Book Review: My Sister from the Black Lagoon by Laurie Fox

Like A Long Way Down, I got this at a book sale. The cover looked interesting so I thought I would read it. At first I wasn’t going to get it because I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but then I figured, Hey, I get a great deal at this booksale, so I might as well make the most of it. So I got it.

Little did I know that when I sat down to read this book, I would pore through it faster than I expected. It is an semi-autobigraphical novel about a young Jewish woman named Lorna Persons who lives with her parents and older sister, Lonnie, in the San Fernando Valley of California. Lorna’s family has a history with mental illness, and Lonnie herself has mental health issues. Lorna describes the day to day life she experienced with her sister and how she, along with her parents, struggled to provide support to Lonnie. Lorna grows up and finds love, gets her heart broken, then finds love again, but while this is happening she is thinking about her relationship with Lonnie and how it is going to evolve when they get older. The novel is of the coming of age genre, which is what attracted me to it because I love coming-of-age films and movies. Even though Lorna and I live different lives, I found my teenage self embodied in Lorna to some degree, namely because both of us find solace in the arts as well as our empathic personalities. Lorna’s father works in television, and so she goes to Hollywood a lot as a kid, and eventually she goes to theatre school and finds herself escaping her problems at home by throwing herself into her work as a theatre student. I also find solace in the arts, even though I don’t act and instead play a musical instrument. Although I definitely love me some theatre.

This review is short because I can’t really speak much myself about the author’s life or what inspired her to write this book, and my struggles with mental health were my own, just like Lonnie’s struggles with mental health were her own. It did kind of resonate with me though because I remember how hard my struggles with mental health were for my family. Really good book.

My Sister from the Black Lagoon: A Novel of My Life. Laurie Fox. 1998. 334 pp.

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