Once again, a big shout out to the Reading Room for my review copy of this book.
I rarely read memoir, as most of the time I find it either dull or heavy on the misery/shock value. Fortunately, Rayya Elias's memoir, Harley Loco is neither of these things, which makes (for me, anyway,) interesting reading. With Harley Loco, the reader is taken through the author's early childhood in Syria, her family's transition to America and the long and wild journey that Elias makes to first discover and accept her sexuality and then to overcome drug addiction. Bullied at school, she takes things into her own hands and moves to New York as a young woman to work as a hairdresser where she slowly frees herself to explore her sexuality away from her family. She also begins to experiment with drugs and with music. Over the years, she experiences everything from infatuation, to homelessness and eventually, prison.
What I loved about Harley Loco is rather than asking for sympathy or pointing the finger at others, Elias takes full responsibility for her past, her actions and her choices in life. The memoir itself is written in an easy to read conversational style.