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From “one of the great American writers of our time” (Los Angeles Times Book Review): a raw, explicit memoir as high-intensity and riveting as any of his novels. The year was 1958. James Ellroy was ten years old. His mother, Jean Hilliker, had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband. She gave her son a choice: live with his father or her. He chose his father, and Jean—“half From “one of the great American writers of our time” (Los Angeles Times Book Review): a raw, explicit memoir as high-intensity and riveting as any of his novels. The year was 1958. James Ellroy was ten years old. His mother, Jean Hilliker, had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband. She gave her son a choice: live with his father or her. He chose his father, and Jean—“half gassed”—attacked him. He wished her dead. Three months later, she was murdered. Ellroy writes, “I owe her for every true thing that I am. I must remove the malediction I have placed on her and on myself,” and in The Hilliker Curse, he narrates his quest for “atonement in women.” He unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, a nervous breakdown and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her. It is a layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest. And all of it is reported with gut-wrenching and heart-rending candor. A brilliant and soul-baring revelation of self—and unlike any memoir you have ever read.


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From “one of the great American writers of our time” (Los Angeles Times Book Review): a raw, explicit memoir as high-intensity and riveting as any of his novels. The year was 1958. James Ellroy was ten years old. His mother, Jean Hilliker, had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband. She gave her son a choice: live with his father or her. He chose his father, and Jean—“half From “one of the great American writers of our time” (Los Angeles Times Book Review): a raw, explicit memoir as high-intensity and riveting as any of his novels. The year was 1958. James Ellroy was ten years old. His mother, Jean Hilliker, had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband. She gave her son a choice: live with his father or her. He chose his father, and Jean—“half gassed”—attacked him. He wished her dead. Three months later, she was murdered. Ellroy writes, “I owe her for every true thing that I am. I must remove the malediction I have placed on her and on myself,” and in The Hilliker Curse, he narrates his quest for “atonement in women.” He unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, a nervous breakdown and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her. It is a layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest. And all of it is reported with gut-wrenching and heart-rending candor. A brilliant and soul-baring revelation of self—and unlike any memoir you have ever read.

