Acne A Memoir

Laura Chinn2022
Laura Chinn tells her by turns horrifying and hilarious story of growing up with non-conformist, pre-occupied parents and countless family tragedies, including really bad, chronic acne, her brother's tragic decline from brain cancer, and how she found happiness despite everything. Despite having blonde hair and fair skin, Laura Chinn is half-Black, the daughter of a Black father and a white mother, which on its own makes for some both hilarious and insightful looks at identity. Laura's parents--both Scientologists and nonconformists in myriad ways--got divorced early in Laura's childhood, and she spent her teen years ping-ponging back and forth between Clearwater, Florida and Los Angeles (with an extended stint in Tijuana for good measure). Laura lived alone and raised herself for long periods of time (don't worry, an alcoholic stepdad was always nearby to supervise), lost many family members to horrific tragedies, dropped out of high school in her teens, and was all the while completely obsessed with and scarred by her severe acne condition. This story is not a sad story. There is Jello-wrestling. There is a story about what it means to "borrow mayonnaise" from your cute new neighbor. There is information about whether you can drink gallons of sangria while taking unregulated Accutane acquired in Mexico. But mostly there is love, and ultimately there is redemption. Laura shows how with grit and determination and an openness to the good in the world, we can overcome almost anything to find love, happiness, and yes, even clear skin.
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Photo of Jeannette Ordas
Jeannette Ordas@kickpleat
4 stars
Feb 26, 2023