‘Affair’ isn’t a fair portrait
Heller McAlpin, in “Author again shares her family’s stories,” a generally positive Oct. 7 Book World review of Kathryn Harrison’s new memoir, “On Sunset,” characterized Harrison’s earlier memoir, “The Kiss,” as being “about the affair she had . . . with her long-estranged father.” I must assert that “affair” does not remotely describe what happened to Harrison.
When “The Kiss” came out, The Post’s Jonathan Yardley wrote, in a blistering review under the headline “Daddy’s Girl Cashes In,” that he found the memoir to be “slimy, repellent, meretricious, [and] cynical.” He particularly objected to the book’s commercial success and seemed to hate the author even more than the book. Nowhere in the review did he criticize Harrison’s minister father, long estranged from the family, who groomed, enticed, manipulated and finally seduced his own daughter.
I read that book, and the only mystery it left me with is how the poor young woman kept her sanity after such an experience. Yardley’s review was in 1997. Will victim-blaming ever end? Especially after the past month in Washington, I wonder.