Jacquelyn Scott Review Of Gleah Powers' "Million Dollar Red"

“Up until the age of thirty, my name was Linda,” Gleah Powers writes at the beginning of her memoir, Million Dollar Red. When her mother picks Powers and her sister up from camp, she has a new man in tow. Powers doesn’t trust the smooth-talking Jack, but her sister takes an instant liking to him. Eventually, Powers’s distrust eases to admiration as he buys the family’s love. Powers writes, “I tried to resist him and all his gifts, but inside I felt an opening like a crack in the desert floor making a channel for rainwater.” But when his cucumber crop fails and he spends all of the Powers’s girls money, the family falls apart, crushing Powers’s ideals of the perfect family dynamic. Her mother is less than supportive, caring only for her own appearance and looking for the next man she can find to financially support her, and when she can no longer afford both girls, she sends Powers across the country to live with her grandmother.

This memoir is a thrilling ride that takes its readers all over the United States, moving through California to New York, Arizona to Florida and from strip clubs to cults. Powers describes what it was like to grow up in 60’s and 70’s with a family who struggled to stay invested in one another. Written in the style of campfire stories, Powers’s memoir is a collection of essays from her life that are carefully chosen and wrapped together to pass down through the generations.

A heartbreaking tale of identity, family, and loyalty.

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