Holloway, Monica

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Holloway, Monica




Writer, actor, and novelist.


Driving with Dead People (memoir), Simon Spotlight Entertainment (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to anthologies, including Mommy Wars.


Monica Holloway is the pseudonym of a former actress turned memoirist. In Driving with Dead People, Holloway's memoir of her turbulent childhood and adolescence, she explores how death formed a framework that helped shape her youth and hide her memories of abuse by a death-obsessed father. In the book she describes the eccentricities of her family, particularly her father's intense interest in gore and fatal accidents. She relates how he would hurry to the scene of gruesome automobile accidents and other traumatic events with his movie camera, gleefully recording the scenes of carnage that he would later show at family gatherings. Her mother, on the other hand, was neglectful and self-absorbed, often more interested in her own pursuits than the welfare of her children. Holloway describes the friendship she developed with the daughter of the local mortician and how she was able to indulge her own fascination with death through access to postmortem procedures, coffins, and undertaking equipment. As teenagers, the two girls would earn extra money driving the company hearse to the airport to retrieve bodies. For Holloway, her life seemed better nestled within the cushions of a casket than at home, where she was often told that her birth was a mistake.

Holloway intertwines her story with that of her older siblings, a brother and two sisters, and how they all eventually suffered from the combination of abuse and neglect. Holloway herself developed a pattern of uncontrollable bed-wetting and compulsive lying, which helped conceal the memories of abuse. Her brother coped through alcoholism, one sister through total denial, and the other through depression and suicidal tendencies. In later life, when the memories of abuse begin to resurface for an older sister and herself, Holloway and her siblings must relive the trauma and find the strength to come to terms with their troubled past.

"Sections of this memoir are eerily lovely, but the overall narrative doesn't hold together," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Other critics, however, wrote more favorably of the work. Holloway's family story "sings with the power of a disenfranchised woman finally finding her own voice, and her brutal memoir is hard to forget," commented a Publishers Weekly critic. Her memoir 'shines because of her deft handling of the small details while painstakingly assembling the larger picture," observed Deborah Donovan, writing in Booklist. If the book "qualifies as a misery memoir—and, since it chronicles a childhood scarred by abusive parenting, it probably does—it is one written with unexpected jauntiness," observed Benedicte Page in the Bookseller, who also called Holloway's memoir "funny and eccentric."



Driving with Dead People (memoir), Simon Spotlight Entertainment (New York, NY), 2007.


Booklist, January 1, 2007, Deborah Donovan, review of Driving with Dead People, p. 46.

Bookseller, June 1, 2007, Benedicte Page, "My Life in the Morgue: Monica Holloway Escaped an Unbearable Childhood by Hanging Out at the Local Funeral Home," profile of Monica Holloway, p. 18.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of Driving with Dead People, p. 1256; March 1, 2007, review of Driving with Dead People, p. S5.

Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Dorris Douglas, review of Driving with Dead People, p. 118.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 2007, review of Driving with Dead People, p. 180.

Toronto Star, April 29, 2007, Kim Hughes, "True-Life Adoptee's Tale Shows Novelist's Craft," review of Driving with Dead People.


Graffiti,http://www.grafwv.com/ (September 1, 2007), Terri Schlichenmeyer, "The Bookworm Sez: Your Parents' Fault," review of Driving with Dead People.

Monica Holloway Home Page,http://www.monicaholloway.com (September 1, 2007).

Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (September 1, 2007), biography of Monica Holloway.