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The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,747 Ratings  ·  301 Reviews
Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress ...more
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Published July 29th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published July 18th 2009)
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Elevate Difference
The disenchantment of our parents, when we realize they’re humans too, is an unpleasant event of growing up. We all handle it differently. For Laurie Sandell, she put it into a graphic novel, The Impostor’s Daughter: A True Memoir. In a little less than 250 beautifully painted pages, Sandell shamelessly shows each and every skeleton in her closet—starting from childhood and ending as her young adult self—and the battles she fights to expose the lies about her larger-than-life father and form a n ...more
I have been tapping my foot impatiently over this book; I heard Sandell interviewed on some NPR show and couldn't wait to get it. My library had it in its system since sometime back in JUNE and somehow it only NOW got onto the acutal SHELVES of the library where one could actually get one's HANDS on it. HMPH!!!

But I don't think my impatience really colored my opinion, I swear. I love the artwork, and I liked the story, but I have to say I found this a tiny bit shallow. And I feel like there were
Feb 21, 2014 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If this gossip columnist had simply stayed the course of the story about her scammer dad, as advertised, this would have been a 4-star book. However, she wanted to tell us about problems with prescription meds, her failed relationship with a perfectly nice guy who was somehow holding her back, and her Lifetime Channel version of rehab.

Well, yeah, mistakes were the editing of this graphic novel, that's for sure.

These distracting side stories are common. Lots of people go to rehab. But
Laurie Sandell grew up hearing her father's stories about his time as a Green Beret in Vietnam, his medals, his PhDs, his time teaching at Stanford, and his thriving business investments. In college, she applies for a credit card, only to find out that her father had taken out multiple cards in her name, and the names of both of her sisters, and her mother's name... Digging further, she discovers that her father has no college degrees, never taught at Stanford, never got a medal in the army, and ...more
Sandell, who has the somewhat enviable job of interviewing celebrities for women's magazines, recounts in graphic novel form how she grew up awed by a magnetic, brilliant father who claimed all manner of extraoardinary achievements, and how in adulthood, she discovered he was basically a liar, con-man, and narcissist. Despite intriguing premise, charming bright illustrations, and high production value (full color pages on glossy thick paperstock), not especially engaging on emotional level. The ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I've got a gender bias, but I think women are the masters of autobiographical comics. I know there's Jeffrey Brown and even R. Crumb, but didn't Aline Kominsky-Crumb set the whole genre in motion? This graphic memoir reminds me of Cancer Vixen in tone and art, but channels Fun House for me in Sandell's search to understand herself by understanding her father. I love her honesty and humor and her struggle to know herself, which I think is what makes women's autobiographical comics unique. ...more
Aug 23, 2009 Richard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not since Jessie Spano's struggle with No-Doz has there been such a gripping, gritty portrayal of addiction. The story of Sandell's conman father is interesting, but most of the book is taken up with the boring details of Sandell's boring life. She interviews self-obsessed celebrities and marvels at her ability to get them to talk about themselves (How in the world did she get Carmen Electra to open up? It's magic!). She spends a billion pages on her completely bland love affair. She dramaticall ...more
If strong language offends you, please do not read this review. Or at least please don't complain to me about it.

I thought this was going to be more interesting. I think if Sandell would have gone into more depth about her father and his secrets instead of turning this into a rehab story this book would have been more successful.

I understood her feelings of wanting to know the truth, getting all the family secrets out in the open, trying to understand her father's (and mother's) life. I didn't
Hannah  Messler
So this is a memoir written by a magazine writer (Vogue? Something? She writes for a fashion magazine), in graphic novel format, about a young woman discovering that her father is a fraud. And not in the way we all do, where, after adolescence, we discover that our dads aren't heroes. Or I guess we don't all do that, but you know what I mean. Her father is an actual fraud, a liar, to his family, to employers, to the government, to money lenders. It's a great premise.
The book doesn't really deliv
Nov 21, 2010 christa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When Laurie Sandell, if that is her real last name, was growing up, her father would have the mail stopped every time he went out of town. If, by some twist, Laurie did get her hands on the delivery, she would find envelopes addressed to all sorts of people she had never heard of.

