Jennifer Reese
March 16, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The End of the World as We Know It

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Robert Goolrick
publisher
Algonquin Books
genre
Nonfiction, Memoir

We gave it a B+

In The End of the World as We Know It, his unnerving, elegantly crafted memoir, Robert Goolrick reflects on his appalling Southern gothic childhood and the lifelong emotional hangover that followed. His mom was a glacial, self-absorbed beauty; his dad, feckless and lazy; both were raging alcoholics who died in boozy squalor. His morbidly funny account of a world in which people had ”cocktails and hairdos” takes a gruesome turn near the end, with the revelation of horrific sexual abuse. Goolrick has earned the right to feel sorry for himself, but the book’s tone changes abruptly, and regrettably, from crystalline observation to high-pitched self-indulgence. B+

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