Written by Duana

I finished reading “Random Family” a few weeks ago, and it’s one of those books I wish I could have back. Like I wish I could not have read it already so that I could read it again. It chronicles 12 years in the lives of a sister and brother who are both deep in the drug trade. She gets in at 16, he around 12; 10 years later she has 5 children (two born in jail), he has three. Their mother – and the mothers of their romantic partners – were all addicts. You wonder what will happen to any of them, and, engrossing as the read is, you get a shock down your spine every time you remember that this is not fiction, that these people are real.

Leighton Meester, on the other hand, would have no trouble believing it.

The story broke on the weekend that she’s suing her mother for misusing the $7,500 a month Leighton was sending to her brother Lex. The mom allegedly spent it on extensions and plastic surgery. Oh, and apparently, $7,500 isn’t enough – the mom wants 10 grand a month for life – so she’s countersuing.

I can hear some of you all yelling that Leighton has the money. But you know what? Not so much so that she doesn’t notice. I promise TV money is not so neverending that she doesn’t notice.

Still the larger point – the reason that I feel so bad for Meester – is that she clearly is in the career she is because it is far, far away from the life she was leading. Depending on which reports you believe, her mother, father, grandmother and aunt have all done time. It’s one of those things where it seems like an eventuality. She not only escaped that, she made a success of it. An on-TV success, yes, but I believe (and I have never met the woman or even read substantial press coverage of her) that the greater success is not having to choose the life her family did. She’s actively chosen otherwise – and doesn’t have to go back. Right?

This is why my heart breaks for her. Because who’s happy for her success, really? Her mother is only happy for the financial gains. If your mom is that way, how would she treat you if you made nothing?

And is this a surmountable problem? Is it the kind of thing where they will put it behind them and get back to a place of tranquil eventually? I can’t see it happening, but I also don’t think this is the same thing as when Jennifer Aniston or Nick Carter’s mothers sold them out via tell-all books. I don’t think this mother even particularly cares about the spotlight for herself. It’s only about the money.

If you’re Leighton Meester, who does that make you? To come from that kind of situation? To know that your own mother looks at you and only sees “bank machine”? I can’t imagine. But I bet there are far more like her than we know.