Cris Mazza delivers a spirited rebuttal to pop-culture stereotypes about growing up female in Southern California. Coming of age in the 1970s and ’80s, Mazza’s memories aren’t about surfing, cheerleading or riding in convertibles. Though her story has its exotic elements—her family hunts and -gathers food in the semi-arid coastal hills well into the early ’70s—she sets herself in the context of familiar Americana. Repeating motifs—gender issues, the California landscape, dogs, musicians, plus the perplexing melancholy of a sexless marriage—thread through these very personal essays, as Mazza confronts madness, disability, sexual dysfunction and death, speaking to the drama of ordinary lives.
Cris Mazza’s most recent novel was Girl Beside Him, and she is the editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction.