Russo (Bridge of Sighs; Empire Falls) here writes about his own life as the only child of an emotionally ill mother. Prone to outbursts followed by calm periods, his mother thought happiness would be available if she could just be elsewhere, even if it meant returning to a place where she had lived previously. Finally, she quit her job to move to Arizona with Russo when he went there for college, causing him finally to recognize her illness. Even after Russo married, had children, and established a career, his mother's demands continued to shape the family dynamics. Russo succeeds in writing an unsentimental yet poignant and humorous account of coping with his beautiful, charming, yet destructive parent. The author's sensitive reading adds to the book's appeal. VERDICT Recommended for listeners interested in Russo's life and his upstate New York roots, as well as anyone with a mentally ill loved one.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo[Page 48]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.