Lights on, Rats Out by Cree LeFavour

DNF @ 50%

Lights On, Rats Out by Cree LeFavour will be in stores everywhere in August 2017. 

Maybe I was simply not in the mood for self-indulgent rambling but I found it really hard to keep interested in Lights On, Rats Out by Cree LeFavour and her history. She describes her family as being wealthy, fortunate, able to live, travel and buy whatever they wanted. Her parents enjoyed the vivid, drug-infused lives of the 1970’s, at one point living in Aspen as neighbours of Hunter S. Thompson. When LeFavour was a teenager, the family moved, and her parents abandoned her and her sister to their own devices. Their father found another life in California, and their mother preferred to spend time outside of the house, living with neighbours and developing lesbian relationships. LeFavour believes these are the reason she developed bulimia, then while in therapy, fell in love with her therapist and punished herself for the unrequited love by burning herself with cigarettes. I left her story during her stay in a mental hospital when she could not keep herself from self-harm.

LeFavour wears her dysfunction as a badge, the same way she wears her love for literature and dead authors as a badge. She frequently references quotes from novels, as well as Freud and Jung as a way to examine her own mental health issues. She admits that she is a typical privileged girl who has, really, no reason to be sad or depressed or suicidal. There is no obvious reason why she should be those things, but the human brain isn’t that straight forward. I am no expert, nor do I ever challenge the problems of others, but I found it hard to see past her infatuation with her own problems. Those issues include:

  1. Her parents are wealthy therefore immature and distant
  2. She’s had a lonely childhood
  3. She’s can’t live up to her own standards and is a perfectionist
  4. She burns herself with cigarettes
  5. She’s in love with her therapist

I sympathise with LeFavour, and maybe her story could have been compelling if it wasn’t for her redundant, unengaging writing. It kept on going in circles, recalling the same feelings and conflicts. Basically, it was dull.

In any case, I made it halfway before I decided that my time is better spent on other books. I enjoy memoirs. I think the important thing with memoirs is not just for the person’s life to be very interesting, very funny or very devastating (that does help) but for their writing to be engaging and personable. For example, I really enjoyed Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook, but that’s because he’s a brilliant, sad clown who laughs at his own mistakes and is hilarious and brilliant all around. I also loved Caroline Knapp’s Drinking, A Love Story, which focused on her alcoholism, battle with anorexia and addiction as whole. Its draw was her prose, her ability to stand outside of herself and examine drinking, why people do it, and how they live with it. There’s also A Million Little Pieces, the 2003 Best Seller by James Frey, the novel sort of memoir, which I loved in high school. I was hoping that Lights on, Rats Out by Cree LaFavour would be just as dramatic, devastating and lovable. Except that I was wrong.

I received a copy of Lights On, Rats Out from Grove Atlantic via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


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