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“This powerful memoir immediately establishes itself as the work of a highly talented young writer. In a voice that is strong, unsparing, never judgmental, Mayall traces her years-long journey as a young woman to find escape out of the entrapping mean streets of Los Angeles, a separated world invisible to all but its denizens. She does this with unflinching honesty and authenticity. She knows what it’s like to wake up into the harsh sunlight in a Venice Beach parking lot, cramped in an old car with other outcasts. She conveys the urgency for chemical surcease that leads her into dangerous streets, dark alleys; surcease no matter if bought by a sordid paid encounter. A punishing dawn at times finds her still searching for that illusive escape.

Through all this, Mayall is able to find poignancy and humor. She finds it in the drug recovery meetings she haunts in search of vagrant camaraderie. She finds it—and introduces the reader to a cast of memorable fellow exiles–in a rigidly ruled rehabilitation institution.

This is a memorable book — beautifully and even lyrically written. At times it is melancholy, at times hopeful, at times shocking, but it is always moving. At times it is even exuberant with the sense of a life lived determined to survive.” JOHN RECHY. author of CITY OF NIGHT and THE MIRACULOUS DAY OF AMALIA GOMEZ

PHOENIX, a memoir by Philippa Mayall, is available at Amazon.com.