30 review for The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    brian

    1. once again i'll post the greatest picture in the history of all pictures. myself. ellroy. manny. 2. the general busyness of my life these days doesn't allow much time to write book reports -- a shame because it's a terrific way to blow off steam. instead i drink. at kowalski's recommendation, i moved from bourbon on the rocks to gin & club soda. and it was a good move, a more appropriate summer drink. but i'm still wrecking my liver, prematurely aging, and require a quick mid-day nap to fight 1. once again i'll post the greatest picture in the history of all pictures. myself. ellroy. manny. 2. the general busyness of my life these days doesn't allow much time to write book reports -- a shame because it's a terrific way to blow off steam. instead i drink. at kowalski's recommendation, i moved from bourbon on the rocks to gin & club soda. and it was a good move, a more appropriate summer drink. but i'm still wrecking my liver, prematurely aging, and require a quick mid-day nap to fight off the hangover i powered through at 6 am so as to give the dog a good hike. so forgive a lack of rigor or relevance. i'm out of practice, hungover, busy, and, of course, i begin with a picture, an apology, and a digression -- not too good, eh? 3. after having worked in a bookstore for 6 years i'm sick to death of author readings. the affected inflection of most public readers is the equivalent of a testicular hangnail. and i have trouble following stories read aloud. i prefer the solitariness and subjectivity of the reading experience. but my friend tyson puts together this thing over at largo for select authors to cut through the bullshit and talk about stuff they really wanna talk about. and i wouldn't miss ellroy for the world. nobody gives public speak like ellroy. i crashed the green room and caught ellroy outside the john trying to work up a precautionary pee before his reading. an excerpt from our conversation: me: aren't you ever worried about litigation with writing such crazy shit about real life figures? ellroy: who're you talking about? me: um... the kennedys? ellroy: ha. if the kennedys sued everyone who slandered or libeled them they'd be in court 24 hrs a day. and then they couldn't be out on the street raping and killing women. amaaaaazing. for some reason tyson had this woman called laura kightlinger do a comedy set before ellroy went on -- she was mid-act talking about spitting on this guy's dick while giving him a handjob and ellroy rushes the stage: "get off! i don't want to hear this crap before i read!" ellroy screams into the wings: "tyson, get her out of here! what is this shit?" kightlinger was booted off stage. it was incredibly tense and awkward and NOT planned and just totally terrific. the reading opened with a woman standing beside a bust of beethoven speaking these words: "Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps. Here is James Ellroy, the demon dog, the foul owl with the death growl, the white knight of the far right, and the slick trick with the donkey dick. He's the author of 18 books, masterpieces all; they precede all his future masterpieces. These books will leave you reamed, steamed and drycleaned, tie-dyed, swept to the side, true-blued, tattooed and bah fongooed. These are books for the whole fuckin' family, if the name of your family is the Manson Family." 4. but the hilliker curse: dare i say i find it unnecessary? many many times has ellroy declared much of my dark places disingenuous. many many times have i thought: "i don't care." ellroy's additions addenda palimpsests corrections etc may be more honest and in line with what he is feeling now (or even, perhaps, how he was feeling then), but that's irrelevant to the book reading experience, irrelevant to the book as a freestanding work of art. now for those who found james frey to be worse than criminal, for those who feel that memoir is more a collection of fact than a work of art, you might welcome a my dark places redux. i say 'fuck all that' -- to flip into donald powellian hyperbole, my dark places is an anguished howl into the abyss, a swirling maelstrom of dementia plunging the darkest depths of a plagued soul. ahem. anyway. it really is all that. and it's glorious. and 'fact' or 'fiction' doesn't change a damn thing. the more reasonable ellroy still writes as if a demondog was gnawing its way up into his asshole -- but he writes more with the clarity and conviction of the recently dried-out alcoholic than with the bravado of a drunk-on-rotgut carny barker. and i like my ellroy how i like my coffee. 5. the bullet points are for jon bruenning. smooches.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    Ellroy, I love your books, but I’m getting a little tired of hearing about your masturbation fantasies. *sigh* OK, let’s take it from the top. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the biography of James Ellroy: James Ellroy was 10 in 1958 when his mother was raped and murdered. The case was never solved. His parents had been divorced, and he went to live with his father, a lazy two-bit hustler in L.A. Young James was socially awkward, had an overheated imagination and a child’s belief that he may ha Ellroy, I love your books, but I’m getting a little tired of hearing about your masturbation fantasies. *sigh* OK, let’s take it from the top. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the biography of James Ellroy: James Ellroy was 10 in 1958 when his mother was raped and murdered. The case was never solved. His parents had been divorced, and he went to live with his father, a lazy two-bit hustler in L.A. Young James was socially awkward, had an overheated imagination and a child’s belief that he may have caused his mother’s death by wishing her dead shortly before she was actually killed. With unacknowledged feelings for his mother shoved into the back of his mind, James’ intense obsessive personality and story telling nature along with a complete lack of parental guidance from his father led him to live inside his own head. He was obsessed with women and concocted elaborate fantasies about anyone he’d see. He loved crime stories and created scenarios where he was the hero who would ’save’ a woman. His father died. He become a drunk and drug user, sometimes homeless, who peeped women, and broke into houses to engage in petty theft and panty sniffing. Eventually, a full-blown mental meltdown and physical collapse scared Ellroy off booze and drugs. He worked menial jobs at golf courses and started writing. He got published. He grew as a writer and wrote The Black Dahlia. He admits that he shamelessly exploited his mother’s death for book publicity. That book became part of something larger, his L.A. Quartet of crime novels. (Also containing L.A. Confidential.) He started rewriting U.S. history as an untold crime story in American Tabloid. He married a woman named Helen Knode who encouraged him to finally acknowledge his issues with his mother. Ellroy hired a retired L.A. homicide detective and the two examined his mother’s murder. He tied that into his own history and wrote it up as My Dark Places, claiming that he was finally owning up to his debt to his mother. He and his wife moved to Kansas City just as the critical success of the film version of L.A. Confidential, and the raves for American Tabloid and My Dark Places brought him to the peak of his commercial and artistic success to date. Ellroy claimed he’d finally put his past to bed, he was moving on to bigger and better novels, he loved his wife, he loved his new home in K.C. and he’d finally achieved the peace and stability he’d always needed. Bullshit. I was here in K.C. during that period right after the release of My Dark Places and got to meet him a couple of times at some events. I even got my own little Q&A session with him for about fifteen minutes once. He gave every indication of being a guy who had survived a pretty ugly past, and was ready to move on. And apparently, it was all lies. Actually, that’s not right. Ellroy wasn’t lying exactly. It’s just that he’s obsessive about needing a narrative. He’s a writer. He needed a story to fit the very public figure he’d become. So he gave us one and sold himself on it, too. What Ellroy reveals in The Hilliker Curse is that he’s never gotten over his whole mad obsession with finding Her. The woman he’s been fantasizing about since his mother got killed. He’s been looking for her since he was a pimply faced teen running wild in L.A., fueled by booze, drugs and crime fantasies. It eventually made him a great writer. It’s also made for a pretty fucked up life. It’s led him to countless obsessions, two divorces, adultery, and another full-blown mental crack-up in the early 2000s. Ellroy’s self-admitted problem is that he often prefers to sit in a dark room fantasizing about Her, rather than dealing with real life with an actual woman. He knows he’s messed up. He claims he’s still on friendly terms with his last ex-wife and another woman that he had an affair with, and that they help keep him somewhat honest. But now he says that he has finally found The One. His long epic journey has at last led him the woman he’s always been seeking. If I didn’t know about Ellroy, if I hadn’t met the man and listened to his previous story first-hand and bought it completely, then I’d probably believe him. The key thing to remember is that he is an admitted opportunist and relentless self-promoter. When Black Dahlia released, he claimed that it was his final tribute to his mother. But when My Dark Places released, Ellroy said that what he’d said earlier was bullshit, and that he’d finally honestly examined his relationship to her and dealt with it there. And here we are 14 years later, and once again, Ellroy is telling us that wasn’t true either. Here’s the REAL story. And he’s so damn good that you can almost believe it. Again, I don’t think he’s lying. I think he’s narrating. As an Ellroy fan, I enjoyed the book. It’s written in his trademark high-octane, ADD style. His behind the scenes account of his career explains why The Cold Six Thousand was unsatisfying, and how his breakdown and financial problems led to a decade of non-fiction, short stories and his involvement with bad movies. He appears to be back on track with the release of Blood’s A Rover last year and I’d like to believe that this new woman will finally lead him to happiness and lots of new novels. But I feel like Charlie Brown running full tilt at the football just before Lucy yanks it away. I’m not falling for it again. I’m a fan of James Ellroy, I’m not his friend. I root for him to do well and want great books from him. In exchange, I’ll buy his work and spread the gospel. I’d like for him to be happy, but after reading two autobiographies by him, I’m doubting it’s possible. Maybe he’s doomed to just sit in dark rooms and love his women via rich fantasies. If he needs to justify and rewrite his history to live with himself, that’s fine. We all do it to some extent. I just wish he’d use his talent in that area to write some new books instead of trying to convince us that this time he really, really, REALLY is telling us the true story. 