Tuesday, April 26, 2011

K.C. Lauer's 'Bad Girl Gone Mom' is not your average recovery memoir

K.C. Lauer opens Bad Girl Gone Mom, her memoir of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, with an author's note referencing James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. Lauer's harrowing and ultimately hopeful depiction of her earlier life may remind some of Frey's memoir, though Lauer attests she's done her best to fact-check where possible. Given the obstacles she's had to overcome, Lauer's memoir could be no one else's but her own.

Lauer was born with a cleft palate, a condition that wasn't discovered until after her parents left the hospital with her. Somehow her doctors wouldn't notice until Lauer's teen years that she was also born with vaginal agenesis, an underdeveloped vaginal canal. In Lauer's case, she had no vaginal opening. One had to be surgically created. Lauer writes poignantly of her sense of being a sexless being turned into an artificial woman, created expressly for the purpose of male pleasure. By the time she had her surgery at age 15, Lauer no longer considered herself a virgin; she and a boyfriend had been having interstitial intercourse without knowing any better. Still, she felt violated and offended at the thought of having to use a set of plastic vaginal dilators (dildos, essentially) until, as her doctors liked to put it, she got married.

She had already turned to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of being different. After Lauer's surgery, she added promiscuity to her list of self-destructive behaviors. I don't mean that to sound negative toward teenage sexuality in general. Some teens have sex because they enjoy it or because they fall in love, but Lauer wasn't one of them. She seemed to be out to prove to the world that she was a "real" woman in the only way she could figure out how to. This led her into destructive relationships, two bad marriages, sexual abuse and generally being used.

As one can guess from the title, Lauer got pregnant and had a daughter, despite the uterine complications that are sometimes associated with vaginal agenesis. Her transformation was slow and, at times, painful, but eventually she transitioned from recovering addict to responsible parent.

Lauer suggests this book be shared with teens who might be headed down the same self-destructive path. It's not what would typically be considered a "young adult" book. It contains explicit depictions of sexual acts, including acts in the context of a Dominant-submissive relationship. However, mature teens who struggle with drug use, alcohol addiction or abusive relationships may relate to Lauer and learn from her experience.

The best pull-out quote from Bad Girl Gone Mom is this one: "I already knew that I loved words, but I discovered that I loved words about sex even more."

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this e-book from the author in exchange for this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

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trainee writer said...

wow, makes me fell ashamed for moaning about day to day things in my easy life.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I really love reading memoirs, so I will be adding this one to my list!