The Autumn Balloon


By Kenny Porpora

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Every autumn, Kenny Porpora would watch his heartbroken mother scribble messages on balloons and release them into the sky above Long Island, one for each family member they’d lost to addiction. As the number of balloons grew, his mother fell deeper into alcoholism, drinking away her sorrows every night in front of the television, where her love of Regis Philbin provided a respite from the sadness around her.

When their house was foreclosed upon, Kenny’s mother absconded with him and his beloved dog and fled for the Arizona desert, joining her heroin-addicted brother on a quixotic search for a better life. What followed was an outlaw adolescence spent in constant upheaval surrounded by bizarre characters and drug-addicted souls.

In the wake of unspeakable loss, Kenny convinced a college to take a chance on him, and turned to the mentors, writers, and poets he found to rebuild the family he lost, and eventually graduated from the Ivy League with a new life.

Porpora’s memoir is the story of a deeply dysfunctional but loving family, and follows his life from the chaos of his youth to his triumphs in the Ivy League. At times darkly comic, at times elegiac, The Autumn Balloon is a beautifully written testament to the irreplaceable bonds of family, even under the most trying circumstances, and one that marks the debut of an exciting new writer.


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chapter 1

A small, dark house somewhere on Long Island.

It's night.

My mother is drunk in her chair with an empty glass in her hands.

She mutters to herself in a low voice too sad to be a whisper. I'm watching her drink herself to sleep in front of a television set, just as I have every night since she lost her sister Gina, the one she loved the most, the one she had a secret language with. My mother is heavyset, and the red splotches on her face make her look like a sunburned child. Her head is bowed, and her face is relaxed, so her jowls hang loosely. She isn't quite awake but not asleep, either. She never really sleeps, just drifts in and out of consciousness.

There was a fight earlier. The floor is covered in shards of broken glass and ceramic plates and a little bit of blood. The phone hangs off the hook, and the dial tone pulses down the hallway. There is a foreclosure sticker in the window. Soon the windows will be boarded up and the doors chained. I don't know where we'll go, but for now, this is home.

My mother stirs in her chair and awakens to a rerun of Cheers. She is not pleased.

"Kenneth, what the fuck is this bullshit on the TV?"

She speaks with a perfect slur, angry and biting.

"It's Cheers," I tell her regretfully. "Your show is over."

"Where the fuck are we? Why is the goddamn television still on?"

"You fell asleep with it on."

She mocks my voice back to me. "You fell asleep with it on."

The television is blaring. It's the episode where Frasier and Norm debate the validity of Freud.

"Look at this bald asshole," she says, sipping from her glass. She's not impressed with Dr. Frasier Crane and she tells me so; except she doesn't call him Frasier, she calls him "that little sissy faggot man."

"I am so sick of grown men acting like assholes, I'm very sorry." She takes a sip. "Be a fucking man. My brother isn't a man. Your father isn't a man. You aren't a man. You're all a bunch of little faggot boys, like Frasier."

She takes another sip.

Cheers always pisses her off, and I should've known better and changed the channel before she woke. I grab the TV Guide from on top of the television to see what's on next. It's M*A*S*H. My heart sinks.

She fucking hates M*A*S*H.

My seventy-year-old father's been arrested again. There was a fight over a phone bill that turned quickly into a war of cursing and lamp throwing, my mother with a knife and my father pinning her hands down, screaming in her face, calling her dead sister a drunk, a junkie, and telling her she's going to drink herself to death the same way. And when he let her up, my mother, wasted and crying, punched herself in the arms until they bruised a deep purple, then called the police and told them my father hit her. He was charged with domestic violence and handcuffed on our front lawn wearing his baggy old-man briefs and black socks and an oversize shirt that made him look pantsless. They read him his rights and asked him to watch his head as they put him in the backseat of the cop car and drove him away. Our neighbors watched from their porches, their faces lit by red and blue police lights. I watched from my bedroom window.

It's a commercial, and my mother's glass is empty, so she gets up and stumbles toward our small kitchen, which is just a hot plate and a microwave and a small refrigerator. Ice cubes clink in the glass, and she fills it halfway with orange juice. She goes down the hall and into the bathroom, where she's hidden the vodka under the sink. She emerges in her nightgown, wielding a full glass.

"What the fuck are you looking at?"

I don't answer.