4 stars for a terrifically well-written book and getting some idea of what happened during the last ten years his career. 2 stars for expecting us to believe him this time. So I’ll average it out and call it 3 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    James Ellroy’s The Hilliker Curse crossbreeds the author’s harsh, weathered style with confessional self-loathing and fragile redemption. I visualize him in a tiny cell whispering the text through a screen to a priest. If you’ve read Ellroy, (and if you haven’t read Ellroy don’t start with this one because you won’t get most of the literary and personal history references) especially My Dark Places, you might over the first ten pages think he’s cashing in with a quick and easy retread of his sord James Ellroy’s The Hilliker Curse crossbreeds the author’s harsh, weathered style with confessional self-loathing and fragile redemption. I visualize him in a tiny cell whispering the text through a screen to a priest. If you’ve read Ellroy, (and if you haven’t read Ellroy don’t start with this one because you won’t get most of the literary and personal history references) especially My Dark Places, you might over the first ten pages think he’s cashing in with a quick and easy retread of his sordid past. Yes, his mom died when he was young, he likes classical music, and he broke into unattainable girls’ houses. Darth Vader is also Luke’s father. So what? A little further into the book Ellroy’s purpose, to “write his way to the truth”, becomes clear. The Hilliker Curse is memoir as therapy. He’s going to drag himself through the pus and feculence of his relationship history and hope he comes out healthier on the other side. Facets of Ellroy’s personality that might make fans or potential readers uncomfortable are on full display. He admires Ronald Reagan, believes in God, and includes the time his wife’s family heard him jacking off upstairs. Ellroy owns his manipulative skills. He dares readers, as he dares women, to leave him at the same time he’s trying to draw them in. The reader and woman are loosely analogous, but while the former is an outlet for his obsessive and maniacal literary discipline the latter are saviors and redeemers. While Ellroy is most comfortable in dark rooms listening to Beethoven, he’s yearning for “Her’, the woman who will take his hand and lead him to salvation. As a child he reads, in a book about witchcraft and curses, the phrase “Your interior world will give you what you want and what you need to survive” and spends the rest of his life reconciling that approach to living with his loneliness and the outside world. He submerses into full-on mental illness while concurrently gaining a nearly unparalleled meld of literary praise and devoted readership. He’s loaded. But the questions of whether or not Ellroy will ever be calm, sleep consistently, and socially function are still open. I wish the man well but I wouldn’t bet on a linear progression to mental health. I doubt he would, either. I started The Hilliker Curse shrugging my shoulders as to the purpose behind the short book’s existence. After I finished (this morning at 3AM, couldn’t sleep myself) I think I get why this book is important to Ellroy. He’s the one who has to live with himself, when no one else is around, the bookstore crowds gone, the flotsam of his own dramatized history floating through the room. Maybe The Hilliker Curse helped him find peace. I felt tired but satisfied reading the last page. I can’t imagine how he felt writing it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "The word MORE summarized my private agenda. It was sexual compulsion fueled by a terror of human contact and the forfeit of mental control. I could brood, peep, stalk, think and self-narrate. I could not act." - James Ellroy, The Hilliker Curse Probably 3.5 stars. It is funky, narcissistic, bizarre, transgressive, beautiful and brutal. It is Oedipus chasing the memory of his dead mother in the faces and windows of random women. It isn't a book I'd recommend to my wife or my mother, but it was fas "The word MORE summarized my private agenda. It was sexual compulsion fueled by a terror of human contact and the forfeit of mental control. I could brood, peep, stalk, think and self-narrate. I could not act." - James Ellroy, The Hilliker Curse Probably 3.5 stars. It is funky, narcissistic, bizarre, transgressive, beautiful and brutal. It is Oedipus chasing the memory of his dead mother in the faces and windows of random women. It isn't a book I'd recommend to my wife or my mother, but it was fascinating and really did carry a certain amount of redemption and hope. Ellroy is one of the handful of living writers I actually give a damn about meeting some day. I'd certainly not want my daughter or wife or mother to meet him, however. Many writers who I adore I have no drive or motivation to meet. None. Ellroy is an artist I want to road trip with. His voice, his openness both resonate strongly with me. I really think Ellroy is one of the handful of genre writers (King, le Carré, etc) that will be read in 300+ years. So, I guess this book will be a bit of a help for future PhD writers in further dissecting Ellroy's novels. He is both a dark room and an open book. He captures something about the 20th century and himself in every book he writes and seems to leave blood, sweat, and semen on every page. There is something beautiful about the scar that is left when a scab is picked away. Some of the lines from this very exhibitionist memoir hit me hard and left a mark: 1. "The absence of a narrative line left me weightless. I didn't know what it meant then. I'll ascribe meaning now." 2. "I always get what I want. It comes slow or fast and always costs a great deal." 3. "My always-present self-absorption veered to vacancy." 4. "Opportunists ruthlessly cling to emergent imagery and people." 5. "I was having it both ways. I was mending fences I intended to jump." Anyway, I've written more tonight than I wanted or intended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    This novel The Hilliker curse has alot to do with his association and his obsession with women.. One clear assumption from reading his words is he loves to brood and a bit too much. He's a one of a kind character, recently I watched an interview of his on video here and here it was outrageous. This gave me the need to start reading from this gifted writer, the Black Dahlia is the only novel I have read of his to date and have many of his novels on the shelf who's spines need breaking. Since h This novel The Hilliker curse has alot to do with his association and his obsession with women.. One clear assumption from reading his words is he loves to brood and a bit too much. He's a one of a kind character, recently I watched an interview of his on video here and here it was outrageous. This gave me the need to start reading from this gifted writer, the Black Dahlia is the only novel I have read of his to date and have many of his novels on the shelf who's spines need breaking. Since his mother's murder in his youth he has been trying to understand women and sometimes in the most unconventional ways.   I wonder if when he was nine years old the incident with the 17 or 18 German immigrant babysitter had a more dark effect on his character.  His marriage to Helen tamed his one nighters and obsession with women. He writes at length of his happiness with her and i did hope for it to last, as it seemed to really contribute to his successful flood of novels. Due to what he calls the Hilliker Curse ot didn't and he meet Joan and divorced. He had two divorces and finally settled with Erika who was married. It seems she's the one, a he closes the book attesting to this. Thank god, he's had a ruff ride and needs to quite brooding. Ellroy seems a man of unique character and presence and a gifted genius in writing. I have not read enough of his novels to be quoted on stating of his genius but sense it. He writes with humour and gives you a snippet into an Ellrovian  life. This video gives you a taster of the one and only Ellroy. All hail James Ellroy a Legend. He talks of his Beethovian mood swings and general love of Beethoven When he talks of his teenager years he mentions this. "I taped pictures of Beethoven over my bed and pondered our genius. He composed his greatest music for his 'Immortal  Beloved.'Her identity remained as mysterious as The Other for me. Beethoven understood my deep loneliness and sorrow. His deafness inspired visionary thoughts unknown to mortal men. My deafness was voluntary. Beethoven dug that. I often played the adagio of the Hammerklavier Sonata before I went peeping. Beethoven approved more than condemned the practise." "My dad died in '65. I got kicked out of high school and psych- discharged from three months in the army. I held down minimum- wage jobs and flopped in dive hotels and parks. I smoke weed and scored uppers from dubious physicians. I shoplifted and full time fantasied. I kept a bust of Beethoven stashed in a bush at Burns Park. I did lightweight jolts in the L.A County jail system. I was too thin and was developing a chronic cough.  Booze and dope regulated my fantasy life. The theme had only intensified. I remained consumed by women. It was pushing me toward insanity and death."   "I masturbated myself bloody. I brain-screened faces for stern beauty and probity. The dope drizzled put of my system. I drank myself comatose and woke up in random shrubbery and jails. I never questioned the validity of my mission. I never questioned my sanity or the religious mess of my quest. I did not subscribe to the notion of the American 1960s as the sine qua non of all behaviours in extremis. I was tracing the arc of the Hilliker Curse. I wanted One Woman or All Women to be her. The horribly looming price of insanity or death in no way deterred me." He talks about his first book. "My new hero was a womanising cop. He had predatory instincts and my seeker's rationale." " The sex- fiend cop became a hardback trilogy. The feminist poet was supplanted by a brainy call girl and the cop's resurrected ex- wife. The woman-with-a-cello book stayed in print. Ditto the my-mom-got-whacked-and-I'm-in-flight epic." "I wanted an unnamed woman. It was the inextinguishable flame or my life. I wanted to write a specific woman's story. I knew her name: Elizabeth Short.       The Black Dahlia." "American Tabloid was the private nightmare of public policy. The infrastructure was power grab in place of love as redemption. Women veered through the book in subordinate roles. This was emblematic of the early '60s. I wanted to write an all- new kind of novel and incinerate my ties in L.A. The former was laudable, the latter was not. L.A. made me. Jean Hilliker was killed there. I met Helen Knode a block from where I was born. The book was almost finished. Helen kept saying, you're working too hard." Other than the video in the links above there are these also JAMES ELLROY INTERVIEW WITH MIRANDA SAWYER (BBC 2 THE CULTURE SHOW 2009) James Ellroy speaks

