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Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Cori Crooks(Author)

    Book details


In Sweet Charlotte’s Seventh Mistake Cori Crooks records her search for identity among the things left behind by her delinquent family, her deceased, drug-addicted con-artist mother, and her missing biological father. Told through old photographs, diary entries, letters, and the results of a mail-order DNA test, Cori pieces together a profound scrapbook that begins as a paternity search and becomes a chronicle of her mother’s reckless life. A stunning visual memoir, Sweet Charlotte’s Seventh Mistake is an intimate look into one woman’s unconventional family history.

Savor Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake. Cori Crooks offers a quirky mediation on her mother's life and the search for her own paternity. Instead of a relating a straightforward narrative, Crooks assembles photos and letters, essays and memorabilia. Through them, she allows readers to glimpse a flawed, fascinating woman who had 15 names, seven husbands and seven children. The identity of Crooks' biological father, which might seem straightforward, becomes even more subtle and complex.

2.5 (12110)
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Book details

  • PDF | 208 pages
  • Cori Crooks(Author)
  • Seal Press; 1st edition (December 23, 2008)
  • English
  • 9
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By Sneaky Burrito on March 1, 2014

    This is a difficult book for me to review. I finished it a week ago and I find that I am still digesting everything. I guess I've just never experienced anything quite like this book before, so the conventional things I'd cover in a book review don't necessarily apply here."Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" is actually two related narratives that have been packaged together. The first is the story of the author's attempts to reconnect with a man who may have been her father, and to answer the question of her paternity once and for all (and yes, you do learn the truth at the end, but I won't spoil it for you). The second is the story of the author's own childhood -- of her half-siblings on her mother's side, of her mother's background and actions, and of how all of this affected the author's own life. Taken together, you have something part family history and part biography/autobiography. It's hard to categorize, really, and I'm struggling with my words here.It's my understanding that this book began as a blog (please correct me if I'm wrong!), and you can definitely see that influence. The book is heavy on visual elements (vintage photographs, scans of handwritten diary entries, background prints, etc.). It also has an episodic arrangement; every 2-4 pages, a new topic commences. And yet, the order was clearly well-planned. The sections that deal with the paternity/DNA test and the lead-up to it are arranged in a way that builds tension and interest -- I can tell a lot of thought went into it. And the other sections expand up what we know about Cori Crooks (the author) and her mother, little by little. At any rate, I thought the arrangement was quite good.The paragraphs are short and the font, spacing, and style of text tends to change (although a few styles seem to have been selected and different ones used for varying degrees of emphasis). However, this doesn't make it hard to read at all. Points are emphasized by placement on the page and text style, and a lot of information gets communicated with only a few words. I spent maybe an hour reading this book, maybe a little longer, but afterwards, I felt like I'd read a much longer book (and I mean that in a good way).There are some pretty raw sentiments expressed and personal events related in this book, but they add to the authenticity of it all (although some names have been changed for privacy purposes). I felt a little like a voyeur, peering into someone else's life, but I am grateful for the frankness with which Ms. Crooks handles the issues that faced her. I don't think the book would have worked without a high degree of honesty.I have not always appreciated experiments with traditional narrative structures, but I think that's because I haven't encountered very many good ones before. However, all the different elements of this book are pulled together well into a compelling story that also happens to have a great deal of visual appeal. Spend some time with this book -- but try to get ahold of it in color (i.e., not on a black and white e-reader screen) if you can. I'm glad I had a chance to read it!Review copy provided by the author.

  • By Patrick O'Neil on October 25, 2010

    ***I wrote a blurb for this book, for Cori Crooks, and for Seal Press. An excerpt ended up on the back cover. Recently I reread the book. And my opinion hasn't changed, Cori is an excellent writer and "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" is a beautiful work of art. Below is my original blurb/review in its entirety.Memories. What we know. What we think we know, and the reality of what actually occurred. Childhood memories. Those vague dream like senses of the past that haunt us forever and, whether we want to admit it or not, form the basis for most of the decisions we make throughout our lives. Adolescent memories: hormonal intensity, the loss of innocence, a hunger for more as we continue on into adulthood. And finally all those memories that creep into our thoughts as we look back on our lives and wonder how we made it this far and what the future holds. This is the material Cori Crooks explores in her debut mixed media art memoir Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake.With a beautiful and intense sense of intimacy Crooks' teenage angst voice tinged with the insecurity of a reminiscing adult takes the reader along for the ride as she shifts through her recollections of preconceived notions and allows us to share her sacred thoughts of the dead, as well as her fears of forgetting and being forgotten - who the hell am I if I'm not the daughter, the sister, the child of a mother who was never really honest about who she was. The product of a childhood of one more couch to sleep on, one more midnight move when the rent was overdue and eviction was certain. Another night of wondering whether her mom was coming home or was she once again on her own having to grow up quick. And now, after the dust settles and years have past there maybe a father, or maybe its just a jailhouse letter from some unknown person with the same name.A death notice, a yellowed newspaper obituary, tattered black and white photographs taped into a diary of uncertainties. This is compassionate voyeurism at its best. As Crooks unflinching exposes every one of her dark secrets for all to share as she searches not only for who her family is, but who she is as well. A truly inspiring and fresh approach to a tough coming of age story and must read for anyone, regardless of age.


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