Born in WV; children: two daughters.
Beauty before Comfort: A Memoir, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including GQ.
Allison Glock's first book, Beauty before Comfort: A Memoir, is a tribute to her maternal grandmother, who died in 2002, and has been described by a Kirkus Reviews contributor as "a memoir as elemental as its subject: pulsing, fetching, leaving a strong afterglow." In the book Glock writes that Aneita Jean Blair was born in Chester, West Virginia, in a pottery-making community that relied on the clean clay from the shores of the Ohio River. The pottery factories provided the sole source of work, and the families were poor. As Aneita reached puberty, she began to realize she could use her beauty to her benefit: she began collecting boys, then men, searching for the one who could give her more than life in the little town. However, she eventually married Donald Thornberry, a potter, and remained in West Virginia.
Tony Earley noted in the New York Times Book Review that between puberty and marriage, "the possibility of securing for themselves Jeannie Blair's delectable (and prominently displayed) favors at least gave the otherwise down-on-their-luck men of the northern West Virginia panhandle something to hope for." The couple had three daughters, and Aneita was an unconventional mother, always taken with her good looks and beauty, advice about which she passed on to her daughters. Earley said that her story "varies only in its particulars from who knows how many other tales of beauty and talent blooming furiously in some American backwater, witnessed only by people who, possessing no other resources, grind it up to ameliorate their own anonymous hungers. We mistake the tale of the starlet discovered in the drugstore as the archetypal American story, when it's the story, most often untold, of the beauty who goes undiscovered, the voice that goes unheard, that comes closer to getting right who we actually are."
Los Angeles Times reviewer Merle Rubin wrote that "there's more to this memoir than a celebration of one woman's narcissism. It is also a vivid evocation of the imperiled natural beauty of this region of mines and potteries, the hardships of the Depression, and the charms of small-town life as well as its shibboleths, petty snobberies, and sheer boredom. Glock writes with enormous zest, and her book is a delight to read: funny, forceful, down-to-earth."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Glock, Allison, Beauty before Comfort: A Memoir, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Booklist, May 1, 2003, Elsa Gaztambide, review of Beauty before Comfort: A Memoir, p. 1568.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2003, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. 360.
Library Journal, August, 2003, Gene Shaw, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. 96.
Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2003, Merle Rubin, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. E10.
New York Times Book Review, August 10, 2003, Tony Earley, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. 14.
People, May 12, 2003, Joyce Cohen, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. 47.
Publishers Weekly, March 3, 2003, review of Beauty before Comfort, p. 61.*