Sunday, October 9, 2016

Rollicking and Unconventional: The Clancys of Queens

Sometimes I just want to have fun. Curious about Tara Clancy's new memoir I read one of her stories published in the New York Times. I was amused and took a chance on The Clancys of Queens.

I gulped it down in two sittings, laughing out loud. Tara's family--no pseudonyms used--are unique and quirky, strong and sure.

Tara's childhood was unique. Her mismatched parents split when Tara was two. She grew up bouncing between their two worlds:in Queens with her mother's big Italian family, and staying with her Irish cop father in a one bed boathouse, their social life centered at the local bar. When her mother met a wealthy self-made man, limo pickups to his place in Bridgehampton was thrown into the mix. There she lived the high life and participated in long, intellectual talks while watching the sun set. Tara's superpower was being "able to jump social strata in a single bound!"

Tara's tom-boy, super active, no holds barred antics recalled to mind the cartoon intro to the Dennis the Menace tv show of my childhood: remember the tornado that represented Dennis? Tara was like that. What I loved about her family was their acceptance of Tara. When she climbed a tree in her new satin dress, staining it with tree sap, she explained to her dad that he hadn't mentioned "no tree climbing."  And I love that her dad, the warrant cop, laughed.

Tara's mother decided to nudge her daughter to discover her sexual identity. They went to visit her mom's college lesbian friend. What her mom didn't know was the nature of her friend's business--a S&M sex toy store! It's hard to believe this isn't fiction! When Tara falls in love in college, her mom's attitude was "I told you so."

Tara's drop-out teen years made a 180 turn in her junior year of high school. She opened King Lear, the first book she'd ever read on her own, and cut classes to finish reading it. Suddenly Tara knew her future. Her senior year she took AP Shakespeare and graduated on the honor roll. She went on to college and a career in writing and story telling appearances on The Moth.

Yes, I had stumbled on another book where Shakespeare is the hero, changing lives for the better!

Clancy has written a delightful memoir and I had great fun reading it.

I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.


The Clancys of Queens
Tara Clancy
Publication October 11, 2016
Crown Publishing
$27 hard cover
ISBN: 9781101903117