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Pat Montandon
Peeing On Hot Coals

In her new memoir, Peeing On Hot Coals, Pat Montandon, the irrepressible Icon of San Francisco leads us on a journey from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the highest circles of San Francisco society. Told with her usual pluck, wit and compassion, Montandon not only survived her brutal past, she bravely chronicles how she rose above it to live the Great American Dream. Through wit and creativity Montandon became a well-known figure not only in San Francisco but internationally and the basis of a character in Armistead Maupin’s best-selling Tales Of The City series. Montandon’s ongoing philanthropic efforts on behalf of children earned her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations and the UN Peace Messenger Award. Peeing on Hot Coals is an unblinking view into Montandon’s soul and offers a poignant and insightful look at some of the major events of the 20th Century. Throughout, her self-deprecating humor and general humanity shine through taking readers on a journey of the soul, the heart and the mind.

Montandon’s intimate memoir of childhood presents a very different view of her than readers might expect from her persona as a onetime San Francisco Examiner columnist and socialite. Her childhood in Oklahoma during the Great Depression was one of privation, and her family was deeply evangelically religious, sheltering her from learning about sex and life skills. When she is only seven years old, she urinates on some covered hot coals and ends up with severe burns to her genitals that heal improperly, causing her a lifetime of pain. Montandon’s youth is a continuous saga of struggling with her family’s religiosity and her own attempts at freedom. At 18 she marries an older man, and he treats her like property, never attempting to know her as a person. Over a decade later, Montandon finds the strength to leave him and strike out on her own, finding success and adventure but not understanding the full extent to which her injury denied her sexual pleasure. Finally, in her 80s, she finds healing and acceptance in telling her story. The narrative focuses on her childhood, and most of all on how this one incident forever affected her relationship to her own sexuality. Readers expecting to learn more about her life after her first marriage (including her founding of humanitarian projects such as the Name Choice Center and Children as Teachers for Peace) will be disappointed, but those willing to immerse themselves in Montandon’s process of self-discovery will feel well rewarded. (BookLife)
Advanced Praise

“This is not only a beautiful memoir but also a gem of Americana. The imagery of the dust bowl depression, preacher father’s fanatical sermons, Montandon's great sense of humor remains with you long after you’ve finished reading it, and you are so touched by the indomitable spirit of Patsy Lou that you feel her pain, determination, and joy throughout the book.  You are in awe of a woman who searches for greatness in the cinder of the hot coals-even if that means peeing on them.” Alev Lytle Croutier—bestselling  author of Harem: The World Behind the Veil

This book is utterly delightful. The writing is stunning. It's funny and, moreover, poignant, insightful. I'm blown away. David Sheff New York Times best-selling memoir Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction.


Pat Montandon's charm and decency and trademark spunk shine through on every page of this genuinely heart-tugging and beautifully written memoir. Armistead Maupin, best selling author of Tales of The City


"This book is Pat Montandon at her literary best. Caring and compassion shine through her growing-up experiences, and her self-deprecating humor had me laughing out loud. She holds nothing back in this amazing self tell-all, with sexual and other details few would have the courage to reveal. Merla Zellerbach, best selling author of the Hallie Marsh series


This is a childhood memoir to rival Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Sean Wilsey, bestselling author of Oh The Glory Of It All