At age 3 she brutally burned her body when she was making hot dogs by boiling them in water by herself. She was THREE.
Her parents took her to the hospital, but stole her away from it after a few days because she was "tough and could recover on her own" and also, they didn't want to pay the bill.
She had extensive skin grafts and was highly prone to infection. She had no business being out of that hospital.
They moved a lot because her father was being
chased by the FBI, hunted by the mafia, hounded by bill collectors. Her mother was an artist and never worked, even though she also had a teaching certificate and the family needed money.
Her father was a raging alcoholic who spent all of the money for food, electricity and a place to live on booze. He stole from his family to drink and never admitted it was a problem or that it was a detriment to his children. He crazily enough thought he was a good dad.
There was often no food. Once, she ate margarine because it's all there was and she hadn't eaten in days. She scavenged for food at school by taking leftovers that other kids threw away. They often did not have heat, electricity, indoor plumbing or really, anything at all. Her thrift store dresses were threadbare. She slept in a cardboard box for many years.
They celebrated Christmas a week late because they could take a tree from the street for free and use leftover wrapping paper. They told her there was no Santa as soon as she could understand the words, so she wouldn't expect any gifts. They often forgot birthdays.
It's a fascinating book where you can't believe her parents are so dumb, so outrageously ignorant and misinformed and misguided and selfish about EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. They claimed to love their children but they showed them no more love than you would an unwanted dog.
It's a sort of gruesome train wreck; you can't stop turning pages because what could be more awful than page 245 where her mother tells her it's ok to eat a ham with maggots in it? Oh, page 246 where her father tries to pimp her for beer money.
And it's a miracle she turned out smart. Really smart! She's a good writer.
Check this one out from the library. And then, tell your parents they did a really good job. Mine certainly did.
Estimated dollars saved by continuing to use Library: $180.
Taxes paid to city whose library I am using: $0