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Somerhalder

    I really liked this book, despite really, intensely disliking Ellroy. It would have won a fourth star, but the concluding few chapters were supremely irritating. As a summary, he seems to abandon his exploration of self, and instead try and convince his readers (and himself?) that this latest woman is the ONE. Sigh. Maybe she is. I doubt it. Either way, shame.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Hard on the heels of my reading of My Dark Places comes this, a second exploration of the role of women in author James Ellroy's life. You probably won't want to read it if you're sick of jacking-off-and-peeping stories. Because - though they're not as explicitly described as elsewhere - they're here. That and darkened-room fantasising. The short book reeks of control; of others, of self, and the lack thereof. Ideally, this should be read in concert with My Dark Places. That book explains the im Hard on the heels of my reading of My Dark Places comes this, a second exploration of the role of women in author James Ellroy's life. You probably won't want to read it if you're sick of jacking-off-and-peeping stories. Because - though they're not as explicitly described as elsewhere - they're here. That and darkened-room fantasising. The short book reeks of control; of others, of self, and the lack thereof. Ideally, this should be read in concert with My Dark Places. That book explains the importance of the murder of Ellroy's mother, and its effect on his life. The Hilliker Curse moves past the mechanics of the death and into how his relationships with women have played out over the years. True, his mother is looming, forever, but this installment looks at how her shadow touches her son's interactions with women. (Protip: they generally don't end well.) The author is candid, though. He recounts destructions wrought by his own shitty behaviour with unflinching honesty. There's a sense of regret and of fear - particularly when discussing panic attacks while on tour. It's a portrait - much more than in My Dark Places - of collapse, where that book is a recitation of focus and construction. This is a guy with money, success, and a collapsing life. Yet he never plays the sympathy card, and his masochism is never presented as admirable. It just is. One part which interested was the role Beethoven plays in Ellroy's life. It could be vanity, equating oneself with one of the Greatest Artists (and Arseholes) Who Ever Lived, but I think here it's a whole kindred-spirit thing. Beethoven had his 'Immortal Beloved' and Ellroy has his fantasy women: all separate, yet all curiously interchangeable. I like the image of the two men being arseholes together, a brotherhood of bastards. I wonder if Ellroy's planning another volume of autobiographical work? This one was a pleasant surprise, given the gruelling nature of My Dark Places, and it'd be interesting to see whether the LOVE LOVE LOVE notes of the newish relationship at the end of the book hold out, or whether it's back to dark rooms and self-abuse. Either way, it'd be entertaining and horrifying in equal measure.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    I have decided that I enjoy Ellroy's non-fiction even more than I love his fiction. I have read his fiction for years and enjoyed it and certainly known that Ellroy peppers his fiction with real people who have made an impression on him through the years. I have to say I love most everything about him--he's a walking contradiction (something I understand well)--right wing, vulgar, self aware, cynical, romantic, too crazy to be sane and too sane to be crazy. And a man who writes about the murder I have decided that I enjoy Ellroy's non-fiction even more than I love his fiction. I have read his fiction for years and enjoyed it and certainly known that Ellroy peppers his fiction with real people who have made an impression on him through the years. I have to say I love most everything about him--he's a walking contradiction (something I understand well)--right wing, vulgar, self aware, cynical, romantic, too crazy to be sane and too sane to be crazy. And a man who writes about the murder of women fairly often but truly loves females. This book is probably one of my favorites--as always Ellroy is brutally honest and truly poetic --though not the traditional "romantic", his love and adoration of the women in his orbit is truly something to behold--No matter how things end, he manages to take away something beautiful and lasting from each relationship. He honors each woman for the changes she has made in him and vice versa---and miracle of miracles he sounds pretty happy by the end of the book---not something I think of with Ellroy--he's had many triumphs but his life seems so mired in sadness sometimes (despite his lack of open sentimentality about it) that I always wish him a happy ending. I love that he manages to still love and hold sacred the things he loved about certain women in his life without the relationship continuing--unlike so many people who casually "love" and then deny the effect that person has had on their life. It's something I have always done but only once had given in return (and that is why you are my best friend, Bob...<3. So I know it takes strength of character and a true and deep affection and respect. The prose is snappy and full of jive as always and obviously the book was a quick read despite it's depth--great for fans of Ellroy---you big freaks, you! :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    What a weird, mesmerizing headlong kiss-and-tell memoir. I'm a huge Ellroy fan, there was no way I was going to miss this one. I just wish he'd slow up a little. I feel as if I'm on a high-speed bus tour of Paris, and someone's pointing out the major sights as we whiz by them. Would like to get out and walk around a bit, buy a kir and sit at a sidewalk cafe, drink in the scene. But fascinating to read what was going on in this man's life as he was writing the books. Although sometimes the voice What a weird, mesmerizing headlong kiss-and-tell memoir. I'm a huge Ellroy fan, there was no way I was going to miss this one. I just wish he'd slow up a little. I feel as if I'm on a high-speed bus tour of Paris, and someone's pointing out the major sights as we whiz by them. Would like to get out and walk around a bit, buy a kir and sit at a sidewalk cafe, drink in the scene. But fascinating to read what was going on in this man's life as he was writing the books. Although sometimes the voice of the older Ellroy dismissing the younger Ellroy makes me imagine the older OLDER Ellroy giving this one the same crit. I'm fascinated nevertheless in this quite self-consciously shaped self-exposure, the turning of a very human self into high mythology. Worth reading just for the private fantasies about Anne Sophie Von Otter, the mezzo-soprano!! ******************** What a strange book. I don't even know what to think about it. More of a poem than a memoir. The sound of it, the tone. I'm glad he found the great love of his life but it doesn't seem to have alleviated the obsessionality, just helped him find a focus for it which I hope might deepen into a more human type of love. Jeesh, I don't wish that kind of grinding obession on anyone--though the books it fuels are pretty fantastic. so glad I read it, but... whew.

  10. 5 out of 5

    RLL

    Scope it out in 3D, hepcats. Dig those crazy goggles. Hit Amazon and buy yourself a pair of X-Ray Spex. Then scoot off out of Normaltown and rent, beg, borrow, steal or even buy a copy of Ellroy's first memoir: My Dark Places. Check out my alliteratively amped review of that torrid tome here on this site. In this memoir, Ellroy describes his first memoir as self-serving. That goes treble-quadruple for this book. Yes, he rehashes the history in potted form... Underwear-sniffing peeper and prowler. H Scope it out in 3D, hepcats. Dig those crazy goggles. Hit Amazon and buy yourself a pair of X-Ray Spex. Then scoot off out of Normaltown and rent, beg, borrow, steal or even buy a copy of Ellroy's first memoir: My Dark Places. Check out my alliteratively amped review of that torrid tome here on this site. In this memoir, Ellroy describes his first memoir as self-serving. That goes treble-quadruple for this book. Yes, he rehashes the history in potted form... Underwear-sniffing peeper and prowler. His M.O. was simple back in those Jurassic days. Scarf the phone number from the book. Hit the nearest public phone. Dial in. No one home? Pop the latch, prowl the pad, and snatch panties. We get a little more of his murdered mother Geneva in this book. Not much. And that's the thing. This woman, her life, her death, these items... Define Ellroy's relationships with women. This book covers most of his marriages, dalliances with other women, and his career. His first wife makes it out of the book alive. We don't hear much about her. Snapshot of a life lived weird. Beethoven features in a major way. We get more on ex-wife Helen Knode, as expected. Ellroy's crack-up, divorces, longings, lusts, libidinous musings... That's what we drool through here. In anyone else's hands, this would make for a one-star reading experience. I've given the book three stars because Ellroy raises the piece above that level. Go and read his self-serving memoir, My Dark Places, before you read this. If you aren't all that into the guy, read that book instead of this one. His pursuit of cellists made me think Ellroy would've made a loopy serial killer. You may think the same before getting too far into this volume. For rabid fans, there are a few treats in store. If you are new to his work, find him in documentaries on YouTube. Read the first memoir. Try his earlier books before he gets into writing the major stuff. Acclimatise yourself. Learn the landscape. Dip in and bandage the toe you gave up to the sharks in the pool. Splitsville.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I am not quite sure how I feel about Ellroy's latest venture. Though, I was affected by this memoir. At a young age, he began stalking women and continued to hone his talent to the current day. From breaking into homes, to obsessively looking for "The One", Hilliker is borderline psychotic in his pursuit of women. Most run from him, yet, a few are so completely enamored, they forget their own wedding vows to be with him. Maybe they are just attracted to the writer in him. Or, more disturbingly, I am not quite sure how I feel about Ellroy's latest venture. Though, I was affected by this memoir. At a young age, he began stalking women and continued to hone his talent to the current day. From breaking into homes, to obsessively looking for "The One", Hilliker is borderline psychotic in his pursuit of women. Most run from him, yet, a few are so completely enamored, they forget their own wedding vows to be with him. Maybe they are just attracted to the writer in him. Or, more disturbingly, his stalkerish-stare-right-through-you-bad boy persona. Whatever the case, this memoir is a deeply honest portrayal of a dysfunctional human being.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

    Definitely one of the most self-indulgent books I've ever read. Ellroy comes across as a deluded ego monster, jerking off in the dark. And yet there was something revelatory about it all, so what if it's ridiculous, pathetic, and pretentious? Oh, and he's right-wing, and a sucker for woman-worship (when he's not stalking them). Gulp. The writing has muscle - at 62 Ellroy writes like a hipster on speedballs - and all of his skeevy confessions felt true, and defiant, and we should thank him for th Definitely one of the most self-indulgent books I've ever read. Ellroy comes across as a deluded ego monster, jerking off in the dark. And yet there was something revelatory about it all, so what if it's ridiculous, pathetic, and pretentious? Oh, and he's right-wing, and a sucker for woman-worship (when he's not stalking them). Gulp. The writing has muscle - at 62 Ellroy writes like a hipster on speedballs - and all of his skeevy confessions felt true, and defiant, and we should thank him for them, and then tell him to stop.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    Weeping-Jesus-on-the-cross, what sort of wayward trip was that? I suppose blazing through such in one sitting is the ideal route, but I am left here shaking my head and searching for ashes in my mouth.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Enjoyed it very much. Wouldn't recommend it except to major Ellroy fans or fellow diggers in the dirt with an eye for the creepy dark places. Enjoyed it very much. Wouldn't recommend it except to major Ellroy fans or fellow diggers in the dirt with an eye for the creepy dark places.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Azriel

