Irish American Writers & Artists

September 19, 2011

Donna Lethal’s Milk of Amnesia an Irish-American Memoir

Filed under: Essay,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:21 am
Tags: , , , ,

Award-winning author Donna Lethal’s first book, Milk of Amnesia, is her account of a childhood and adolescence marked by punishing instability and an underlying sense of dread. Lethal’s presentation of her fractured unpredictable family and life in 1960’s-70s Lowell, Massachusetts draws the reader completely into a bizarre realm where tenderness and affection are only implied yet menace and fear are overwhelmingly inescapable.

Presented as a kaleidoscopic series of brief, hit and run episodes with a structure that alternately leaps forward and slips back through Lethal’s dreamlike chronology, Milk of Amnesia is at its core a study of the lower middle class Irish Catholic experience.

“A high impact safari through some of the most bizarre, troubling territory you’ve never before imagined”–LA Weekly

“I am amazed, after reading these tales of her childhood in a Boston Irish-Catholic version of a John Waters movie, that she grew up as sane and funny and non-crazy as she has … This is addictive, obsessive reading.”

–Eve Golden (Platinum Girl, Vamp)

“Visit Kerouac’s grave and share a few smokes with Donna, the only punk rocker at Lowell High School in the early ’80s. Her ex-nun mom, bookie-bartender dad, and bank-robber brother fill out the family in this intense memoir with tales that take turns with the comic and the tragic.”

–Doug Simmons (Subway News editor; columnist, Boston Phoenix

Massachusetts-born Donna Lethal divides her time between Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert with her 90-pound pit bull.

Milk of Amnesia

Milk of Amnesia By Donna Lethal, Introduction by Chris D, 133 pages, published by New Texture Books. 

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