As the oldest daughter of a Hollywood motion picture writer and a mother who struggled with alcoholism, Susan Wise O'Hearn writes with candor and insight about her youth, family history, and Protestant and Jewish heritage. Family notables include a songwriter uncle and a great-grandfather who amassed a fortune in the New York tobacco distribution business-money that helped a grandson start Random House Books. Stories of humor, resilience, and adventures shared with a younger sister soften the shadow cast by her parents' volatile marriage. A look back at childhood friends, homes, and neighborhoods presents a snapshot of a young girl living a not-so-ordinary life.
Growing Up Wise is a remarkable memoir that captures the essence of coming of age in Los Angeles during the 1940s and 1950s.