When Simon Doonan sat down to write a memoir, he discovered he had no memories of cuddly family times or romantic Hallmark moments -- turns out most of his memories are notably nasty. Birthday parties? No recollection. But his mother's dentures flying out of her mouth when she sneezed and skittering across the kitchen floor? A vivid mental image that still brings a smile. In his subversively funny memoir, Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, Simon revisits his formative years and the defiantly eccentric, lovably odd family he calls his own, showing us how nasty memories can be very, very good.Long before he became a celebrity in his own right -- as a bestselling author, as a style arbiter on national television, and as the window display genius of Barneys New York -- Simon Doonan was a "scabby knee'd troll" in Reading, England. In Nasty, he returns to the working-class neighborhood of his youth and chronicles the misadventures of the Doonan clan in all their wacky glory. Readers meet his mum, Betty, whose gravity-defying, peroxided hairdo loudly proclaimed her innate glamour; his father, Terry, an amateur vintner who turned parsnips into the legendary Château Doonan; and his grandfather D.C., a hard-drinking betting man who plotted to win his fortune by turning "wee" Simon into a jockey. Fearing he would fall victim to the insanity that runs in his family or, worse, the banality of suburban life, Doonan decamps with his flamboyant best friend Biddie to London. There they hope to find the Beautiful People -- those glamorous creatures who luxuriate on floor pillows and amuse each other with bon mots -- and join their ranks. Instead, he encounters various ladies of the night, kidney stones, punks, law enforcement officers, phantom venereal diseases, public humiliations, and camps, vamps, and scamps of all shapes and sizes. Doonan continues his bumbling pursuit of the fabulous life only to learn, in the end, that perhaps the Beautiful People were the ones he left behind.Infused throughout with good humor and informed by Doonan's keen eye for the ridiculous, Nasty reminds us never to take life too seriously. This is a wickedly good memoir from one of today's most dazzling literary humorists.
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