Most helpful positive review
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I'm not sure if the other two reviewers (so far) ...
on August 22, 2008
read the same book I did. I thought Bill Patten did a wonderful job in bringing his interesting family to life by concentrating on his three "fathers". His "real" father, Duff Cooper, his "assumed" father, Bill Patten, and his "step" father, Joe Alsop. All three men were members of the WASP aristocracy, either in the US or in England, and all played important roles in both the US government or the British government in the first fifty or so years of the 20th Century.
But between all these men was one woman, Susan Mary, herself a product of the same background as the men, who married two of them and bore a child - Bill the author - to the third. Susan Mary, a seemingly cold woman, certainly nicer to her friends than her children, a rather calculating woman, more at home in London and Paris society than with her children. Maybe the coldness came from having lost a beloved older sister when she was a child. Whatever caused it, the reticence and distance she imposed on her older child was partially to blame for what seems like a life-time "search" for identity by her son.
Patten writes well and the reader can tell that he certainly seems to have gotten his life together. Maybe it took his mother's death in 2004 to put the pieces together.