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VINE VOICEon October 2, 2005
In this fascinating memoir, Gloria Vanderbilt describes the first seventeen years of her unusual life. Her earliest memories were of her father's death, and going to Paris to live with her mother. It was Gloria's greatest desire just to be noticed by her mother, to hear her voice, and maybe, if she were good enough, to actually be loved by her. But they were never alone; they were always surrounded by relatives, lovers, movie stars, and even royalty, and her only source of love was her beloved nurse.

At the age of ten, Gloria was involved in a controversial custody battle between her mother and her aunt, who became Gloria's new guardian. Gloria lived in a series of mansions and penthouses and watched the whirl of high society life around her as through a veil, never really connecting with anyone and having no idea who she really was or where she belonged.

This book is a rare peek into a girl's soul, a girl who just happened to be the most famous little rich girl in the country. She called herself The Imposter; fatherless, almost-motherless, whispered-about but never talked to, her life directed by lawyers and drowning in loneliness. As she said, if her story were a play, her part would be so small, she would be an understudy. "Once Upon a Time" is exciting, touching, and well-written, and impossible to put down.

Kona
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on June 21, 2010
In this first volume of her autobiography, "Little Gloria" Vanderbilt recounts the years of her life as a "poor little rich girl", who had money galore but not nearly enough love, in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1933, her life was forever marred by a vicious custody battle that pitted her grandmother and her wealthy Aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney on the one side, against Gloria's own young mother on the other side. Gloria, being too young to understand why the adults are fighting over control of her and her immense fortune, only wants to be with her beloved nanny Dodo, who has taken care of her all her life and who is the closest thing to a real, loving mother figure that Gloria ever had. Unfortunately, as events unfold, both Dodo and Gloria's real mother end up expelled from her life, leaving a void that's impossible to fill.

Gloria's stream-of-consciousness writing style focuses on expressing emotions, almost poetically in parts. At times the narrative does not flow logically, but it works because little children also do not think in perfect logical streams and thus GLoria's story sounds as if it's really being told by Gloria, the little child. However, if you're not familiar with the basic Gloria Vanderbilt custody-trial story, I recommend you read a different book on it or at least read about Gloria on Wikipedia before you start this book, as otherwise Gloria's narrative may be difficult to follow.
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on October 25, 2011
is everything the book jacket said it would be and more. Gloria Vanderbilt had the uncanny ability to take you back to when she was a little girl. You get to feel everything she felt and understand the mind of a confused little girl born into a dysfunctional, albeit extremely wealthy family.
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on February 15, 2006
The Vanderbilt image is one of power, not necessarily contentment, and Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt had it all. Shuffled back and forth between a domineering grandmother and her mentally ill mother, she endures a strange, but educational childhood.

This book is her memoir of what it was like to live in a world apart from the rest of us, and the consequences. It reads like a novel about love and loss, only this is about the strange lifestyles of a family entrenched in the rich and famous, with a dash of old-time political intrigue.

She had to be without prejudice with such a different mother to emulate. The heredity probably caused the suicide of her son. She has endured much, but I do enjoy wearing her hand cream; alas, I did not care for the Vanderbilt jeans, but she stayed so slim they looked good on her.

More power to her! Her life hasn't been easy even with the wealth and class to which she was born. It has been hard but no doubt made her a stronger woman for just getting through it.
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on November 7, 2014
I just finished reading Arthur T. Vanderbilt's Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, which was FANTASTIC. Arthur's complete and straightforward epic touched on Gloria's chaotic and tumultuous childhood. My interest was piqued and that is why I bought this book. I'm sad to say, I can't get through it and I've tried many times. As someone mentions, the book is written from a child's point of view and it is "poetic". I agree it is written youthfully, but it's maddening. I think it is redundant, disorganized and impossible to stick with the author's train of thought. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough, but this book is making me mental.
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on May 16, 2016
Dependson your personality, as doesn't quite fit my preferences for reading, but like how she can denote no matter if rich or poor we all have same life struggles. she intrigues me
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on May 8, 2016
I grew up hearing about Gloria from my parents. It was nice to be able to read her side of it and see how the story unfolded factually. It's a great and easy read.
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on May 2, 2016
Interesting and a little sad
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on July 28, 2014
Loved hearing about Gloria Vanderbilt from Gloria Vanderbilt! Her very descriptive writing takes you back through time to experience her life with her.
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on January 16, 2013
I love reading about this great lady. Another delightful book from her.
Ms. Vanderbilt packs more into her life than anyone I have ever known.
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