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Book Review: Author's memoir is awe-inspiring

June 18, 2010|By Lyda Truick

Tracy McMillan, the television writer and author of "I Love You and I'm Leaving You Anyway: a Memoir," needs a round of applause. Currently residing in Glendale with her young son, I hope someday she walks into my place of employment, and I can give her a proper handshake and say "thanks" for providing me a new mantra.

Born to a prostitute and a father who pimped and "drug-dealed" his way in and out of jail her entire life, McMillan has not only done well for herself, but has risen above a life that could've easily sucked her in, making a cliched statistic out of her existence.

She faced the challenges of being raised in foster homes and living in the Midwest where being half-black was an anomaly in a sea of blond Swedes. Her father is an ever-present factor in her life no matter what. Even when placed in the security and normalcy of a stable family, McMillan's father never lets her slip between his grasp.


The majority of her childhood years are spent with one of her father's women, realizing early on what was needed to survive in high school — a cheerleading uniform and an aloof sense of sexuality.

She leads a chaotic, reactionary life through her early 20s, marrying for all the wrong reasons, dropping out of college and moving around the country. Meanwhile, she wavers between rejection and anger over her father's incarceration.

It is not to say that McMillan completely begrudges her father this to a certain degree. Her memoir is filled with the love and awe she has for a man so present in her life, yet so far from being the father she needed.

It is no wonder she turns to sex for love and marries the "UNG's (ultra nice guys)" hoping to avoid such disaster. It is only through these things that she learns who her father really is, but more importantly, what kind of woman she is to become.

McMillan's memoir is written from both past and present directions, until the two come to meet in the middle. There McMillan sits, raw and exposed, having experienced many cathartic steps along her path to being a woman well-filtered with life, experience and a unique understanding of the process. This book is bound to be an eye-opener for many who chance upon its pages.

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