Cris Mazza delivers a spirited rebuttal to pop-culture stereotypes about growing up female in Southern California. Coming of age in the 1970s and '80s, Mazza's memories aren't about surfing, cheerleading or riding in convertibles. Though her story has its exotic elements-her family hunts and -gathers food in the semi-arid coastal hills well into the early '70s-she sets herself in the context of familiar Americana. Repeating motifs-gender issues, the California landscape, dogs, musicians, plus the perplexing melancholy of a sexless marriage-thread through these very personal essays, as Mazza confronts madness, disability, sexual dysfunction and death, speaking to the drama of ordinary lives.
"Mazza's beautifully rendered love affair with her native state has nothing to do with gilded dreams or pretty postcard depictions of sun and surf. Her experience is rooted not in image but in a primal connection to the land itself. " —The Chicago Tribune
"Mazza writes about California back in the day, before strip malls ravaged her childhood haunts. . . Indigenous will appeal to those who enjoy memoirs and are interested in the broader idea of place." —Bust Magazine
" ... Mazza reveals a normality beneath the California myth that seems all the more dazzling and exotic with the passage of time." —Los Angeles Times
"These essays shine with hard-won honesty and emotional clarity. You can trust Cris Mazza to level with you and entertain you with her stylish prose; this is an engaging collection." —Phillip Lopate, editor of Writing New York: A Literary Anthology
"Cris Mazza's stunning memoir worries the notions of belonging, of be-longing for a place and of longing for the memories of same. Her tales of her native California expertly excavate an always surprising and always rewarding experience cache." —Michael Martone, author of The Flatness and Other Landscapes
Cris Mazza's most recent novel was Girl Beside Him, and she is the editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction.