The Critic’s Daughter: A Memoir

Highbridge Audio. Feb. 2023. 11:10 hrs. ISBN 9781696611046. $19.99. MEMOIR
Gilman’s second memoir (after The Anti-Romantic Child) tells of her upbringing in 1970s Manhattan with parents who were key figures in the literary scene. Her father, Richard Gilman, was a theater critic, and her mother, Lynn Nesbit, was a prominent and successful literary agent. Gilman grew up surrounded by luminaries such as Ann Beattie and Toni Morrison, who were houseguests and family friends. The memoir centers mostly on her parents’ bitter divorce and the difficult times that followed when her father suffered career reversals, and Gilman sadly watched his emotional and professional deterioration. The story continues until Gilman’s adulthood, describing her father’s remarriage and eventual death from cancer. Gilman narrates her story herself, infusing it with animation and expression. Gilman’s compelling narration works in tandem with her ability to emotionally depict scenes from the perspective of a young child while also writing about the urban, cosmopolitan environment of her youth.
VERDICT Even if listeners aren’t familiar with Gilman or her parents, listeners will likely enjoy this rich, well-written memoir about flawed relationships and the lasting trauma of divorce.
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