"You looking at my glass? Like your father? Mr. Judgmental. Mr. I'm-so-fucking-important. Why don't you go get a job and be a man? Why don't you get a job as a priest, so you can be a judgmental prick and fuck little boys?"

She makes herself laugh with that one and starts to write it down on a pad but immediately forgets exactly how she worded it.

"Kenneth, what did I just say? How did I say it, goddamn it?" I tell her, and she laughs again, almost surprised.

She is drinking herself to death.

I write in my notebook, stories and doodles and lists of my favorite cartoon characters, and wonder what will happen if she dies.

Her skin is warm, and she smells like alcohol.

"You're a little faggot, Frasier!" She's seated back in front of the TV, shouting now. "You're a nothing little man, and your skinny little nothing wife probably knows you're a fuckin' fag."

She nods in and out of consciousness, muttering some nonsense to herself. Soft, painful sounds with no shape.

"I don't wanna be here anymore," she says. "I just wanna go away."

"Don't say that," I say.

"I don't think I'm gonna be here much longer," she whispers, speaking to no one.

It's just after midnight. The M*A*S*H theme song is playing over the end credits. I kiss her and walk to my room. She stays in the dark living room, dreaming of her sister, the television glowing on her face. In the morning she'll hide the empty bottles outside behind the shed before waking me up for second grade.

By 9:00 a.m. my mother is alert and happy, drinking coffee and watching Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. She loves Regis.

"You want some eggs?" she asks when I get out of bed.


"You want the kind where I cut the hole in the bread?"


She's still talking to me as I go into the bathroom and close the door.

"Your friend is gonna be on Regis later," she announces.

"My friend?"

"Yeah, the Riddler… not the Riddler, c'mon, who's the one? C'mon. Jack…"

"Jack Nicholson?"

"Yeah. He's gonna be on."

"Why is he my friend?"

"I don't know. You love Batman."

I do love Batman.

She is smiling this morning. She has a pretty face and a warm smile.

"You should really send some of your stories to Regis."

She always tells me to send anything I write to Regis Philbin. I don't know why. She thinks Regis is the sweetest man in the world. She tells me the story again of how Regis worked his way up from the mailroom to become the host of the show.

Kathie Lee is on vacation, so Regis's wife is the guest host. My mother despises her.

"I have no idea what he sees in this woman, I'm very sorry. She is so blah. And she can't sing for shit." She then tells me a story about how Regis's wife won't let him eat grape jelly and crackers in bed. I have no idea how she knows this. Some mornings she'll tell me Regis reminds her of my father. And then she'll become quiet and change the subject.

Her brother, my uncle Carter, is sitting at our table. He's just back from rehab, learning karate as part of his effort to stay sober. When he first got out, my mother took us to meet him at Dunkin' Donuts, and there he was, standing at the counter, ordering a Boston Kreme in flip-flops and a karate gi. Carter grew up a chubby little boy with a fear of needles. He was a runaway at fifteen and a criminal at sixteen and a heroin addict by twenty. He's now in his early thirties, tall and handsome, with a Tom Selleck mustache and dark brown hair cut into a mullet. He wears the karate gi pretty much everywhere he goes. He lives with their mother in Amityville and came over this morning to make sure my father didn't come back.

They're showing dogs from the North Shore Animal League on Regis this morning. One dog is white and fluffy with a teddy-bear face and a waggedy tail. Her name is Joy, but to me she looks more like a Wozels, so I call her Wozels and move closer to the television. My mother thinks she's adorable until she finds out the dog was named after Regis's wife. The woman from the animal shelter is talking about the dogs, but Joy Philbin interrupts and manages to plug her new Christmas album.

"Oh, shut the fuck up, Joy, nobody cares," my mother says from the kitchen. "She's even worse than Kathie Lee," she says. She asks me if I've ever seen Cody Gifford, Kathie Lee's son. I don't answer, just stare at the little white doggy on TV and watch her tilt her curious head and laugh at her perky ears. I love her.

"He's really nothing special," my mother says. "So he memorized a song at four years old? So what? So do all kids. He sounds like a pretentious asshole if you ask me."

She tells me I should show Regis how I've memorized all the lines to Batman.

The dog is quiet and shy and stands away from the others, not barking, just waiting for somebody to pet her and hold her. Regis finally asks about Joy, and the woman from the animal shelter says her family couldn't take care of her anymore, says she needs a new home. I call my mother, who's still angry at Kathie Lee in the kitchen.

