LOU REED: A Family in Peril: Lou Reed’s Sister Sets the Record Straight About His Childhood

Merrill Reed Weiner writes:

In the coming weeks, my brother, Lou Reed, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer, an honor celebrating his incredible impact upon the world of music. Since his passing from liver disease in 2013, there have been many accolades, articles, and ruminations on his life. As biographers have begun in earnest to explore every aspect of that life, there has been speculation about the childhood issues that contributed to his artistic genius.

With this piece I hope to provide clarity and context around this section of his life, as it has been inaccurately portrayed by previous authors, to the detriment of my family. For all those whose families’ lives were damaged by the pervasive medical thinking of the time, I hope to offer solace and comfort.

We were an average middle class Jewish family. My mother, Toby, was a housewife and doting mother. Her claim to fame had been her selection as “Queen of the Stenographers of NYC,” a beauty pageant that came to her firm in 1939 and picked her as their winner. My mother says she only won because “the really pretty stenographer was out sick that day.” She was just 19 years old. Her father had passed away when she was a teenager and she had left school to contribute financially to her family. A product of her times, she married young and took on a traditional role as a homemaker, wife and mother.

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