“What is your favorite comedy?” my hairdresser asked as we talked about movies. “Being There,” I said without so much as a pause naming the film based on the classic by Jerzy Kosinski. Add truth to the comedy/drama genre mix and I might as easily have said Riding in Cars With Boys. I liked it so much, I read the memoir on which it is based.
Based on her own experience, Beverly Donofrio’s memoir is both confessional and redemptive. Having made what seems, to her parents immediately and not long afterwards to Beverly, too, a bad decision, the youth finds herself pregnant at 17 and married to a drug addict barely able to provide a roof over their heads. Beverly, divorced with son in tow, is able to begin clawing her way hand over hand out of poverty when the doors of the prestigious Wesleyan University open to her at age 24.
On graduation Beverly packs herself and her son and moves to New York City where in 1988, according to a 2011 interview with Amye Archer in Hippocampus Magazine, she sells her memoir based on two memoir articles and a five-page proposal. Donofrio illuminates the path to life narrative good enough to find an audience saying, “Although one tries to tell the truth, in order to make a story readable, one must choose what is told and what is omitted, enforce a structure, a story arc, impose meaning on raw life.”