    Literally 7 hours of James Ellroy screaming in my ear. The more I listen, the more I see him in all of his characters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Harrison Freeman

    I, like the author, made the mistake of assuming his real life would be as entertaining as his fiction. This book is self-indulgent and boring.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew MacDonald

    This book is probably not for the lay-reader, but more for die-hard Ellis fans, of whom I don't count myself. The pros are that it's a worthy follow-up for those who liked MY DARK PLACES, and that it's a good study of how early life trauma manifests in curious ways later on. It's also INCREDIBLY unabashed and honest, even about the grimey stuff. As for the cons... While I like Ellis' slangy style for his fiction, which feels era-appropriate, the style comes off try-hard and self-indulgent here. I' This book is probably not for the lay-reader, but more for die-hard Ellis fans, of whom I don't count myself. The pros are that it's a worthy follow-up for those who liked MY DARK PLACES, and that it's a good study of how early life trauma manifests in curious ways later on. It's also INCREDIBLY unabashed and honest, even about the grimey stuff. As for the cons... While I like Ellis' slangy style for his fiction, which feels era-appropriate, the style comes off try-hard and self-indulgent here. I've seen interviews where the slangy stuff infiltrates Ellis' regular speech patterns a bit too often. The result is a kind of falseness crippling our ability to see a real person, the real Ellis, amongst the linguistic detritus. This might also touch on a second con, which is also stylistic. There's way too much telling, not enough showing, a weird failing for such an accomplished writer who clearly knows what he's doing. I thought a lot about what made a book I should have liked a lot a total drag to read, and while the slangy style needlessly obfuscated, I also realized that Ellis falls back too readily for my liking into the internal monologue. What makes his novels really, really fun is that his style is grafted onto excellent plots, plots full of scene and verve and murder and gross stuff. When his style comes paired with compelling happenings, the result is that both elements of his writing [compelling plot, compelling style] punch above their weight. But in THE CURSE, Ellis just kind of blabs on and on about how he feels out and about in the world, instead of, you know, SHOWING himself out and about, engaging WITH THE WORLD. Like he'll fall in love from these women at a distance, and describe how much they remind him of [paging Dr. Freud] his murdered mother. That's a compelling set-up, for sure, and the fact that it's REAL is mindboggling. But instead of actually doing something about it, he'll have a sentence referencing the time he rifled through her trash, and five pages describing the feels. I hate whipping out writing rules like 'show, don't tell,' but it's just curious, and kind of boring, to be introduced to all these potentially compelling moments only to find them dead on arrival, over-analyzed and drowned in self-analysis. And so it's with great sorrow I give this book a very sad trumpet wompwomp.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve Higgins

    A very introspective look at his own life by crime noir author JAMES Elroy. Elroy takes a look at his own life on his own terms and those terms include how he was affected by his mothers murder and how that event continues to influence his life. Completely honest, Elroy is really baring his soul to the reader and looking at his early life and loves. If not for his interest and fascination for writing he could well have turned out completely different, even someone on the wrong side of the tracks A very introspective look at his own life by crime noir author JAMES Elroy. Elroy takes a look at his own life on his own terms and those terms include how he was affected by his mothers murder and how that event continues to influence his life. Completely honest, Elroy is really baring his soul to the reader and looking at his early life and loves. If not for his interest and fascination for writing he could well have turned out completely different, even someone on the wrong side of the tracks. A fabulous, honest read, even if the clipped hip LA jargon took some getting used to. Brilliant!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    The Hero's Journey Our hero starts out a repellent little boy and stays that way pretty much until he hits his 60s. He has a wonderfully relatable obsessive time if it. He does seem to redeem himself in the end. The Hero's Journey Our hero starts out a repellent little boy and stays that way pretty much until he hits his 60s. He has a wonderfully relatable obsessive time if it. He does seem to redeem himself in the end.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dimitris

    How to reach that point in which one dares to write such personal, shocking stuff about oneself and draws respect instead of contempt?...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    nothing really happened but i guess the title was accurate. however i gave it 3 stars as i love the way he writes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison Hardtmann

    I've never been a fan of James Ellroy's noir-tinged novels set in post-war Los Angeles. He's got the hard-boiled patter down, but the stories never felt real. Twenty years ago, however, he wrote a book about his mother and, despite the unrelenting patois, the book sizzles with dysfunction and a reconciliation forever lost. In My Dark Places, Ellroy revisits his mother's murder from the direction of a cold case. He'd been ten years old at the time, his parents were divorced and his relationship w I've never been a fan of James Ellroy's noir-tinged novels set in post-war Los Angeles. He's got the hard-boiled patter down, but the stories never felt real. Twenty years ago, however, he wrote a book about his mother and, despite the unrelenting patois, the book sizzles with dysfunction and a reconciliation forever lost. In My Dark Places, Ellroy revisits his mother's murder from the direction of a cold case. He'd been ten years old at the time, his parents were divorced and his relationship with his mother was not great. He had wished her dead just three months earlier. My Dark Places is an amazing book. It's not particularly well-written, Ellroy can't leave the detective magazine lingo behind and refers to his mother, somewhat disconcertingly, as the Redhead throughout the book, but it resonates with emotion and regret. The Hilliker Curse is his follow-up memoir and in it he attributes his string of failed relationships to his abruptly truncated relationship with his mother. He's not without self-awareness, something that is usually missing in books about infidelity: I always get what I want. I more often than not suffocate or discard what I want the most. It cuts me loose to yearn and profitably repeat the pattern. He's selfish to an astonishing degree, driven, self-obsessed and deeply religious (the justifications for breaking up marriages, his own and those of the women he meets are a little shaky). Ellroy begins with his own parents' marriage. They divorced when he was young, or as Ellroy put it: My parents split the sheets later that year. Jean Hilliker got primary custody. She put my dad on skates and rolled him to a cheap pad a few blocks away. Ellroy's father gets him back after his mother's murder, but isn't what could be even loosely termed a good father. Ellroy ends up in a wretched basement apartment, hooked on Benzedrex inhalers and any pills he finds in the Hancock Park homes he breaks into. He has, not surprisingly, trouble finding a girl willing to go out with him. Surprisingly, Ellroy's odd pulp-fiction language serves this book well. It would just be too intense without the distance of obsolete idioms. He gets clean, using AA as a support and a place to meet women: Only lonely and haunted women would grok my gravity. They were sister misfits attuned to my wavelength. Only they grooved internal discourse and sex as sanctified flame. Their soiled souls were socked in sync with yours truly. As Ellroy's fortunes improve, it becomes more apparent what an ass he is. All the heavy lifting in relationships is done by his partners. When married, he does not do any domestic chores, but needs to eat well and live in nice surroundings. He prefers solitude with his partner of the moment and so discourages any sort of social life in his wives. He hates other places. Amsterdam is described as Truly Shitsville and he leaves sightseeing in Paris for the geeks, freaks and fruitcake artistes. What saves this book in the end is Ellroy's honesty and a sense of fair play toward the women in his life. The relationships may have all soured, but he's willing to put the blame squarely on his own shoulders, and even figures out toward the end that his mother was not the bad guy in his story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mazola1

