Customer Reviews for

Her Last Death: A Memoir

Average Rating 3.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(19)

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(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Memoir at its most vivd

In HER LAST DEATH, Susanna Sonnenberg achieves what I believe the very best memoirs can accomplish. She paints a vivid, living picture, not just of a life but of her relationship with her manic but unbalanced mother, and she does so with prejudice and personal ...
In HER LAST DEATH, Susanna Sonnenberg achieves what I believe the very best memoirs can accomplish. She paints a vivid, living picture, not just of a life but of her relationship with her manic but unbalanced mother, and she does so with prejudice and personal perspective. Memoir is not autobiography at its very best, the genre tells us not the facts and objective observation of the events. Memoir takes us into the heart of the author's experience, and it is its very subjectivity that gives it power. HER LAST DEATH brings the reader into Sonnenberg's internal world, a tumultuous place where both a mother's love and her sanity are always in question. Sonnenberg doesn't flinch from the light when it comes to examining her own stumbles and weaknesses, and when an understanding of her troubled mother's psyche eludes her, as it often does, the author doesn't engage in conjecture or armchair psychoanalysis. Instead, she allows us to experience this inexplicable world with her, and in the end, we are left not so much with a sense of who her mysterious mother might have been, but rather whom the author has ultimately become. In the course of facing a difficult past and its ramifications for her future, Susanna Sonnenberg has shown herself to be an extremely talented writer, and I eagerly await more from her.

posted by Anonymous on September 26, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Take it or leave it.

This isn't the worst memoir I've ever read, but it's certainly not the highly acclaimed "best seller" it's being marketed as either..

I originally picked up this book because I not only love memoirs, and because I was intrigued by the parallels in my own life. My mot...
This isn't the worst memoir I've ever read, but it's certainly not the highly acclaimed "best seller" it's being marketed as either..

I originally picked up this book because I not only love memoirs, and because I was intrigued by the parallels in my own life. My mother is a pathological liar (has faked cancer and other illnesses), struggled with drug/alcohol abuse and was not only mentally but sometimes physically abusive with my siblings and I. I did find a lot of the parallels I was searching for, especially in the ways her sister reacted to the same upbringing..

However not even a fourth of the way into the book and I was starting to wonder who the liar really was.. The book was startlingly far fetched and just overall unbelievable. I had a very hard time believing most of these events really occurred and found myself waiting for the "trick" ending where the author would let on that she herself masterminded all of these lies and schemes. It seemed like a work of fiction to me, rather than a "memoir".

I will say however that the authors writing and style is uncanny! Truly well written, very great character development as well.

As a lot of other reviews said the book was very over the top inappropriate at times. I personally found that to be fitting of the story line. I can't fathom why anyone who is easily offended by "vulgar" language/sex/drug use would intentionally pick up a copy of a book that is about a negligent mother who is heavily into cocaine and promiscuous sex.

I found the book extremely slow going most of the time. The only thing that got me through at times is the fact that I hate to put a book down halfway through unless it's absolute garbage.

Overall "Her Last Death" has pros and cons which is why I chose to give it a "3 star" rating.

posted by SunnyMuffins on December 2, 2010

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    Take it or leave it.

    This isn't the worst memoir I've ever read, but it's certainly not the highly acclaimed "best seller" it's being marketed as either..

    I originally picked up this book because I not only love memoirs, and because I was intrigued by the parallels in my own life. My mother is a pathological liar (has faked cancer and other illnesses), struggled with drug/alcohol abuse and was not only mentally but sometimes physically abusive with my siblings and I. I did find a lot of the parallels I was searching for, especially in the ways her sister reacted to the same upbringing..

    However not even a fourth of the way into the book and I was starting to wonder who the liar really was.. The book was startlingly far fetched and just overall unbelievable. I had a very hard time believing most of these events really occurred and found myself waiting for the "trick" ending where the author would let on that she herself masterminded all of these lies and schemes. It seemed like a work of fiction to me, rather than a "memoir".

    I will say however that the authors writing and style is uncanny! Truly well written, very great character development as well.

    As a lot of other reviews said the book was very over the top inappropriate at times. I personally found that to be fitting of the story line. I can't fathom why anyone who is easily offended by "vulgar" language/sex/drug use would intentionally pick up a copy of a book that is about a negligent mother who is heavily into cocaine and promiscuous sex.

    I found the book extremely slow going most of the time. The only thing that got me through at times is the fact that I hate to put a book down halfway through unless it's absolute garbage.

    Overall "Her Last Death" has pros and cons which is why I chose to give it a "3 star" rating.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    different but touching

    i read this story because i felt, unfortunantely, i could relate. i think this tale is true & to the heart. i would recommend it to anyone who has had mother issues. and i don't mean mother issues in the "normal" sense. i mean mother issues, such as your mother sleeping with your boyfriend. or her offering you drugs & being disappointed if you say no.

    susanna's writing is something different though. at times there were incomplete sentences & thoughts. sometimes wondered why certain things were put into the story & found myself trying to ignore certain sentences because they made no sense.

    i was also disappointed that there wasn't a resolution in the end. there was no end to what happens with her sister or mother.

    all in all, it was a good read but not as good as i had expected.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Um no

    I had no idea this was a true story - YIKES - it's extremely hard to imagine any parent as horrible as this author's mother. Shocking. I can't imagine anything of value I learned from reading this book. I was simply curious as to why a child wouldn't want to visit her dying mother ....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2008

    Read if you are bored!

    This was entertaining at times, but I couldn't help thinking what did the mother do that was SO wrong? I mean, the mother is odd and made lots of mistakes, and isn't the mother I would want to be, but it wasn't THAT bad and the author just dwells on it all! It's like 'get over it!'

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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