If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now: A Memoir

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In September 1996, haunted by a dream I’d had, I boarded a plane from Sacramento, bound for Dallas. Nearly a quarter-century earlier, my biological mother, Pamala, had left me in a daycare and flown to the Bahamas to be with her new boyfriend while her husband— my father—still fought in Vietnam. I was two-and-a-half years old at the time and hadn’t seen my mother since. Then, I dreamed that she died before I had the chance to meet her—before I had the opportunity to ask her about the events and choices that led her to leave me behind. After Pamala left me, my parents divorced, and my father remarried. His new wife, Barbara, adopted me. We instantly bonded, setting forth a life-long relationship that withstood my parents’ divorce and my father’s ensuing absence, but turned fragile, first during my troubled adolescence and later as I entered an abusive relationship. If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now is a memoir of fragmented mother-daughter relationships and generational reckonings—a portrait of reluctant motherhood, ambition, and the pitfall of domesticity is told through the lens of riot grrrl, feminist politics, and pop culture. At its core, this book asks a central question: By examining my mothers’ lives, choices, and mistakes, can I face my own and survive?