The Imposter’s Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell

  • Paperback: 247 pages                       imposter's daughter
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books, July 30, 2010; Little Brown Books; Hachette Book Group.
  • (There’s a link on this page for Open Book, which allows you to read more than half of the book for free.)

The Imposter’s Daughter is not the type of story that you would expect when you pick up a graphic novel. It’s really a troubling account of a child who was the victim of her father’s emotional abuse and secrecy. She spent her adult life so far trying to get to the bottom of the enigma that was her father during her childhood. Just to name a few examples: he always checked the mail before anyone else and destroyed much of it, he divulged that he had changed his name in the past, he locked the children in their rooms from the outside, he changed jobs frequently, and phone calls came for different names that he said were for him. As the author got older, she caught her father using the family members’ private information to get multiple credit cards, which would usually be maxed out and in default. When confronted, her father would resist, deny, and make excuses. Her mother was completely “co-dependent” (in the author’s words).
This is the story of how the author struggled to deal with these issues while trying to make her own life. She struggled with relationships, her career, and self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse. The drugs and alcohol started innocuously with occasional glasses of wine and occasional sleeping pills. Imposter's daughter 2However, by the later parts of the book, her “habits” had grown to daily drinking and daily sleeping pills, even being taken at the same time — against the directions on the prescription that say not to drink with the medication.  She really bares her soul in this book, some of it embarrassing and self-effacing, which gave me more of a feeling that I could trust what she said about other people. I think this would be a good read for teenagers because it would benefit them to see that they have to make their own lives even if they come from a dysfunctional or abusive family. She also shows that it’s OK to get help dealing with these issues and moving past them. Not dealing with them can lead to problems with drug and alcohol abuse and repeating the patterns of their parents.

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