If you have you car radio tuned to WBEZ, you’ve probably heard The Moth Radio Hour. Recorded at live events across the country, The Moth has a simple premise. People tell true stories from their lives. Sometimes the stories are funny. Sometimes they’re sad. Often they’re enlightening.
One of the breakout stars of The Moth has been Tara Clancy. With tons of energy and her trademark New York accent, Clancy tells stories of growing up in Queens, living a life split between three homes; with her Irish cop father in a ramshackle, converted boat shed; with her grandparents in an enclave of geriatric Italian Brooklynites; and with her mother’s boyfriend, a millionaire with a luxury apartment in the city and an even ritzier estate in the Hamptons.
Now, Tara Clancy has gathered a bunch of these stories together into a memoir, The Clancys of New York. Starting at about age five and meandering through to her college years, the memoir’s chapter topics range from scheming with her foul-mouthed grandmother, to boxing seven year old boys, to discussing life’s great questions at the edge of an immaculate croquet lawn, to discovering that day-drinking, bar stool regulars can be more than meets the eye, to coming out to her dad in a cuckoo clock-filled, replica Swiss village tourist attraction.
Moving from one anecdote to the next, Clancy reveals her life story with gritty style and over-the-top humor. Thanks to her exaggerated descriptions her memoir reads like a 1990s-set version of A Christmas Story, minus all the Christmas.