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Extended Audio Sample Her Last Death: A Memoir Audiobook, by Susanna Sonnenberg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,253 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susanna Sonnenberg Narrator: Susanna Sonnenberg Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9780743569811
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Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell Susanna her mother is in a coma after a car accident. She might not live. Any daughter would rush the thousands of miles to her mother's bedside. But Susanna cannot bring herself to go. Her courageous memoir explains why.

Glamorous, charismatic and a compulsive liar, Susanna's mother seduced everyone who entered her orbit. With outrageous behavior and judgment tinged by drug use, she taught her child the art of sex and the benefits of lying. Susanna struggled to break out of this compelling world, determined, as many daughters are, not to become her mother.

Sonnenberg mines tender and startling memories as she tells of her fierce resolve to forge her independence, to become a woman capable of trust, and to be a good mother to her own children. Her Last Death is riveting, disarming and stunningly told. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Her Last Death is an emotional thriller. It is a manual for men and smart, searching individuals of any age or economic level. It is a disturbing story, yet at the end you might feel like cheering. It is a beautiful, beautiful book and I plan to give it to my nearest and dearest.” 

    Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes

  • “The wonder of this memoir is that the author survived her traumatic childhood and found a way of turning her memories into a fiercely observed, fluently written book…Ms. Sonnenberg [is] immensely gifted.” 

    Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

  • “One of the best memoirs to come on the scene since Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle…Precise, unsparing, and luminous prose. Heartbreaking yet wickedly entertaining…Highly recommended.” 

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A deeply personal account…Tragic but arresting—a worthy companion to Simone de Beauvoir’s and Vivian Gornick’s explorations of the complicated mother-daughter dynamic.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Xenia0201 | 2/11/2014

    " This is written as a memoir so I am assuming all of this story is true, though it's completely against the odds how someone can end up so grounded by having a mother like Sonnenberg did. Sure, she made a few bad choices, but doesn't everyone? Sonnenberg's story is just unreal. If you're like me, you'll find yourself screaming out loud in disbelief at the bizarre inappropriateness of all of Sonneberg's mother's antics and wonder how no one got committed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 2/4/2014

    " it was OK - Glass Castle was better - I do not know if the author has had enough time to truly heal from the wounds inflicted by her mother - book does demonstate that many of us are lucky to get out alive - due to our parents stuggles which they then pass on - sad - some humor - very real "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alejandra | 1/31/2014

    " Kinda makes me feel pretty proud of myself as a mother. The book was interesting but I didn't think Ms Sonnenberg was good at maintaining continuity in her book. At the end when Susanna goes back to talk to the young men her mother told her she seduced she doesn't offer enough information or fills out the reason her mother wanted her to think she was so wild. The book jumps from her mother as very sexual to a drug addict to an injured back. It confused me. Her father's role wasn't explained either and she doesn't seem to lay any blame on her father just her mother who regardless of what she did always maintained her family in the only way she knew how. There's also a part in the book towards the end where Susanna gets drunk and kind of insinuates how difficult it must have been for her mother to maintain her composure under the influence. The book could have been better written. Susanna comes off as a bit spoiled. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bree Hobgood | 1/29/2014

    " I would give this book a 3.5. It was quite riveting in the beginning...nothing like reading about a dysfunctional childhood! But, I was not as interested in her dysfunctional early adulthood. It was a fun and quick read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Camie | 1/27/2014

    " while I am sorry for how the author was raised, I just don't feel sorry for her. I feel the author is looking more for attention through documenting her life experiences than wanting to let the reader rejoice in how she overcame the circumstance of her youth and triumphed. The author comes across as spoiled and more than happy to point the finger at her mom for any mistakes the author made have made as an adult, rather than take responsiblity for for her own actions. Life is full of choices - you can choose to go beyond past situations and rise above them or you can choose to blame your parents, upbringing, bad teachers, awful boyfriends or whatever and continue wallowing in the mud of the past. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 1/20/2014

    " ok for a memior, not great "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 S. Fraser | 1/18/2014

    " I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as I had imagined "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorien | 1/12/2014

    " so far... to those who say the mother/family situations in this book are hard to believe, it's time to check your privilege. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paige Abergel | 1/8/2014

