Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Clancys of Queens

The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy
Crown/Archetype: 10/11/16
advanced reader's edition; 256 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101903117

The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy is a recommended coming-of-age memoir.

The only daughter of divorced parents, Tara Clancy writes about her childhood spent in a variety of places. She bounced between her mother's apartment in Bellerose, Queens, her Italian grandmother's neighborhood, her police officer father’s very small Broad Channel home, and every other weekend at an estate in the Hamptons owned by her mother’s boyfriend. This is a non-linear account of her childhood - basically a set of stories that read much like a stand-up routine.

While I found the beginning of her story interesting, it sort of lost its flow and my interest about half way through. The humorous and self-deprecating presentation made up for some of the flaws. The memoir could have used more focus in the presentation. Perhaps including some facts to firmly set the time and place, while sharing what she remembered would have helped. As written, while the beginning was intriguing, once the narrative started to jump around, so did my attention. Clancy is funny though, which helped me continue to read and finish. I should point out that the synopsis doesn't quite fit the memoir.

It was clear early on that I had nothing in my background to help me relate to Clancy's childhood, and, sadly, she didn't offer any universal themes to help bridge that gap. In the end I felt like it would be much better suited for someone who grew up in Queens, who knew the area, and perhaps had an Italian grandmother. Her humor couldn't quite overcome all the flaws with the book.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author via Library Thing.

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