Picks and Pans Review: And I Don't Want to Live This Life

updated 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Deborah Spungen

The author is the mother of Nancy Spungen, a 20-year-old who was stabbed to death in 1978 by John Simon Ritchie—Sid Vicious of the punk rock group Sex Pistols. That event was just the end of the tormented life of a middle-class Jewish girl from Philadelphia who grew up angry and uncontrollable. As an infant, Nancy cried for attention until her parents were exhausted. By the time she was in her early teens, the parents had all but given up. Nancy assaulted them and her siblings, took drugs, brought boys to her bedroom, left home at 17 and created chaos everywhere she went. Still, her death came as a terrible blow to her family. (Shortly after he killed Nancy, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose. His mother asked that he be buried next to Nancy, but the Spungens refused.) The most touching moments in this horror story occur as Deborah, in straightforward, sharply effective prose, describes how she and her family began to put their lives together again. Nancy's puzzling illness as never conclusively diagnosed, and to this day her family does not understand why Nancy grew up to be a monster hellbent for self-destruction. (Villard, $14.95)

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