I Will Be Complete: A memoir

Glen David Gold

I Will Be Complete: A memoir
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I Will Be Complete: A memoir

Glen David Gold

From the bestselling author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, a shocking, big-hearted memoir about his bizarre upbringing in California in the 1970s and how he survived it.

Glen David Gold grew up rich on the beaches of 1970s California, until his father lost a fortune and his parents divorced when he was ten. Glen and his English mother moved to San Francisco, where she was fleeced by a series of charming con men and turned increasingly wayward. When he was twelve, she took off for New York without telling him, leaving him alone for several months. On midnight streets and at drug-fuelled parties, wise-cracking his way through an alarming adult world, Glen watched his mother’s countless, wild attempts to reinvent herself.

In this exceptional memoir, acclaimed novelist Glen David Gold captures his bizarre, lonely upbringing and how it shaped him as an adult with stunning insight and unsparing candour. Shocking, mordantly funny and achingly affecting, he tells an unforgettable story of the years he spent trying to rescue his mother - and his ultimate realisation that only by breaking free could he ever hope to be complete.


I love this book. There, I’ve said it. I love it and this is why.

I Will Be Complete is the autobiography that took years for the author to write because he wasn’t quite sure if all the things that happened to him, whilst growing up, were actually true. Well, they are all true and they are all spectacularly bonkers.

Glen David Gold grew up in San Francisco during the liberal 70s. He had an American father who was obsessed by money and had a taste for giving ‘house tours’ to guests, and an English mother, who you could say is slightly unconventional. So far, so normal – until his parents divorce. His father marries for a second time, whilst his mother joins a set of colourful characters that includes thieves, drug dealers and men out to swindle her for all she’s got.

Suddenly, when Gold is twelve, his mother decides to move to New York City with her new man. Young Gold is left to fend for himself, with the occasional drop-in from adults. He gets himself to school, cooks dinner and maintains the home. It is here that we begin to see the damage that both parents are causing him.

Gold takes us along with him as he navigates life through hardships, college, romance, jobs and his constant analysing and testing of his parents. He writes to piece together the fragments of his childhood and to try to understand the strange yet loving mother-son relationship. Should he feel sorry for his mother? Is she worth forgiving? I won’t say much more, except that the ending will leave you a blubbering mess.

Please, please, please read this book. It is an exceptional memoir that is hilarious, bizarre, touching and one that you must read this year.

Anna Rotar works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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