    If James Ellroy isn't one of your favorite authors, and if you don't know who the Halliker in the title refers to, you probably won't like this book very much. If, on the other hand, you are among the legions of devoted Ellroy prose sniffers and know all too well exactly who Hilliker is, you will think this book is great literature. The Hilliker Curse is Ellroy's latest foray into the murky world of his tortured psyche. Written as a memoir, it recounts his real and imagined relationships with wo If James Ellroy isn't one of your favorite authors, and if you don't know who the Halliker in the title refers to, you probably won't like this book very much. If, on the other hand, you are among the legions of devoted Ellroy prose sniffers and know all too well exactly who Hilliker is, you will think this book is great literature. The Hilliker Curse is Ellroy's latest foray into the murky world of his tortured psyche. Written as a memoir, it recounts his real and imagined relationships with women and his continuing obsession with his murdered mother. As a memoir, The Hilliker Curse is obscure and opaque at times, and requires the reader to be somewhat familiar with the author's life, previous works and quirky writing style. Nonethless, the book is a wild ride, the type of gut wrenching and dark odessey that Ellroy lovers have come to expect and to savor. The book exerts a morbid fascination, as Ellroy lays out some more of his darkest secrets in unstinting but sometimes overblown prose. Yes, his incessant and sometimes inane use of alliteration, something of an Ellroy trademark, can be annoying. And yes, sometimes it seems he works too hard at crafting a Joycean use of language, turning phrases and verbs into adjectives and so forth. Still, Ellroy is a writer of tremendous originality and power, attributes which are frequently on display in The Hilliker Curse. With that having been said, this cannot be regarded as Ellroy's best book. It's too self indulgent, too self conscious and too self centered. Perhaps that is the Ellroy Curse.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Corielle

    I am five reviews behind because I HATED this book & didn't feel like putting the time into a review. So...does that count as a review? “I am best served in my life’s goals if I lay in the dark, brood, sleep, listen to classical music, spend time with my few friends, and chase women. That’s what I do. I chase women. I spend time with my few friends. I brood. I sleep. I earn money, and I work.” If you can read the excerpt above without rolling your eyes, then maybe give this one a shot. Personally, I am five reviews behind because I HATED this book & didn't feel like putting the time into a review. So...does that count as a review? “I am best served in my life’s goals if I lay in the dark, brood, sleep, listen to classical music, spend time with my few friends, and chase women. That’s what I do. I chase women. I spend time with my few friends. I brood. I sleep. I earn money, and I work.” If you can read the excerpt above without rolling your eyes, then maybe give this one a shot. Personally, I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes during this one. James Ellroy's mother was murdered in 1958, when he was 10 years old and just shortly after he wished her dead (his parents were in the midst of a rough divorce, and he was siding with his father at the time). Obviously, this is the kind of thing that can mess you up as a human being. He's made a career of his attempts to atone for his behavior, mostly by writing about dead women, real or imagined (his first big hit was his novel about The Black Dahlia). He spends this autobiography attempting to justify his behavior outside of his writing -- his drinking, taking drugs, chasing women, etc. I mean, maybe I should have expected what I got here. After all, it is called The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women. But in addition to the obnoxious material, his writing style made me crazy. It's all short, choppy sentences and random imagery. I did not like it one bit!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    There are more than a few readers and critics panning The Hilliker Curse. Some believe Ellroy is covering old ground... his mother's murder and the subsequent effects on his psyche. Since ager ten, Ellroy has been trying to fill the maternal void. We've heard him tell the story a thousand times in numerous ways. We've seen the result... numerous novels that are some of the best American fiction ever composed... yes... composed... like Beethoven. I'm confident someone else much better qualified th There are more than a few readers and critics panning The Hilliker Curse. Some believe Ellroy is covering old ground... his mother's murder and the subsequent effects on his psyche. Since ager ten, Ellroy has been trying to fill the maternal void. We've heard him tell the story a thousand times in numerous ways. We've seen the result... numerous novels that are some of the best American fiction ever composed... yes... composed... like Beethoven. I'm confident someone else much better qualified than me can provide better insight into this book. "James Ellroy will always be, at bottom, a boy whose mother was raped and murdered -- a boy who received no subsequent counseling, little education indifferent parenting, and a boy who turned to a dead German composer (Beethoven) as a role model when others failed to emerge. That this boy is even alive today, writing, loving, and searching for his own artistic and emotional truth, is a testament to his bravery and strength of spirit. Ellroy's strident persona, obsessive nature and compulsive heterosexuality make him seem predatory, but in fact, he is a true and tender champion of women." --Erika Schickel Source: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.u... Reading The Hilliker Curse in this context might provide a different point of view.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Travis Todd

