Never Simple: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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Liz Scheier’s darkly funny and touching memoir—with shades of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and Mira Bartók’s The Memory Palace—of growing up in ’90s Manhattan with a brilliant, mendacious single mother

Scheier’s mother Judith was a news junkie, a hilarious storyteller, a fast-talking charmer you couldn’t look away from, a single mother whose devotion crossed the line into obsession, and—when in the grips of the mental illness that plagued every day of her life—a violent and abusive liar whose hold on reality was shaky at best. On an uneventful afternoon when Scheier was eighteen, her mother sauntered into the room to tell her two important things: one, she had been married for most of Scheier’s life to a man she’d never heard of, and two, the man she’d told Scheier was her father was entirely fictional. She’d made him up. Those two big lies were the start, but not the end; it took dozens of smaller lies to support them, and by the time she was done she had built a farcical, half-true life for the two of them, from fake social security number to fabricated husband.

One hot July day twenty years later, Scheier receives a voicemail from Adult Protective Services, reporting that Judith has stopped paying rent and is refusing all offers of assistance. That call is the start of a shocking journey that takes the Scheiers, mother and daughter, deep into the cascading effects of decades of lies and deception.

Never Simple is the story of learning to survive—and, finally, trying to save—a complicated parent, as feared as she is loved, and as self-destructive as she is adoring.

About the Author

Liz Scheier is a former Penguin Random House editor who worked in publishing and content development for many years, including at Barnes & and Amazon. She writes book reviews and feature articles for Publishers Weekly. She is now a product developer living in Washington, D.C., with her husband, two small children, and an ill-behaved cat. Never Simple is her first book.

Praise For…

“Liz Scheier’s beautiful book is a testament to the undeniable, indestructible love between a mother and a daughter. In telling her story she brings enormous sympathy to an exceedingly complicated relationship, and thus a clearer understanding for all of us with mothers. It’s a meditation on the subject of how much fear and dread can be tolerated by a loving heart. I adored it.”
Isaac Mizrahi

“The complexities of a mother/daughter relationship are laid bare in this darkly funny, and utterly shattering memoir. Liz Scheier writes with shocking beauty and grace, never once turning her back on the truth. Never Simple is a brilliant, triumphant debut by a writer of significant literary talent.”
Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors and Toil & Trouble

“Possibly the most brilliant, evocative, devastating memoir of what it is like to be the daughter of a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, Liz Scheier’s story is also one of resilience and compassion. The questions it asks are ones that every surviving adult child of a profoundly mentally ill parent grapples with: how strong is the maternal thread that enables the survivor to care for an abusive mother even when they become a danger to their world and everyone in it? Is it possible for those left behind to ever heal? Staggering, at turns horrifying and life-giving, Never Simple left me gasping for breath.”
Elissa Altman, author of Motherland

“A riveting and poignant memoir of lies, compassion, and discovery. I couldn't put it down.”
Jenny Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of Broken, Furiously Happy, and Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250823137
ISBN-10: 1250823137
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English