"And she's way too fuckin' skinny…"

"Mom? Come here," I yell.

"What is she, a size zero? What is wrong with these men who want these women with little-boy bodies?"

"Mommy, quick…"

"What is it?"

She comes into the room, and I point at the TV.

"I know, Kenneth, I saw her. Very cute, I said." She goes back into the kitchen. The segment ends, and they take a commercial break and return with musical guests Boyz II Men.

My uncle lights a cigarette. His arms are scarred with tracks, dried bubbly skin that looks like burned marshmallows. The smoke fills our living room. My mother puts a plate of eggs and a cup of coffee in front of him.

"You should've heard Regis this morning," she says to him. "He was talking about Motown." My uncle likes to pretend he's the lead singer of a Motown group, usually when he's drunk at our house, hammering his drumsticks on the table and singing along to the radio.

"And I recorded Bruce Willis for you," she said. "He was on my morning show. He's a sweetheart. Did you know he plays harmonica?"

"Uncle Carter, you should've seen this doggy that was on before," I say. "So cute, with a little tongue and fluffy face. Her name was Joy, but if she was mine I'd call her Wozels."

"I saw her," he says and looks at my mother. He asks me where I got the name Wozels. I shrug and say I don't know, she just looks like a Wozels to me. We finish our breakfast, and he tells me he'll take me to school. My mother zips up my backpack and hands me my Dick Tracy lunch box.

"Your prick father is gonna pick you up from school today," she tells me. "Make sure he has you back by five."

I nod.

She starts making fun of my father for lying about his age, for the way he dyes his hair black with cheap shoe polish, and for telling people he's fifty-four when he's really seventy. My uncle laughs at him, too, calls him pathetic and shakes his head, blowing cigarette smoke out of the side of his mouth before dabbing the cigarette out into an ashtray.

I get sad on the drive to school, so my uncle tries to distract me with a silly story. He pulls up right to the front door of the school and kisses me good-bye. He reminds me my father is going to be picking me up. I nod and close the car door and walk to my classroom.

Second grade is a lonely place for me. My hair is shaggy, and I wear a small leather jacket and Velcro shoes and a clip-on earring that makes me feel older. I stay mostly to myself except for when I talk to an obese Hispanic girl named Melinda, who suffers from a violent lisp. She has a crush on me. Sometimes we eat lunch together, and sometimes my teachers force the other kids to let me sit with them in the cafeteria. Some days my mother packs me chocolate chip cookies with rainbow sprinkles along with my lunch, and this is the highlight of my day. She writes me little notes every day and hides them in my lunch box, and when I find them, I go to where it's quiet and read them. Usually I eat alone and wander the playground and watch the older kids play handball against the brick school walls.

My father is waiting outside the school for me today in his beat-up Volvo, which I've nicknamed Bobby. I run out to meet him. He asks me where my brother is, and I tell him he's down the block at a friend's house. We ride in Bobby together down the hilly roads, up and down, like when I was a baby. The inside of Bobby is covered in dried oil, splattered on the ceiling, the seats, the doors, the rugs, and nobody seems to know why. The toxic smell seeps into our clothes, our hair, our skin.

We arrive at the baseball park and sit side by side on Bobby's rusted bumper and look out onto the neglected field. I eat the ham sandwich he made me, which tastes a bit like oil, and drink lemonade out of an old Clorox bottle, since my father doesn't like to waste anything. I need two hands to hold the bottle to my lips, and still some drips down my chin. He eats fast, stuffing his sandwich into his mouth and forcing the rest in with his fingers. He is crying and eating and talking at the same time.

"I'm not fifty-four," he tells me. He looks gray and broken. "I'm old, kiddo. I'm an old man. And I don't know how many years I have left."

I know he's old, and I know he's going to die soon. Some days, when he drops me off at school, I get out of the car and try to memorize his face.

"I know you're old," I tell him. "Mommy tells us you're old all the time. She calls you the old prick when you're not around."

"I can't keep fighting and getting arrested and fighting and crying," he says. "I'm just too old."

He's been living some nights with us and some nights with his last living brother, who chain-smokes and watches Star Trek. He tells me he found a basement apartment a few blocks away and asks me if I'd like to live with him. I say that I would. He says he's going to hire a lawyer to fight for full custody. He tells me there's a possibility that my brother and I will be separated from each other, and I nod and try not to cry. He asks me whose idea the clip-on earring was, and I tell him it was mine. I think about being away from my mother, and I get sad. She needs me.

