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.
“Extraordinary... Riveting... An audacious, boundary-shattering work that will be talked about for a very long time... Imagine ‘Home Alone’ with a kid who is part Salvador Dali, part Holden Caulfield... Gold’s knack for devastating insights is a marvel to read... And he delivers a conclusion for the ages.” — Los Angeles Times
“A banquet of vivacity, shrewdness and wit, a soiree of heart-wreck wised up by humor... The opening 200 pages are among the most charismatic autobiographical reckonings you will read this year, aglow with rare and exquisite inventories of the self... Gold is a dynamic writer outfitted in wisdom and verve, one whose sentences you’ll want to remember.” — Washington Post
“The creative and emotional lives of ‘men raised by shattered women’ are seldom told in the first person, and almost never with the compassion of distance and immediacy of observation and detail seen here. The memoir is equally subtle and shocking, as clear-eyed about how the sins of the parent are visited on the child as it is generous and loving... You cannot read it and remain unchanged.” — Maria Farrell, Irish Times
“One helluva ride Revelatory... Much like Jeannette Walls’ relationship with her mother in The Glass Castle or Augusten Burroughs’ accounts in Running with Scissors... Wickedly intelligent and wildly imaginative.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“A riveting, sneakily emotional book... Gold’s story is a uniquely awful one, but the experience of reading I Will Be Complete is anything but. The book unfolds like a novel and his first-person narrative is wry, funny, and refreshingly objective.” — The Portland Mercury
“Glen David Gold is best known for rich, panoramic novels such as Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside... I suspect that in time his extraordinary memoir will eclipse all that... His parents inadvertently gifted their son a symphonic riches-to-rags-to-riches story... It’s the tale of a boy’s moral and sentimental education, with all the febrile moods and heart-stopping lurches of a Donna Tartt epic... Smart, generous and gripping until the very last pages. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2018.” — Johanna Thomas-Corr, The New Statesman (UK)
“Dazzlingly insightful... Brilliant... Moving.” — Helen R. Brown, The Spectator
“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
“A searching memoir.” — O magazine
“So well told, with such lucidity and honesty, it’s almost frightening to read... But Gold wears his wisdom and novelist’s powers of observation lightly, remaining beguilingly modest and likeable to the end.” — Jane Graham, The Big Issue (UK)
“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
“Remarkable... The product of nine years of work and a lifetime of reflection, the book is full of humour, unflinching reflection and flashes of horror. And it exudes tremendous empathy for his mother... Gold’s book is funnier and more hopeful than any story about a child’s abandonment and a parent’s descent into terrifying chaos has a right to be.” — The Sunday Times (UK)
“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
“Both funny and profoundly moving.” — Sunday Express (UK)
“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
“Gold’s heartbreaking, brave book deals with his tangled, troubled and troubling relationship with his tempestuous mother and, with insightful introspection, he reveals how it has affected all his other relationships. It’s a shocking read.” — Psychologies (UK)
“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.” — Kirkus Reviews