My Blog Lyric Fire: Book to Binge On: “The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women” – By James Ellroy

After attending and volunteering at the Shedding Light on the Adoption Experience Conference in New York City over the weekend, I was drawn to select a Book to Binge on that delves into our fascination with mothers. Being a product of the foster care and adoption systems myself, I know all too well the impact the loss of a mother at an early age can have. Mine didn’t die, but it felt like a death when I was ripped away from her at age 2 and put up for adoption to only be reunited with her just 10 years ago. Crime writer James Ellroy experienced the loss of his mother permanently at age 10 when she was murdered. Her killer was never found. In “The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women,” Ellroy writes about his loss and how he views women as a result of it. I look forward to reading this book not only because I’ve always been a fan of his work, but I truly would like to get a taste of the male perspective regarding early mother loss.

Below is an excerpt from the New York Times book review. Also available is an audio podcast which further examines the work.


Death is Ellroy’s North Star, his entire body of work seemingly guided by the specter of his mother, Geneva Hilliker (known as Jean), an industrial nurse who was strangled outside Los Angeles by a yet-unidentified killer when he was 10. Now 62, the author has already clinically dissected the physical aspects of this crime, down to the final contents of the victim’s stomach (“orange-yellow masses resembling carrots or squash”), in a 1996 investigatory memoir, “My Dark Places,” that displayed a chilling but probably necessary orderliness. “The Hilliker Curse” is a warmer, sloppier addendum — an attempt at emotional autopsy. It’s a task made infinitely more complex because young James wished Jean Hilliker dead three months before her murder, after a tussle about custody arrangements with his father (a former “chief stooge” for Rita Hayworth).

Click link for complete book review:

Want more? Click here to listen to the podcast: The Hilliker Curse Podcast

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Sep 26, 2010 | Posted by in Blog, Books to Binge On | Comments Off on My Blog Lyric Fire: Book to Binge On: “The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women” – By James Ellroy
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