Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad by Ann K. Howley
Ann K. Howley
She bring to life: the sixties and her growing up in a conservative family in the midst of “… Peace-loving hippies, druggies and other flaky people (started) hanging out at Venice Beach, giving that town a permanent reputation as a destination for the weird.
Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad is a wry, humorous coming of age memoir about a well-intentioned “problem child” raised by conservative, evangelical Christian parents in Southern California during the Sixties and Seventies.
As she naively stumbles through her youth and young adulthood, one misadventure after another, she also struggles to reconcile her ultra-Christian upbringing with women’s liberation, prejudice, protest and poverty during this turbulent era, eventually gaining a different perspective of faith in a world more complicated, terrifying and wonderful than she expected.
About Ann K. Howley:
Ann K. Howley is a Wonder Bread, middle-class girl who has never thrown a punch, is cursed with a big bottom, and who celebrated a personal milestone when she finally drummed up the nerve to call a crabby lady a b*tch.
She is a regular contributor to Pittsburgh Parent Magazine and her essays have appeared in publications nationwide, including skirt! Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, LA Reader, the Mirror newspapers, Writer’s News Weekly, Clever Magazine, and The Inkwell.
A wife and mom, Ann resides in Pennsylvania. Although she is an avid runner, hiker and biker, she still can’t keep up with her uber-athletic husband or her dog, who is about 90 in dog years.
Review by Gisela Hausmann, author:
Why do we care about autobiographies? Because we want to “feel” the impressions real people, who have lived through the times, have had. This is exactly where Ann Howley’s stories excel: She bring to life: the sixties and her growing up in a conservative family in the midst of “… Peace-loving hippies, druggies and other flaky people (started) hanging out at Venice Beach, giving that town a permanent reputation as a destination for the weird. It was an era of self-empowerment. Black Panthers raised their fists, women burned their bras, anti-war protesters marched and yelled slogans, and a couple of thugs in South Central Los Angeles upped the gang violence ante by forming the notorious Crips gang.”
Young Ann’s interests are far more humble, though, “… even as a youngster, I recognized signs that maybe the world was more muddled and gray than I thought. The Beatles were my first clue.”
The fact that her mother threw away her aunt Kim’s gift, “… the album cover that displayed John, Paul, Ringo and George decked out in their bizarre, psychedelic, hallucinogenic glory…” may have sent her on the path to experiencing the many adventures he did.
Ann’s stories are funny. There are her family’s pets, the “Bunnies, Squishies and Snakes”, Ann roots for the Squishy, a “stupid duck” in the eyes of her mother. In Ann’s eyes the duck too too represents the underdogs and true to the sixties’ philosophies she roots “for the weak, the poor and oppressed, even it was a stupid duck.”
In her book Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad Ann Howley shares her impressions about TV-shows, camping, Jerry Falwell, Santa Claus, and how she hated Twiggy. I am pretty she was not alone with that, but Ann actually tells us how it felt being a teenager while Twiggy was the ideal beauty of the days. I just could not help but laugh. Even funnier is “A Jesus Freak Meets A Drug Freak.” There are also stories about the landing on the moon and double knit polyester. Very cool is that Ann forms her own opinions. by herself, they are not influenced by social media, she alone digs her way through the confusion of the sixties, her own and her generation’s identity crisis, and shares her memories thereof.
5 stars for Ann’s Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad – it’s funny, real, and heartwarming.