My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance
Book: My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance , by Maria Flook, ISBN10: 0767903153, ISBN13: 9780767903158, Crown Publishing Group, January 1999, Paperback
Maria Flook is the author of two novels, Open Water and Family Night (which received a PEN American/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Special Citation), and a collection of short stories, You Have the Wrong Man. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Pushcart Prize for fiction, she teaches in the graduate writing seminars at Bennington College.
When Maria Flook's fourteen-year-old sister Karen disappeared from their suburban home, the author was changed forever. My Sister Life maps the story of two castaways from American suburbia who, while apart from each other, live mysteriously parallel lives.
With unrelenting realism and beguiling wit, Flook gives us an intimate account of her sister's life as a child prostitute, and of their coming of age in the 1960sthat surreal and wrenching moment of baby-boomer disenfranchisement, when the sexual revolution collided with the domestic fallout from the Vietnam War. From the ocean liners and Paris vacations of their refined upbringing to the gritty peepshows and adult theaters where they find jobs, the girls flee from a beautiful and tormented matriarch with secrets of her own.
Her missing sister becomes Flook's secret heroinethe sole example to follow in her journey into womanhood. The sisters live in trailer parks. They are faced with sexual assault, car thefts, and petty crimes with unpredictable men. Escaping from an abusive Vietnam vet, Karen takes her toddler to join her sister, who is herself raising a baby on her own; it is the first time they are under the same roof since their childhood. Their unorthodox reunion allows the sisters to forge a life-saving bond.
My Sister Life moves beyond biography or memoir to give us an astonishing vision of an American familyan authentic testimony to the defiant, undaunted faith between two sisters who connect after years apart.
[The memoir] traces the trajectory of Karen's disappearance and the fallout of her actions on Maria. The New York Times Book Review
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