The Lost Woman
by Sydney Smith
Text Publishing, $32.95 pb, 280 pp, 9781921922480
In 1978 Christina Crawford published her memoir Mommie Dearest, an account of her life as the abused adoptive child of Joan Crawford. Shocking scenes in this book remain forever with readers. Sydney Smith’s account of life with her mother is, if anything, more horrific than Mommie Dearest. Traditional fairy tales often split the mother into the good mother and the bad mother, and the one in The Lost Woman is a baroque version of the bad. The memoir begins by invoking the story of Rapunzel and continues throughout the narrative to identify life’s key elements with the tropes of the folk tale. This is a story of imprisonment, escape, and transformation.