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Oh the Glory of It All Paperback – April 25, 2006
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Wilsey's father was a distant, wealthy man who used a helicopter when a moped would do and whose mandates included squeegeeing the stall after every shower. Much of Wilsey's youth was spent as subservient to, or rebelling against this imposing man. But the maternal figures in Wilsey's childhood were no less affecting. His mother, a San Francisco society butterfly turned globe-trotting peace promoter, seemed to behave only in extremes--either trying to convince young Sean to commit suicide with her, or arranging impromptu meetings with the Pope and Mikhail Gorbachev. And Dede, his demon of a stepmother, would have made the Brothers Grimm shiver.
As always with memoirs one must take expansive sections of recalled dialogue with a grain of salt, but Wilsey's short, unflinching sentences keep his outlandish story moving too quickly for much quibbling. In the end, Wilsey says, "It took the unlikely combination of the three of them--mother, father, stepmother--to make me who I am." It's a fairly basic conclusion after 479 pages of turning every stone, but it's also one that renders his story--more than shocking or glorious--human. --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Not only is this a fascinating commentary on how the rich and famous live, it's also heartrendingly honest, tragic, and laugh-out-loud funny. Sean's recollection of his trip to Russia on his mother's first "peace mission" is so funny it should be mandatory reading for creative writers. His honesty about his efforts to be the cool kid made me laugh and cry at the same time, particularly since I was the same age as Sean in the 1980s. I did not think less of Sean as he told of his prep school experiences and less-than-flattering behavior. On the contrary, the courage to write such a memoir generated my respect. Sean came through a terrible childhood where he was treated with less regard than the family dog, yet he still emerged a decent and thriving human being.
As for Dede Wilsey, who supposedly is threatening to sue Sean Wilsey, I believe every word about her in this book. The proof speaks for itself. For starters, she just donated $10 million to the De Young while her stepsons were left penniless after Al Wilsey's death. We reap what we sow. The world would be a better place if every wicked stepmother had a book written about her while she was still alive and kicking to read it. It's such great poetic justice.
Wilsey made me feel for him and all that he went through, partly because I am a sucker for survivors of emotional abuse and also because it was nice to read a memoir from somebody my age (we are a year apart) where I could relate to the era he was referring to.
The book unfortunately begins to lag as Wilsey chronicles being shuttled from school to school and his rebellion against his parents. As interesting as this is, this part book should have been cut down to half its size; after reading about all the people in the schools and every last detail of a skateboarding routine, the type started to blur on the page. And then we get to Amity which Wilsey describes lovingly? ironically?
To me, Amity just seemed another school for troubled rich kids that bore no resemeblance to the reality many people face. Most juvies don't go to opulent settings in Italy to deal with their problems.Read more ›
I hope I can convey just a little of how much this book meant to me, and how much it has helped me to read this brilliant (and by the way, REALLY funny, which is a killer combination) articulation of how one young man came to terms with it all. He tells an incredible story incredibly well, and it has sparked some amazing conversations, as well as some inner journeys, for people close to me.
I'm re-reading this and realizing that I've said too little about the book's own merits -- the writing, storytelling, humour -- but I feel like I've already gone on long enough, so will end here. I hope it suffices to say that I consider it one of the most compelling, and gut-wrenchingly honest, books I've read in recent memory.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not certain I loved it, but certainly was impressed. Thrown to the wolves, so to speak, after his parents' divorce, lacking the basic demonstrations of love most parents would... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Lucille Bellucci
I loved this book. Wilsey had a fascinating childhood, rare in many ways, but entirely relatable at its core. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ellomeno
I think the editor was a political appointee - ie, no show job. Way more here than there needs to be.Published 10 months ago by Kim T
Read it twice now. I didn't want it to end either time. I recommend it to everyone. Favorite book ever.Published 11 months ago by xoxo
A real spellbound her that you cannot put down. It's hard to believe that this is a true story, but it is. I guess this is America greed at its best!Published 13 months ago by Alice Tilney
Memoirs are difficult. Sean does well here. SF life is impenetrable, seemingly most of all to its own insiders. MjPublished 17 months ago by M. Josephson