The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell, a chronicler of celebrity stories and editor at Glamour, is a graphic memoir recounting a childhood spent with a mysterious father who haslarger-than-life stories of honors, aw
Feb 14, 2010 Trin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A graphic memoir, which I am apparently okay with. Unlike The Liar’s Club, this is more about Sandell’s life as an adult (and her childhood was a whole lot less shitty than Mary Karr’s, anyway). I really like Sandell’s art, and the way it seems to become more sophisticated when she’s illustrating the adult portions rather than the childhood ones—a nice Joycean touch. I’m a little bit “eh” about the idea that the rehab clinic recommended to you by Ashley Judd can solve all your problems, but then ...more

This is a one-sitting kind of book -- a graphic memoir with honesty, humor and some larger than life characters, chiefly Sandell's father, who somehow managed to lie about his past and credentials and defraud numerous people through the years without ever spending any time in jail.

The memoir begins with Sandell's childhood, where she was the favorite of her outrageously colorful father, who started as a college professor and later moved on (after his supervisors discovered his fake credentials)
Kelley Tackett
Mar 07, 2013 Kelley Tackett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this 5 stars but Ashley Judd was mentioned too many times. It's fine to drop names, just don't drop hers.
Elizabeth  (Thoughts From an Evil Overlord)
Flipping through The Imposter's Daughter the colorful images really appealed to me, just as the cover had. I knew that The Impostor's Daughter was not a book to be read in bed. I got an iced tea, went out on the deck and started reading. I was immediately HOOKED! I love hearing stories about people's families, the soil and nutrients from which the plant grew, so to speak. Learning what went in to making the person I know.
Laurie Sandell, the author and illustrator of The Impostor's Daughter broug
Aug 14, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Impostor’s Daughter by Laurie Sandell was the first graphic book I’ve ever read. I’m not sure if I would have ever picked up a graphic anything, if this book hadn’t been a memoir. The idea of mixing the two seemed like an easy way to broach the genre. And two hours later, I had read the book cover to cover.

The author decides to write an article on her remarkable pop. While fact checking, she uncovers that his stories are fiction. More research uncovers lawsuits stemming from bad business de
Aug 24, 2009 Marian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite my 3-star review, I really liked The Impostor's Daughter. It was really entertaining and a quick read. But it didn't stick with me the way the best books should. Sandell's story is interesting, but she skimmed over aspects of her life that I would have loved to hear more about. Whether she was uncomfortable divulging (which I actually highly doubt given a lot of the content) or limited by the "graphic novel" status, it felt a little incomplete.
Though, as both a character in the book and
Alyce (At Home With Books)
My first thought upon receiving this book was that the title was mispelled. However, according to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary "impostor" can be spelled as it appears in the title, and it can also be spelled "imposter" (which was the spelling that I knew).

Having satisfied my inner spelling geek, I was able to crack this book open and settle in for a fascinating read. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is a graphic memoir. The drawings are easy to comprehend and remind me a little bi
Aug 05, 2009 Glenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I really enjoyed this "graphic memoir". It was a unique concept. The author told the story of her life using a cartoon format. Her father was a very mysterious man while she was growing up and he seemed larger than life to his daughter, telling stories about heroic actions in Vietnam and working a clandestine job for the government. Later she grew to realize that he was not the man he said he was, and seemed to be involved in underhanded and illegal dealings.

She goes on to tell about her college
Wandering Librarians
This was a bit surreal. As someone that was raised by a nice Midwestern Scandinavian family, it seems like total fiction that someone's father would con not only strangers and employers but also his family members and personal friends. Taking not only their money but also their trust and twisting it until you don't know quite where you stand with any of your relationships.

The experiences that Laurie goes through, the fact that she lived in Israel and was an exotic dancer in Japan, make it seem a
Andrea Marley
Jul 21, 2013 Andrea Marley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book for disparate reasons.

First, I read a lot of graphic novels, and although its a favorite genre, I rarely come across a character thats like me. Although my Dad is not a con-man (possibly involved in international espionage), the girl herself is totally relatable. She's the most 'like me' I've come across when it comes to her career and relationship.