    I can't remember the first Ellroy book I read, but I do remember becoming immediately hooked by his style and characters and fascination with the dark side in general and that of L.A. in particular. I devoured roughly five or six of his books within a month and a half and couldn't get enough of the breathless pace. THEN I found a copy of My Dark Places and it was like, holy shit, here's where it all came from. I found a remaindered copy of The Hilliker Curse at Powell's bookstore in Portland O I can't remember the first Ellroy book I read, but I do remember becoming immediately hooked by his style and characters and fascination with the dark side in general and that of L.A. in particular. I devoured roughly five or six of his books within a month and a half and couldn't get enough of the breathless pace. THEN I found a copy of My Dark Places and it was like, holy shit, here's where it all came from. I found a remaindered copy of The Hilliker Curse at Powell's bookstore in Portland Oregon a few months ago and it's the first Ellroy book I can remember being disappointed by. I found it to be an almost laughable parody of his own style, like one of those aging bands that hasn't released a good record in decades still touring and playing the old stuff. His obsessions with women become overwrought to the point of comedy...lying in the dark, listening to Beethoven, conjuring grey-haired middle-aged women, I found myself thinking, "Jesus, dude, just chill the fuck out and call her already." This is a deeply personal book, obviously, and I think it's brave for Ellroy to share this kind of material, but it's a detour from his real work and unnecessary, especially since My Dark Places covers much the same material to much greater effect.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dayna

    In many ways this seemed to be a retread of My Dark Places, thought I read that so many years ago I could be wrong. A look inside the mind of a man who is constantly obsessed with women. I couldn't help but think that he must be exhausted (or very sleepy) from all the fantasizing and jacking off, though, on the page, he seems to maintain his energy. I suppose the nervous breakdown gives him some pause ... As always, I find his writing compulsively readable. I crashed through this in a little mor In many ways this seemed to be a retread of My Dark Places, thought I read that so many years ago I could be wrong. A look inside the mind of a man who is constantly obsessed with women. I couldn't help but think that he must be exhausted (or very sleepy) from all the fantasizing and jacking off, though, on the page, he seems to maintain his energy. I suppose the nervous breakdown gives him some pause ... As always, I find his writing compulsively readable. I crashed through this in a little more than a day. His nervous energy blasts through the page and seems to infect me. Truth be told, I have some of that I me anyway, so his writing just seems to ratchet it up. I think he is the only man I have ever read who claims to not be able to fall asleep after sex, which is interesting now that I think about it, because that is really the only thing in this book I could relate to. That energized feeling has to slowly uncoil and release me before I can drift off. Usually I drop books I cannot relate to, but Ellroy's writing style always keeps me fixated.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maduck831

    Another one of those "three and a half stars" books. I'm a fan of Ellroy and enjoyed the writing and "tidbits" about women. Length wise I couldn't see this book being any longer...I'm curious now to see about his current state with women since this book came out in 2010. The book itself was a "memoir" of sorts, it also at times read like a confessional, however, it never in my opinion veered into "poor me" territory or felt that Ellroy was just bitching about his life (granted he went through a Another one of those "three and a half stars" books. I'm a fan of Ellroy and enjoyed the writing and "tidbits" about women. Length wise I couldn't see this book being any longer...I'm curious now to see about his current state with women since this book came out in 2010. The book itself was a "memoir" of sorts, it also at times read like a confessional, however, it never in my opinion veered into "poor me" territory or felt that Ellroy was just bitching about his life (granted he went through a lot of stuff and did some stuff, but he's also a multi-millionaire, hard to feel too sorry for)...Some of the lines/passages were "wow" and could've only been written by Ellroy. As with Crime Beat this was another book I'm glad I picked up on the cheap, it was a fast/good read, but I would have been kicking myself if I paid the jacket price (I think around $26.00). I also enjoyed the times he talked about his novels, it offered some interesting "tidbits," and is driving me to re-read American Tabloid, Black Dahlia, etc.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I love memoirs, and I used to love Ellroy. If this wasn't written by him it would not have gotten published, and I would not have read it. When he is straight forward telling the stories of the loves in his life (and infatuations) the story hooked me in. But then he starts talking about Her and She and US and Them and The Curse - and Beethoven (well, he just kind of drops the name a lot, never really explaining why or what he loves about the music so much). Ellroy is a auto-didactic mystery writ I love memoirs, and I used to love Ellroy. If this wasn't written by him it would not have gotten published, and I would not have read it. When he is straight forward telling the stories of the loves in his life (and infatuations) the story hooked me in. But then he starts talking about Her and She and US and Them and The Curse - and Beethoven (well, he just kind of drops the name a lot, never really explaining why or what he loves about the music so much). Ellroy is a auto-didactic mystery writer. This memoir screams out that he wants to be taken as a Serious Writer with Serious Ideas. It doesn't close the sale. For as much as I enjoyed parts of it, most of it had me screaming to myself, "Is this shitty little 203 page memoir done yet? Can I put it on the Goodwill pile yet?????" Published in 2010, here's betting that the last woman/She/Her/Them or the book, Erika, hasn't lasted either. Do yourself a favor and go back and read The LA Quartet and his books before those, and leave this on the B&N overstock table........

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    If you've read Ellroy's fiction and My Dark Places, then absolutely read this book. If you are short in one field or the other though, correct that before picking this up. Unlike My Dark Places, there's no mystery to drive the narrative, only the author's personal demons, and they're much better understood with the background of the author's earlier efforts to face them. In particular, he talks about how his life has played out since My Dark Places, while also discussion the books he wrote since If you've read Ellroy's fiction and My Dark Places, then absolutely read this book. If you are short in one field or the other though, correct that before picking this up. Unlike My Dark Places, there's no mystery to drive the narrative, only the author's personal demons, and they're much better understood with the background of the author's earlier efforts to face them. In particular, he talks about how his life has played out since My Dark Places, while also discussion the books he wrote since its publication (the American Tabloid trilogy) derived from his inner turmoil at the time, which makes the book intriguing to fans. The narrative of his personal life is well done, containing more of Ellroy's fearless self-disclosures that arouse their trademark mixture of admiration and discomfort. It is a profoundly sad and honest book, the unabashed self-appraisals of a man stuck in a pattern who keeps repeating it even (or especially) when he thinks it's finally broken.

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