Adroit Journal: Father as God and Monster: A Review of Don’t Go Crazy Without Me by Deborah A. Lott

Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. Consider the cover image for Deborah A. Lott’s memoir Don’t Go Crazy Without Me (Red Hen Press): a chubby adult male dressed in blue velvet shorts and jacket, ruffled cream shirt, black leather doll shoes and white socks, carrying a teddy bear. The peculiar image is of Ira, Lott’s father, and the impish grin on his face while wearing what he calls his “little boy suit” foretells of the dark humor—and family dysfunction—that unfolds in the pages that follow. Near Ira stands a dark-haired little girl, a young Lott, her presence symbolically overshadowed by his outlandish appearance. Lott’s coming-of-age memoir recounts her growing-up years with her Jewish family in La Cresenta, California, and her lasting love for a sometimes charming, other times wildly inappropriate, and, as the years pass, tragically mentally ill father.