipient of so many things that most of us never get to see or do. This especially struck home when, while discussing her mothers estate, she and her husband were “okay” so long as her daughter received a private education and ivy league college.
Each section of the book begins with a short story told by her mother. I think these stories are where the title comes in (although I can’t be absolutely sure of that). Most of the stories went right over my head or were un-interesting. The only one that got a chuckle from me was the Frank Sinatra one.
I’ll shelve this memoir as another in a growing group of memoirs that seems to be written for a certain niche of people. To anyone unfamiliar with James Jones’ work, as I am, it just doesn’t carry anything of interest.
About the Author
Kaylie Jones is the author of Lies My Mother Never Told Me, a Publishers Weekly starred review memoir chosen as one of the hottest summer reads by The Palm Beach Pulse, The Daily Beast, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Kaylie was born in Paris, France and attended French schools until she returned with her family to the U.S. in 1974. Her father was the novelist James Jones.
To learn more please visit Kaylie Jones’ Website.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”