The TV is on with no sound. Our living room is dark and mostly empty. My brother is asleep in his room. My mother is drunk again. She calls my name from the bathroom once and then again, her voice muddled.

I walk down our half-lit hallway, past the fist-size holes in the walls, past the crooked framed baby pictures of my brother and me, to where the bathroom door is cracked open. I stand and speak into the slight opening.


She speaks slowly, every word an effort.


"… can you come in here?…

"… I need you…"

I push the bathroom door open. My mother sits on the edge of the toilet, her head hanging heavy over her lap, her nightgown pulled up high enough for me to see her brown pubic hair.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

"Come in here, goddamn it!"

I stand close and ask her what she needs. My bare feet are cold on the cracked blue tile. Light from the moon pours in through a small window above our shower.

"Where the fuck am I?" she asks me.

I stand in front of her and don't answer.

"Your aunt Gina loved you, you know. Do you know that?"

"Yes," I say.

Her sister Gina left home at eighteen and had two children with some black guy before she was disavowed by the family and told never to bring her nigger children around. She had been drinking herself to death for years, drinking until she vomited so intensely that she burst the capillaries in her face. The jerking of her head forced her mouth to smash into the cold ceramic toilet seat, breaking her four front teeth. She spit bits of tooth and blood and bitten tongue onto the floor and kept vomiting until she fell asleep on the cool tile. For days afterward she walked around with black eyes, looking like a beaten raccoon. Another fit of violent puking led to a brain aneurysm, and she died with her head propped up on the toilet seat. Her children went to live with their father and, later, some friends.

"She was so happy at the hospital when you were born. And she waited up with your brother…"

She tries to cry, to speak, and can't do either.

"… and when the doctors told her you were a boy, she shouted, 'It's a boy!' and your brother leaped into her arms."

Her tears drop onto her thigh.


"… she used to hold you…

"… and play with your little toes."

Her voice is fading away. She is fading away. I watch her struggle to keep herself on the toilet. She starts to hum a song, half sings the words, then begins to mutter to herself, something I can't understand, and her head falls again.

And then, with a sudden burst of anger, "Goddamn it! Help me!"

"How?" I ask in a small voice.

She's quiet for a moment.


I tell her I'm still there. Ask her again what she needs.

"Can you wipe me?"

Her voice is pathetic, her arms limp at her sides. I touch her shoulder. I love her.

"I need you to wipe me," she says again, then a hiccup jolts through her frame.

"Okay," I say.

I reach for the toilet paper and wind it around my hand and tear it.

"Can you sit up?"

"She was thirty-five fucking years old, goddamn it!"

"Mommy, can you sit up?"

She can't.

I reach my hand into the toilet, underneath her, our faces close enough for me to feel the heat from her red cheeks, to feel the warm wetness of the tears on her face, to smell the sharpness of the vodka on her breath. I can feel the heat of her shit through the tissue on my hand.

"I love you, baby boy," she says.

"I know you do."

"You're like me," she says. "You care about people. I care about people. I care too goddamn much."

I reach for more toilet paper, ball it up in my palm, and wipe her again.

"Don't let people take advantage of you," she says. "You understand me? You're a very special boy."

"Okay," I say.

I throw the tissue in the water and flush the toilet.

"You're good."

"Grab my arm," she says. "I need help getting up."

I help her walk out of the bathroom, down the hall, and into the living room, where she collapses into her chair. She wants to fall asleep in the chair, she says. She's afraid if she lies down in bed she won't wake up.

We sit together in the smoking section of a diner off Jericho Turnpike, my mother, my uncle, my brother, and me. My uncle is smoking, dabbing his ash onto a plate. He is not in his gi. He has a briefcase next to him in the booth.

"So your fucking prick father served me with papers today," my mother says. The waitress comes around, and I order French toast. My brother orders an omelet.

"What's in the briefcase?" I ask my uncle, half ignoring my mother.

"I'm talking, Kenneth," my mother says. "The old prick wants custody, and if he wins, we won't see each other anymore. Is that what you want?"

I shake my head. My brother shakes his head.

"Then you better tell the caseworker you want to live with me, okay?"

My brother asks where we're going to go once the house is foreclosed on. He's eleven and smarter than I am. He reads John Grisham.

