I Will Be Complete: A Memoir
From the best-selling author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, a big-hearted memoir told in three parts: about growing up in the wake of the destructive choices of an extremely unconventional mother.
Glen David Gold was raised rich, briefly, in southern California at the end of the go-go 1960s. But his father's fortune disappears, his parents divorce, and Glen falls out of his well-curated life and into San Francisco at the epicenter of the Me Decade: the inimitable '70s. Gold grows up with his mother, among con men and get-rich schemes. Then, one afternoon when he's twelve, she moves to New York without telling him, leaving him to fend for himself. I Will Be Complete is the story of how Gold copes, honing a keen wit and learning how to fill in the emotional gaps: "I feel love and then it's like I'm driving on black ice with no contact against the road."
He leads us though his early salvation at boarding school; his dream job at an independent bookstore in Los Angeles in 1983; a punk rock riot; a romance with a femme fatale to the soundtrack of R.E.M.; and his attempts to forge a career as a writer. Along the way, Gold becomes increasingly fascinated with his father's self-described "cheerful amorality" and estranged from his mother, who lives with her soulmate, a man who threatens to kill her. Clear-eyed and heartbreaking, Gold's story ultimately speaks to everyone who has struggled with the complexity of parental bonds by searching for—and finding—autonomy.
Praise for Glen David Gold and I Will Be Complete:
“Glen David Gold is one of the best storytellers working today. He could write about anything and make it gripping. As it turns out, he also has one hell of a story to tell.” — Joseph Fink, co-author of Welcome to Night Vale
“An extraordinary account of an extraordinary life. Gold captures with stunning clarity the emotional chaos he grew up in, and that made him the brilliant writer he is now.” — Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians
“I Will Be Complete is the best memoir I’ve read in years. It’s likely the best memoir published in years. Gold’s a novelist and this book reads like the best fiction. It’s exciting, beautiful, and clear-eyed in a way most memoirs aren’t. Oh, and you’ll never forget this charming, intelligent, unique narrator.” — Darin Strauss, author of National Book Critics Circle Award winner Half a Life and Chang and Eng
“In this dazzling memoir, Glen David Gold shows us the dark side of the Auntie Mame myth. Raised by an unreliable bohemian mother in 1970s California, Gold follows the trail of damage she leaves, marking his adolescence and young manhood, until he decides he must choose between being ‘complete’ and emotionally whole. Beautiful and deft, witty and searing, like a playful song with a persistent bass line of unresolved grief. I can’t stop thinking about it.” — Janet Fitch, author of The Revolution of Marina M. and White Oleander
“We expect the story of a boy and his mother ought to go a certain way. I Will Be Complete goes in ways you’d never expect. The people shatter, reassemble themselves, and shatter all over again. The prose is crystalline, hard as real diamonds, flashing, revealing. The story is simple, just a boy and his mother’s long disintegration, but the journey is darkly complicated, heartbreaking, beautiful as hell.” Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama
“Engaging... A strong memoir that oozes with the excitement of a life well-lived—and well-analyzed... Gold writes searchingly about the tenuous relationship with his mother that he fostered, watched decay, and eventually restored... This struggle made him particularly insightful.” — Kirkus Reviews