Published by Picador on June 7, 2016
If you think it sucks to live with your parents when you're thirty-six and nine months pregnant, just wait til the DEA comes knocking (with the IRS in tow): Welcome to Victoria Fedden's life.
When a squad of federal agents burst through her parents’ front door, Victoria Fedden felt ill-prepared to meet them: She was weeks away from her due date and her T-shirt wasn’t long enough to hide her maternity undies. As for the question of how to raise a child when you’ve just discovered that your mother and stepfather have allegedly masterminded a pump-and-dump scheme? She was pretty sure that wasn’t covered in What to Expect When You’re Expecting—and she really hoped that Bradford Cohen, the noted criminal defense attorney who famously waived his exemption on The Apprentice, would prove them innocent.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life is the story of how Victoria lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind. No one ever said motherhood would be easy, but as she struggles to change diapers, install car seats, and find the right drop-off line at pre-school—no easy task, when each one is named for a stage in the lifecycle of a f*cking butterfly—she’s also forced to ask herself whether a jump-suit might actually complement her mom’s platinum-blonde extensions and fend off the cast of shady, stranger-than-fiction characters (like the recovering addict who scored a reality show when he started an escort service for women) who populated her parents’ world.
A real-life Arrested Development that could only unfold in southern Florida, This Is Not My Beautiful Life is a hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving memoir of a just-functional family you’ll never forget.
This book is touted as a hilarious, wacky story, but mostly I found it sad. Frankly, Victoria is surrounded by terrible people, with maybe the exception of her sister. And I don’t think they’re terrible because they are committing crimes, they are terrible all on their own. The best parts of the book are when she is talking about motherhood and her daughter, and my heart hurt as she suffered through post-partum depression with no help or realization that she could get help. The book does deliver on “wackiness”, but you really should only read it if you can handle reading about a bunch of narcissists without wanting to throw things.
- “With her parents paying for her extravagant lifestyle, it seemed as if Fedden was more sorry to be losing her things than what her family did to others, and she put her family before her marriage and then wondered why her husband was upset.” – 125 Pages