Don't Spend it All on Candy is a coming-of-age, humorous memoir about growing up on welfare in the 1980s. The story captures the struggles of a family as it was pulled apart by poverty and alcohol, yet bound by witty—and sometimes
The cast of characters reads like
fiction,but it is actually truth. There’s the father, the sarcastic, anti-government, alcoholic, and general ne’er-do-well. He moved his family from state to state, only to leave them again for years at a time in search of construction work. He’d return with empty pockets and bizarre interests such as ESP, pyramid power, and telekinesis. The mother, an Irish Catholic, stayed devoted to him.
Her lack of education and access to transportation in a small town led to a dependence upon welfare.Two older sisters complete the picture, acting as sources of tension and strength throughout the book. And then there’s the narrator, the youngest—the snoop, the clown, and the
In the spirit of memoirs such as Blackbird and Angela’s Ashes, the narrative addresses serious issues while avoiding self-pity. Don’t Spend it All on Candy continuously comes back to the humor that sustained them while celebrating the tenacity that led all three daughters to break the cycle of poverty.