Acne: A Memoir

Hachette Audio. Jul. 2022. 9:45 hrs. ISBN 9781668605554. $25.98. MEMOIR
Aggressive acne during adolescence can be traumatic. But this story adds a cross-country move at 10 after Chinn’s parents divorce and depicts her aggressively smoking cigarettes at 11, adding beer shortly after, being exposed to racist peers (Chinn’s father is Black, and her mother is white), all the while raising herself “free range” because her mother is busy with her alcoholic boyfriend or focused on the author’s beloved brother’s brain cancer. At 14, Chinn determined her biggest problem was the embarrassment she felt about being a virgin, and she set out to change that status. At 15, school seemed silly, so she dropped out. And, oh yeah, most of this drama occurred in Clearwater, FL, which wasn’t always the easiest place for a biracial girl with intense acne to be. But lest readers think this is a sad story, it is not. Chinn’s telling will keep listeners reaching for the tissues but mostly to wipe away tears of laughter. Her narration is perfect, delivered with such aplomb that listeners will not be overwhelmed by her life’s many tragedies.
VERDICT This author-narrated gem is exactly as it should be. Only Chinn can do justice to her story, and she succeeds in style. Recommended for public libraries.
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