|Cover of The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir|
Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog.
My name is Laurie Sandell and I'm the author of The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir, The story is about growing up with my larger-than-life Argentine father, and slowly coming to realize that everything he'd told my family was a lie.
I think because my father was such a fantastic storyteller, everything he said--no matter how wild the tale--felt like the truth. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world when my father visited my sixth grade class and told them stories about smuggling horses through the jungles of Brazil, and escaping from an Argentine prison and swimming across the River Paranar, and catching a grenade in his helmet and tossing it back to its sender in Vietnam.
When I was in high school, he told me tales of his friendship with Pope John Paul II, and how he'd parachuted into the jungle with General Westmoreland, and had written position papers for Henry Kissinger. And again, I was in awe.
Years later, when I became a celebrity interviewer for Glamour magazine--sitting across from the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, and J. Lo, and Halle Berry--I felt the same feeling of excitement I'd felt in the presence of my "original celebrity," my father. So when it all fell apart and I realized his stories were nothing more than that--stories--I had to rebuild my own sense of identity from scratch.
It's interesting, when you have an immigrant parent, because identity is already such a strong and yet malleable thing: My father took enormous pride in his American citizenship, yet he was never really "of" America. He retained the strong accent of his youth.
He was brilliant, yet unable to rise through the ranks professionally (or legally). And yet no matter the adversity he faced, he felt, staunchly, that he was living in the greatest country in the world, where anything was possible. I sometimes reflect on the fact that much of the success I've had comes from lessons I've learned from my father--some directly, some in spite of what he taught me.
I hope you enjoy the book, and feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions--I'd love to hear your feedback!
All the best,