'I Will Be Complete is the best memoir I've read in years. It's likely the best memoir published in years.' Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng
From the bestselling author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, a shocking, big-hearted memoir about his bizarre upbringing in California in the 1970s and how he survived it.
Glen David Gold grew up rich on the beaches of 1970s California, until his father lost a fortune and his parents divorced when he was ten.
Glen and his English mother moved to San Francisco, where she was fleeced by a series of charming con men and turned increasingly wayward. When he was twelve, she took off for New York without telling him, leaving him to fend for himself. On midnight streets and at drug-fuelled parties, wise-cracking his way through an alarming adult world, Glen watched his mother's countless, wild attempts to reinvent herself.
In this exceptional memoir, acclaimed novelist Glen David Gold captures his bizarre, lonely upbringing and how it shaped him as an adult with stunning insight and unsparing candour. Shocking, mordantly funny and achingly affecting, he tells an unforgettable story of the years he spent trying to rescue his mother - and his ultimate realisation that only by breaking free could he ever hope to be complete.
'The prose is crystalline, hard as real diamonds, flashing, revealing. The story is simple, just a boy and his mother's long disintegration, but the journey is darkly complicated, heartbreaking, beautiful as hell.' Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama
Glen David Gold was born and grew up in California, where he currently lives. His first novel, CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL was published in 2001, when it was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and has been translated into 14 languages. His second novel, SUNNYSIDE, was published in 2009. His short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Playboy and McSweeney's.
Remarkable . . . The product of nine years of work and a lifetime of reflection, the book is full of humour, unflinching reflection and flashes of horror. And it exudes tremendous empathy for his mother . . . Gold's book is funnier and more hopeful than any story about a child's abandonment and a parent's descent into terrifying chaos has a right to be. — The Times
Gold's heartbreaking, brave book deals with his tangled, troubled and troubling relationship with his tempestuous mother and, with insightful introspection, he reveals how it has affected all his other relationships. It's a shocking read, describing a shattered childhood, a complicated adolescence and an adulthood that finds him happy and whole. — Book of the Month, Psychologies
Gold's sentences reflect the surface of the 1970s perfectly . . . Gold's novelistic handling of these moments is brilliant . . . It's a dazzlingly insightful account how the smart children of emotionally 'shattered' adults attempt to hold themselves and their parents together as they grow . . . Gold says he is finally happy. He's achieved this state by letting go of his need to explain and save his mother. He broke the bonds of her 'terrible love'. And like his muse, Houdini, Gold has made a moving public spectacle of his escape. — Helen R. Brown, Spectator
An extraordinary memoir . . . It's a tale of a boy's moral and sentimental education, with all the febrile moods and heart-stopping lurches of a Donna Tartt epic . . . There's something painfully sweet about this memoir, particularly the way Gold wills himself to extract something of value from the pain inflicted by irresponsible adults . . . smart, generous, and gripping until the very last pages. It's one of the best books I've read in 2018. — Joanna Thomas-Corr, New Statesman
Remarkable . . . It's a tale of disintegrating relationships, bad choices, guilt, panic, hurt and weighty sadness so well told, with such lucidity and honesty, it's almost frightening to read . . . Gold wears his wisdom and novelist's powers of observation lightly, remaining beguilingly modest and likeable to the end. — Jane Graham, Big Issue
Equally subtle and shocking, as clear-eyed about how the sins of the parent are visited on the child as it is generous and loving . . . It touches lightly on the set pieces, bizarre incidents and bravura descriptions that readers of Gold's bestselling novels, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, will treasure . . . it never feels over-worked or weighed down with detail . . . You cannot read it and remain unchanged. — Maria Farrell, Irish Times
Imagine Home Alone with a kid who is part Salvador Dali, part Holden Caulfield . . . an extraordinary book about growing up in California . . . Gold's childhood is much more than merely interesting; it is riveting . . . [his] knack for devastating insights are a marvel to read . . . an audacious, boundary-shattering work that will be talked about for a very long time. — Los Angeles Times
Ambitious and brave — New York Times
One helluva ride . . . in his capable hands even the smallest events seem revelatory. Each dimwitted move his mother makes reads as more bonkers (and undeniably sad) than the last. Each time Gold throws himself into love, it's like Orpheus trying to win back Eurydice. When combined with his deadpan delivery and wry sense of humor, each obstacle to overcome or hoop to jump through takes on a life of its own . . . wickedly intelligent, wildly imaginative (well, in some ways) and everything in between. — San Francisco Chronicle
A banquet of vivacity, shrewdness and wit, a soiree of heart-wreck wised up by humour. . . One of the myriad delights of this memoir is its revealing vista onto the ethos of San Francisco in the 70s and Los Angeles in the '80s, deleted worlds in which outrageous characters stagger and strive. . . Gold is a dynamic writer outfitted in wisdom and verve, one whose sentences you'll want to remember. — William Giraldi, Washington Post
Dazzling . . . Beautiful and deft, witty and searing, like a playful song with a persistent bass line of unresolved grief. I can't stop thinking about it. — Janet Fitch, author of The Revolution of Marina M. and White Oleander
We expect the story of a boy and his mother ought to go a certain way. I Will Be Complete goes in ways you'd never expect. The people shatter, reassemble themselves, and shatter all over again. The prose is crystalline, hard as real diamonds, flashing, revealing. The story is simple, just a boy and his mother's long disintegration, but the journey is darkly complicated, heartbreaking, beautiful as hell — Mark Childress, author of CRAZY IN ALABAMA
Glen David Gold is one of the best storytellers working today. He could write about anything and make it gripping. As it turns out, he also has one hell of a story to tell. — Joseph Fink, author of WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE
An extraordinary account of an extraordinary life. Gold captures with stunning clarity the emotional chaos he grew up in, and that made him the brilliant writer he is now. — Lev Grossman, author of THE MAGICIANS
I Will Be Complete is the best memoir I've read in years. It's likely the best memoir published in years. Gold's a novelist and this book reads like the best fiction. It's exciting, beautiful, and clear-eyed in a way most memoirs aren't. Oh, and you'll never forget this charming, intelligent, unique narrator. — Darin Strauss, author of HALF A LIFE and CHANG AND ENG
A fine, funny, discomfiting book. And very candid. — Teddy Jamieson, Sunday Herald