Christina McDowell was born Christina Prousalis. After her father, Tom Prousalis, was arrested and imprisoned in the wake of the conviction of Jordan Belfort (the “Wolf of Wall Street”) she had to change her name to be legally extricated from the trail of chaos that followed.
McDowell has penned a memoir, “After Perfect” (Gallery Books), which traces her trajectory, and she will appear in Brooklyn on Aug. 3 to read from and discuss the book at BookCourt at 163 Court St. in Cobble Hill.
McDowell worshipped her father and the seemingly perfect life they lived. Her family, like many other families unwittingly caught up in these cases, had no idea that their lives were built on a foundation of lies
It was 19-year-old Christina who had to drive her father to prison while her mother dissolved in denial.
As her family floundered in rehab, depression, homelessness and loss, McDowell succumbed to the grip of alcohol, drugs and promiscuity before finding catharsis in the most unlikely of places.
From the bucolic affluence of suburban Washington, D.C., to the A-list clubs and seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, this provocative memoir unflinchingly describes the harsh realities of a fall from grace.
Full of ’90s nostalgia and details about the inner circles of the Washingtonian societal elite, McDowell’s memoir is a “Blue Jasmine”-like story from a daughter’s perspective.
McDowell teaches creative writing with InsideOUT Writers, a nonprofit for currently and formerly incarcerated youth. Originally from McLean, Virginia, she lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Zelda Fitzgerald.