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My dad owned and ran a mortgage company for nearly twenty years until he sold it for a large sum and bought himself his dream car, a flashy Corvette that looked like the Batmobile, and a vacation condo in Maui.

In this wrenching, vivid account, Garza explores her sexual fixations and relives the series of disastrous relationships and one-night stands that haunt her as she runs from one side of the world to the other in a futile attempt to break free of her habits―from East Los Angeles to Hawaii and Southeast Asia, through the brothels of Bangkok and the yoga studios of Bali to disappointing stabs at twelve-steps, therapy, and rehab back home.

Garza’s terror at digging so deeply into her history to understand her anxieties is palpable, as is her exhilaration when she begins to believe she might just be free of them.

And yet there is no false hope or prepackaged sense of redemption.

I grew up in the early eighties in Montebello, California, Southeast LA, where teenage pregnancy was on the rise and every Mexican restaurant claimed to have the best tacos north of the border. I often tell people now that I come from LA, or sometimes East LA if I want to hint at my Latino roots.

Living rooms were adorned with framed pictures of Jesus or the Virgin, and everyone believed in heaven and hell—not as abstract ideas, but as very real places. LA is Hollywood glamour, money, and prestige; East LA screams danger, gangs, and irrefutable street cred. Montebello and all Southeast LA, home to cities like Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, and Norwalk, were small, mediocre, boring.

In 2010, she earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Columbia University. If you weren’t Catholic, to whom would you turn for help? And I didn’t even want to think of what happened to them after death.

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