DEBORAH A. LOTT is the author of the newly released Don’t Go Crazy Without Me: A Tragicomic Memoir. Lott writes of growing up in a family of leftist Jews, surrounded by Republican gentiles in 1950s and ’60s La Crescenta, a then-isolated suburb of Los Angeles. The family is dominated by Lott’s “lovably neurotic” father, “Ira,” who, among his eccentricities, likes to dress up as Little Lord Fauntleroy, and, for Purim, in drag. He also serves as the local Jewish community’s lay rabbi. When his mother dies, Ira plunges into psychosis, and nearly takes his impressionable daughter into madness with him. The contagiousness of irrationality, a subject much on our minds these days, is one of the notable themes of the book.
National Book Award–winning poet and memoirist Mark Doty called it “astonishingly vivid … funny, horrifying, and heartbreaking — and often surprisingly, all three at once. … As the best memoirs do, Don’t Go Crazy Without Me makes this writer’s story belong to all of us.” Acclaimed memoirist Abigail Thomas deemed it “brilliantly written with grace, generosity, and a highly refined sense of the absurd.” In a review in The Adroit Journal, Jody Keisner wrote, “Don’t Go Crazy Without Me truly showcases the memoir as an art form.”