"We'll be fine," she says. "I'll figure it out."

My uncle taps his briefcase and smiles. He says he's got the answer to our problems inside.

"Carter, not now with the bullshit, okay?"

The waitress drops off four glasses of water and disappears.

"What's in it?" I ask again.

He sets the briefcase on the table and unsnaps it, raises the lid slowly. Inside is a yellowed newspaper.

"This is the original copy of the Amityville Record from the day after the Amityville Horror murders took place," he says.

"What does that mean?" my brother asks.

"It means I'm rich," he says. "It means I have a connection in Arizona who knows a guy who's willing to pay a fortune for this."

My brother asks him how much, and my uncle says, "Let's just say the number had six zeroes after it."

He smiles and takes a drag of his cigarette. My mother's family grew up with the boy who murdered his entire family and whose life inspired The Amityville Horror.

"I can't just take the kids out of school and go on some fuckin' wild-goose chase," my mother says.

"It's not a goddamn wild-goose chase," he growls. "It's a gold mine."

"Stephen has friends here, Carter," she says. "We can't just pick up and move."

Our food comes. I use too much syrup, and my brother makes fun of me. He asks me why I'm wearing a clip-on earring and laughs and I tell him to shut up.

"You look gay," he says.

"Knock it the fuck off with that," my mother says. "Stop calling your brother gay. You're gonna turn him gay if you keep saying it."

We ride together in silence to a motel. My uncle is staying there tonight with a friend, someone we don't know.

He gets out and slams the door. "If you change your mind about Arizona, let me know. You're gonna regret not getting in on this," he says and pats his briefcase.

My mother tells him to say a prayer for Gina. He says he will. He walks up the concrete steps of the motel, and we drive away, our tires crunching on pavement, down Sunrise Highway and back to our house.

I sit alone in the back of my school bus and daydream, counting the stops. Three more until I'm home. The bus is pretty empty, but up ahead, a few kids sit together and laugh and talk about X-Men. I love X-Men, but they're getting details wrong and it takes everything I have not to walk up the aisle and correct them. I have a quick fantasy where I tap one of them on the shoulder and let him know that Wolverine is, in fact, not Magneto's son.

The bus pulls up to the corner I recognize, the one with the graffitied stop sign. I walk past the group of kids to exit the bus and say nothing. I walk the half mile from the bus stop to our house. I always half expect to see cop cars out front, but it's quiet today. I go inside my house and throw my backpack on the stairs. X-Men is coming on soon, and I go to the refrigerator to find a Capri Sun. My mother comes into the kitchen. She looks pretty today, her hair up in barrettes.

"Hi, baby boy, how was school?"

"Good," I say. "I did a word search."

Word search is my favorite.

"You did?" She kisses my cheek, and I tell her I'm going to watch some cartoons.

"Actually," she says, "could you go in your room and grab me some papers off the desk?"

I'm immediately suspicious.

"What papers?"

"Just some court papers," she says.

I set down my Capri Sun and head down the hallway to my room. I open the door, and the white doggy from Regis and Kathie Lee jumps off my bed and into my arms. She is soft and fluffy and even more adorable in real life. She climbs all over me, excited, and hair falls over her brown eyes and she licks my face with her pink tongue and I hug her. She is my best friend.

"Isn't she precious?" my mother shouts. She is smiling and taking photos.

I am giggling as the dog licks my face.

"She's the one from Regis and Kathie Lee!" she tells me. I tell her I know. The dog rolls onto her back, and I pet her belly. She doesn't bark. She is sweet and gentle. She jumps up onto the couch and starts sniffing around.

"I'm going to name her Wozels," I say, then call her name and pat my lap.

My mother tells me the story about how she got Wozels while I roll around on the floor with the dog, happier than I've ever been. Wozels jumps up on the dining room table and lies down, her tail wagging. My mother tries to get angry, but she can't. Wozels is too silly. We both laugh, and Wozels jumps down and back into my arms.

"I went down to the shelter this morning right after I dropped you off at school," she says. "The woman behind the front counter was a real nasty bitch. She told me Joy had already been adopted. You shoulda heard her tone…"

Wozels's tail is wagging, thumping against the carpet. Her ears are perky. She is perfect to me.

"So I said, 'Oh, darn it,' and started looking around and sure enough, there she was, there was Joy-Joy, sound asleep in her cage, as sweet as can be…"

I pick Wozels up and brush her fur from her eyes. I kiss her snout, and she licks my face.