Secondly, and more deeply, I've gotten into many conversations recently about 'letting go of your story'. We all have a story (or s
Aug 25, 2009 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A month or so ago the publishers, Little, Brown sent me a copy of this interesting story. I've been slacking. I read it right away, but I've been dealing with school starting up and just being plain to lazy to blog. But this does deserve to be talked about.

I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I wasn't even aware that it was a memoir. The title is interesting in that mystery and or romance sort of way. Then I flipped through it....expecting to see print. Nope, pictures. At this point I was a b
Sep 03, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic, memoir
“Whenever my father went out of town, he had the mail stopped.”

Bill Sandell was an adventurous, larger than life, father. An ex-Green Beret, war hero, with a law degree and a P.H.D. He was both revered and feared by his children, especially Laurie, his oldest child. When Laurie was in her early twenties, she applied for her first credit card and was declined because of a bad credit record. It turns out several cards were already issued in her name and all of them were maxed out and unpaid. She f
Sep 05, 2009 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, memoir
Quick read, colorful pictures, could be a good introduction to graphic novels for women, especially since a lot of other graphic novels that offer entry into the genre have male leads. Laurie's father, an economics professor, tells wild and dramatic stories about his past, and won't ever let anyone else get the family's mail, which tends to come bearing all sorts of aliases and imaginary names. When Laurie reaches her twenties, she realizes her father has been lying a lot, and has taken out cred ...more
Two Readers in Love
Laurie Sandrell admits that she inherited a dubious gift from her troubled, mercurial father: she can seem to share intimacies while withholding any real emotional engagement. Unfortunately, much of the memoir itself feels the same way: willing to share the superficial aspects of the author's family life without sharing any of her more self-revealing insights. The premise is fascinating, but seems to wink at an ultimate self-awareness that never comes to fruition

I find the graphic novel is a me
I think this book was a bit of a bait and switch. Instead of interesting stories about the author's con man father, you get the self-indulgent recollections of a woman who thinks that her life and problems are far more interesting than they actually are. Oh goodness, you once had an affair with another woman? Oh dear, you occasionally drink an entire bottle of wine in an evening? Oh my, you're on a first name basis with B-list celebs? Yawn-I mean oh, how fascinating!
Jessica Journey
Sep 23, 2014 Jessica Journey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic
More than just fun to read, though it was, one word kept popping into my mind as I read Laurie Sandell's memoir: "brave." Her story was so honest, often raw & unflattering, that it created in me a sort of curious respect for the author. Speaking of curious, though, there was something that bothered me about "The Impostor's Daughter," and that's Laurie's father. I kept reading ravenously, in part because it's a graphic novel, and pretty pictured pages are so easy to flip, but more than that, ...more
The visual part was five stars. Clear and bold drawings meshed well with the story. The story was... eh. And yes, I realize this is someone's life and there's not much you can change about the facts, but I thought she dwelt on her celebrity interview list a little long. I think what really failed me is that I didn't get engaged to her as a character or person before she launched into her trouble with her dad. I wanted both more information on her father that I didn't get, and more information on ...more
Dec 17, 2014 donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made the mistake of reading some of the negative reviews before I finished this one. I don't agree 100% with them. I guess my newfound love for graphic novel memoirs by women are usually written by people who aren't in sororities or work for fashion magazines - i.e. people who may be a bit more like me. But I identified with some of Sandell's struggles and I enjoyed reading her story. To have a father like hers dominating your childhood and then breaking your trust in adulthood must be very di ...more
May 02, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those "I could not put it down" books. The fact that it is in graphic format makes the myriad of emotions the author experienced vivid and compelling.
Apr 16, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fascinating graphic memoir of a young woman's coming to terms with what it means in her life to have grown up with an overbearing but dynamic father whose past was likely entirely fabricated. She examines what does it mean to find the truth, and does the truth ultimately matter in how we relate to someone who demands both a child's love and adoration. To the critics who say the author focuses too much on her own life, I'd say they're missing the point of the book, which isn't just to tell ...more
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Laurie Sandell has written for Esquire, GQ, Glamour, Marie Claire and InStyle, among others, and has contributed cartoons to New York, Glamour, and the Wall Street Journal. Her first book, the graphic memoir The Impostor’s Daughter, was nominated for a 2009 Eisner Award. Her new book, Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family, was published by Little, Brown on October 31, 2011. She liv ...more
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