Throughout her formative years, author Rachel Sontag's household was held virtually hostage by her father’s serious depression. In the tradition of Running With Scissors and The Glass Castle, Sontag's memoir House Rules (Bond Street Books) paints a portrait of dysfunctional family dynamics lurking behind the guise of middle-class stability. Don't miss Sontag in conversation with Damian Rogers, Arts & Lifestyle Editor of EYE WEEKLY, about this wickedly funny, brave and moving tale of surviving a most unusual childhood. — A This Is Not A Reading Series event presented by Pages Books & Magazines, Bond Street Books and EYE WEEKLY.
House Rules: Rachel Sontag grew up in a family that struck outsiders as the living embodiment of suburban, middle-class vales. From an early age, however, Sontag realized that there was something deeply wrong with her father, Stephen. He was a well-respected physician. But questioning his authority, in even the slightest way, would result in abusive admonitions. For instance, he would verbally berate Sontag for hours, dictating long letters of apology from her to him (“I am a selfish, rotten, worthless, brat” and so forth). On another occasion, he measured the length of her hair and fingernails with a ruler, and duct-taped her stereo dial to National Public Radio. Sontag recounts the increasingly elaborate system of peculiar rules and brutal punishments that her father employed to maintain his iron grip over their household in her new memoir, House Rules. In the tradition of books like Running With Scissors and The Glass Castle, Sontag leavens her tale of dysfunctional family dynamics by including a healthy dose of the darkly ironic aspects of her life story. House Rules is a wickedly funny, brave and inspiring tale of surviving a most unusual childhood that will likely prove to be as popular as it is provocative.
Rachel Sontag was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. She received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. House Rules is her first published book. Sontag lives in New York City.
Damian Rogers is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor at EYE WEEKLY Magazine. She is also a published poet who has worked at Poetry Magazine, founded Pontiac Quarterly, contributed to Utopia (Coach House) and edited books for Drag City. Rogers lives in Toronto.