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It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir Paperback – November 20, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Not surprisingly, it takes an older woman to write a great kiss-and-tell memoir—who else would have enough lovers under her belt? Vanderbilt opens with an appetizer of schoolgirl sex with a chum from Miss Porter's School in the 1930s and then regales readers with a star-studded cast of intimates—Howard Hughes, Leopold Stokowski, Bill Paley, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, among others. Some were one-night-stands, some torrid affairs; three or four she even married. Romance, after all, is "the search for something else, a renewal and a hope for transformation in life." In her less giddy moments, Vanderbilt considers how some of this relentless love-affairing may have been provoked by an unhappy childhood. She was only 10 when her mother lost custody of her in an infamous public trial; young Gloria was sent to live with cold Aunt Gertrude Whitney. When she was 21 and inheriting her fortune, husband Stokowski persuaded her to cut off financial support for her mother, which alienated mother and daughter for another 20 years. While there's a little venting about men who've swindled her, it's the dishy gossip—Paley chasing her around the sofas in his living room, Truman Capote basing Breakfast at Tiffany's on life at her brownstone—that keeps the pages turning. Even in the last chapter, Vanderbilt's going on about some man who's "the Nijinsky of cunnilingus." Ah, toujours l'amour! Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Is this book an heiress-turned-actor tells-all type? Or is it a desire to unburden the mind of memories and stories for the public good? Whatever the motivation, Vanderbilt once again (following Once Upon a Time, 1986, and A Mother's Story, 1997) unleashes her autobiographical instincts in her search for parental love. It's all related in a breathless tone, with not much depth but with a great number of famous names, from Frank Sinatra and Bill Paley to Marlon Brando and the current to-remain-anonymous celebrity. Those addicted to star magazines like People and Us will find Vanderbilt's account a good way to understand a bygone era of glamor. Others might be attracted by the "poor little rich girl" series of romances. Expect some demand for what one might hope is the last in a series. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143918982X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439189825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gloria Vanderbilt is a well known celebrity, "poor little rich girl", born of a well known family, mother accused of many things and one was being "a bad mother". She now tells us of her romantic life. A memoir that promised to tell us all. Well, it tells of a woman who enjoyed her life, and even though she was a school drop-out she is a brilliant writer. She knows how to turn a phrase, as they say, and to bring her life to the fore. Until now, she has been able to keep her love life a secret. And, many a gossip columnist has tried to guess just who her paramours were.

This is a small book full of tales of love. Several kinds of love, and I will leave it up to you to find out what I am talking about. From Miss Porter's school to the present day, Gloria Vanderbilt tells of her loves and life. Not all names are mentioned, and I could catch myself trying to guess just who that married photographer was that captured her attention for so many years. She has no qualms about discussing her romances with

married men. All in all, Gloria realizes she was looking for her missing father during her early years of romance. And, later on for friendship, sex, lust and romance. She found them all and packed them all into her life and memoir.

I bought this book because Gloria Vanderbilt's son, Anderson Cooper, recommended it. A nice little read, he said. Yes, a nice read, but not too much more. There are too many details left out and not much to keep my interest. It can be read in a few hours, and is more like a diary that Gloria Vanderbilt kept. But not enough gutsy, from the heart,

truth filled lines that would make this a great book. Recommended. prisrob
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71 of 88 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Legendary actress/heiress Gloria Vanderbilt's latest memoir, "It Seemed Important At the Time" might as well have been called "He Seemed Important At The Time." Despite the enticing idea of an heiresses passions put on paper, Vanderbilt's tepid book is as vapid than any autobio of Paris Hilton's -- and with less reason to be.

Vanderbilt skims over most of her childhood, and the meat only starts in her a adolescence -- a lesbian affair with a classmate, before she knew what bisexuality was. But later she switched strictly to men (partly because of a scandal involving her mother), marrying at an early age and soon discovering what a pig her husband was. So begin a lifetime of marriages, romances, and an attempt to find love, if not happiness.

"It Seemed Important At The Time" is one of those books that seems like it was dashed off in an afternoon. About 150 pages, large print, and vast parts of Vanderbilt's life are skipped -- her childhood is about five pages long. As a result, this book seems like half a biography -- just the juiciest bits, with all non-romantic details carefully snipped out.

But really, what could be more exciting than a lifetime of love and passion? Quite a few things -- Vanderbilt's "love" rarely seems to get beyond an elongated crush; she developed interest in several men due to seeing them on movie screens. If she developed a crush, she pursued it, and usually got burned. Crushes are normal in a thirteen-year-old, but not so normal in an adult woman. Vanderbilt consistently puts her men on pedestals, then blames them if they don't live up to her hopes -- and time has not taught her that this is a bad idea.

And Vanderbilt's ultra-rushed writing isn't too great either.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Lilia on October 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I believe it is important to always honor oneself: through your decisions, mistakes, pains, loss and experiences. When looking back on your life and the memories you've made, the bad tattoos, the stupid flings, the comebacks you keep rehearsing and will never have the chance to fire back at antagonists, honor yourself and just... be... you, and know WHO you are! Gloria Vanderbilt has done that. The title of this piece is perfect for the story and for a memoir. It seems that Gloria Vanderbilt lived a Disney Princess' existence. The supporting characters responded around her sometimes in fairytale ways and sometimes in human error but usually with a combination of the two. Ever noticed how so many Disney main characters don't have mothers present? GV's mom was less than lucid and somewhat driven by recreant indulgence and so the girl GV was raised by an aunt. This mother hungry set seem always slightly broken but well weathered and somehow easier to pull for, more worth sympathizing with. Albeit there is nothing here to feel sorry about: Ms. Vanderbilt won't let you!

She has had a good time, has loved love, loving and gettin' lots of lovin' and never had to apologize because she's quick to flitter off to the next episode guided by celebrity invitation and supercharged but shrouded crushes . The sumptious pictures really help complete and fill in the elegance of the story. She's never full of herself and is a refreshingly hard worker. That lack of fullness could have added a little edge to the memoir, but the absence of self-puffing is reflected in her loose end romances and the expression on her beautiful face featured on this extremely readable and decadent memoir. More of the shining stars who light up our guilty pleasure loving lives should take such an approach. Sexy and classy!
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