    " An addictive memoir. You rush between pity and envy for the author, and struggle (alongside her) to develop an opinion of her mother. Highly recommend. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 1/6/2014

    " I usually love these types of memoirs but just couldn't get into this one. The author's stories seemed to jumble around, no real flow to anything. She seems fairly sanctimonious most of the time so I couldn't connect to her or any other characters for that matter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretta | 1/2/2014

    " Growing up with this mother adds a whole new meaning to "dysfunctional". It didn't knock my socks off, but I didn't have to live the author's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/31/2013

    " Very interesting. I hope she writes another. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hendo | 12/29/2013

    " I'm not sure about this chick. It's supposedly a memoir, but I think she's making a lot of this stuff up--it's not unbelievable, it's just too scattered. I wouldn't bother with it if I hadn't already read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy Scruggs | 12/5/2013

    " This book had promise, but it falls short in a lot of areas. At first I was amazed at the exploits of the authors mother, but then when she started to engage in the same activities I felt less sorry for her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Abbatelli | 5/31/2013

    " This was a very interesting book. Amazing to have gone through all of what this young woman has and to still be able to prevail. It's a moving story. I love a good memoir and this will stay on my shelf in my collection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynsey | 5/7/2013

    " Too grim to be juicy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachael Wilkins | 3/20/2013

    " This book was an interesting story about a woman who really shouldn't have been a mother, and the effect that had on her children. Well written and entertaining, but I felt like it lacked substance in the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Natalie | 3/16/2013

    " A true testament that some people should not procreate. It was very sad to see how her mother's poor actions affected her daughter's entire life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisa | 10/19/2012

    " Awesome, juicy, quick read...a memoir you read with your jaw dropped "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee Fluker | 10/9/2012

    " quick read...entertaining, interesting "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/1/2012

    " Seriously, if you thought you had a cruddy mother...nothing tops this mom! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dot Smith | 8/19/2012

    " disturbing, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandy | 6/27/2012

    " Amazingly strong. I admire Suzanna. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Lynne | 5/11/2012

    " Very enjoyable memoir about growing up in nyc with glam crazy addict mom. Intense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Gaylord | 3/27/2012

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt quite a kin-ship with the author-- a little too familiar with the way she was brought up and the relationship she has with her mother! Scary! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruthanne | 2/17/2012

    " An easy read, interesting dynamic between mother and daughter and her struggle to separate herself. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janell P | 12/16/2011

    " I read about half of this book and couldn't kack down the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenna | 8/23/2011

    " 3.5 stars: This was a good book but a bit slow through much of it. Basically what is comes down to is that the mother of this author is absolutely CRAZY. Although I say it was a bit slow, I was still intrigued to see what she would say or do next. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 5/25/2011

    " Interesting enough, but not put together as well as it could have been. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kara | 4/7/2011

    " I forgot to write this review after I finished reading. Looking back, only a week, I can barely even remember most of the book. I do remember thinking that I had a hard time enjoying it because the author came off as rather unlikable which made it hard to identify with her. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 3/4/2011

    " Very interesting, disturbing, and ultimately hopeful memoir by a woman whose mother was about as dysfunctional as is humanly possible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffanie | 1/30/2011

    " Got so frustrated with the mother throughout this entire book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheepez | 1/18/2011

    " Eh. Other reviews pretty much cover it. I read it through, but I"m not sure exactly why--the insanity was interesting the first few chapters, but after awhile it just got old. None of the characters really endeared themselves to me. "Running with Scissors" was MUCH better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Georgette | 12/29/2010

    " A fast read, not at all what I thought it would be. It seemed like the author spent the whole book trying to get me to feel sorry for her, but it's hard to feel sorry for someone who constantly blames others for choices she's making, no matter how poorly she claims to have been raised. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Robin | 12/17/2010

    " Everything fell flat, and there was no resolution. Was there a point? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 11/12/2010

    " The author becomes everything she despises about her mother. Ends up trying to be a cycle breaker...comes across as self-indulgent. "

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About the Author

Susanna Sonnenberg is the author of the bestselling memoir Her Last Death. Her essays have appeared in ElleO, The Oprah Magazine, and Parenting, among other magazines. She lives in Montana with her husband and two sons.