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Short Synopsis
With clear-eyed grace, refreshing honesty, and flashing wit, Wendy Lawless tells the true story of her unhinged upbringing—a disjointed fairy tale of a childhood in chaos.

Full Synopsis
By the time Wendy Lawless turned seventeen, she'd known for quite some time that she didn't have a normal mother. But that didn't stop her from wanting one . . .

Georgann Rea didn't bake cookies or go to PTA meetings; she wore a mink coat and always had a lit Dunhill plugged into her cigarette holder. She went through men like Kleenex, and didn't like dogs or children. Georgann had the ice queen beauty of a Hitchcock heroine and the cold heart to match.

Wendy Lawless deftly charts the highs and lows of growing up with her younger sister in the shadow of an unstable, fabulously neglectful mother. Georgann, a real-life Holly Golightly who constantly reinvents herself as she trades up from trailer park to penthouse, suffers multiple nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts while Wendy tries to hide the cracks in their fractured family from the rest of the world.

Chanel Bonfire depicts a childhood blazed through the refined aeries of the Dakota and the swinging town houses of London, while the girls' beautiful but damned mother desperately searches for glamour and fulfillment. Ultimately, Wendy and her sister must choose between living their own lives and being their mother's warden—the hardest, most painful, yet most important decision each of them will ever make.

"I found myself, still find myself, thinking about Wendy and her experiences with a woman that you struggle to call Mom. An excellent read. Thank you Wendy for sharing your story." ---Literary Hoarders

"Frequently entertaining chronicle of a daughter's sad, detached upbringing---but this story's all about the mother." ---Kirkus

"I was blown away by Wendy's ability to tell the story of such an emotional, troubled upbringing with such heart, love, and oftentimes, humor. If she isn't bitter, maybe none of us have the right to be. I found her story riveting." ---Sarah Colonna, author of Life as I Blow It

"This miracle of a memoir is completely free from self-pity, and it's surprisingly suspenseful." ---BookPage
Bookpage Bestseller

New York Times Bestseller

Chanel Bonfire

Author Wendy Lawless

Narrated by Wendy Lawless

Publication date Feb 25, 2013

Running time 7 hrs

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