Margot Mifflin
April 09, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

For journalist Kim Rich, the daughter of a professional gambler and a mentally disturbed stripper, childhood was not exactly life on Walton’s Mountain, especially in the vice-afflicted Anchorage of the ’60s. Rich ”grew up in nightclubs” and her home life featured police raids, all-night parties, and prostitutes hogging the bathroom. While other kids experimented with drugs and sex, she rebelled by attending Bible camp. The strength of Johnny’s Girl: A Daughter’s Memoir of Growing Up in Alaska’s Underworld, which culminates in Rich’s father’s death when she was 15, lies in the author’s compassion for her parents, whose love, though troubled, was real. B+

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