"And then when I'm filling out the paperwork she says to me, she says, 'What color is she?' I said, 'What color is she? What color do you think she is? She's white, you stupid bitch!' Look at her! Isn't she white, Kenneth? Tell me she's not white…"

"She's white," I say.

Her coat is white and soft and her ears are floppy and she's got big, dopey paws and she runs around our living room.

"Can Wozels sleep in my room?" I ask.

"Maybe. We'll see."

I kiss my mother on the cheek. She hugs me close, happy to see me so happy.

"What about when I go visit Daddy? Can I bring her?"

"No," she says sharply. "You know what, Kenneth? Stop bringing up the old prick's name! Okay? He'll probably let her out. You want her to run away?"


"Go play with your dog in your room," she says. "My soaps are coming on."

I pick Wozels up.

"Don't put your face in hers. She'll bite your face off, and I don't feel like rushing you to the hospital."

She makes herself a drink and puts her feet up on the ottoman. I take Wozels into my room and close the door, and I watch her sniff around my blankets, paw at them, poke her snout under the bed, and we play together until it's time for bed. It'll be a few days before the marshal comes banging on the front door, telling us to get out.

Wozels jumps on my bed and rests her chin and snout down on my mattress. I kneel down beside her.

"Hello," I say. "It's very nice to meet you."

I rest my head beside hers and close my eyes.

chapter 2

A light rain falls. The newly dawned sun is already lost behind clouds. In the distance, a red stoplight reflects off the wet street.


  • "Porpora describes the realities of his life with humor, grace and laudable neutrality, never once falling into the surviving-against-all-odds tone so frequent in this genre. . . .a brilliant debut from a fine writer . . . Four out of four stars."—USA Today
  • "[A] piercing first book."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Compulsively readable. . . alarmingly engrossing. I sat down with this book with the intention of reading a chapter or two and came up for air hours later, bewildered and with my cheeks wet. . . A memoir that should be moved to the top of everyone's to-read list immediately."—Lambda Literary
  • "It is a rare and essential book that begs to be written, that must be written. One senses that the writer's very survival is at stake, and the writing had better rise to the material or else all is lost. It is an artistic high wire act that only a precious few can pull off and when they do, the result is mesmerizing. Kenny Porpora more than achieves this in his brave and heartbreakingly beautiful memoir, The Autumn Balloon. This unforgettable tale lays bare the squalor of addiction and the poverty of the mind, heart, and body that comes from that, yet it is also a fearless meditation on the surprisingly enduring love of family, those eternal blood ties that ultimately save us all. This is one of the strongest literary debuts I've witnessed in years, and Kenny Porpora is an important new voice among us."—Andre Dubus III
  • "Spellbinding, gut-wrenching, and wildly cathartic, Kenny Porpora's heady literary debut is everything you want a memoir to be. This book will leave you with a sense of gratitude for life's biggest heartbreaks, and remind you that our greatest triumphs arise from our deepest struggles. Kenny Porpora is one of those rare individuals who was utterly destined to become a writer, and The Autumn Balloon will no doubt find a place on the shelf among the very best of its genre." Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
  • "Kenny Porpora's stunning memoir, The Autumn Balloon, had me from the opening pages and wouldn't let me go until the very end. Even then, I didn't want to say goodbye to my narrator and his extraordinary ability to find something of beauty in the darkest places. This family story of addiction is full of moments--some tender, some funny, some ordinary--that speak of the love that persists even in a family's most brutal times. This is a story of what we take from one another and what we do to move forward. A beautifully written book about loss and redemption,The Autumn Balloon is as real as it gets."—Lee Martin, author of Such a Life and From Our House
  • "Kenny Porpora's startling and incisive debut memoir cuts a wide swath, from heart-rending to hilarious. In an eloquent voice, he tells of one of the most horrendous childhoods imaginable, avoiding any hint of self-pity. Out of the shabbiest materials, he has found a life worth living, and grown into a man who is capable of forgiveness and love. His testament will not be forgotten."—Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife and The Fall of Princes

On Sale
Feb 3, 2015
Page Count
304 pages

Kenny Porpora

About the Author

Kenny Porpora, 26, is a freelancer for the New York Times, and a breaking news editor at the Huffington Post. He is a graduate of Hofstra University and the Columbia School of Journalism.

Learn more about this author