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Oh the Hell of It All: A Memoir Hardcover – April 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


“[Montandon’s] book will multiply the number of people ready to devote their lives to the service of high ideals.” (Mikhail Gorbachev)

“I can testify to my mother’s ability to tell a wild, fascinating, redemptive story, full of heart and joy.” (Sean Wilsey)

About the Author

Pat Montandon was reared in Oklahoma, the daughter of Nazarene ministers. In the 1960s she fled Oklahoma for the excitement and glamour of San Francisco, where she created a life as a newspaper columnist, television host, and writer. Her books include How to Be a Party Girl, The Intruders, Making Friends, and Celebrities and Their Angels. She has been interviewed extensively by the media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The New Yorker, Esquire, People, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco Examiner. She has appeared on Today, The Tonight Show, NBC News, and CBS News. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; F First Edition edition (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061146064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061146060
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was as unlikely to become a writer, much less a best selling author, as politicians are to stop talking. When How To be A Party Girl was published my mom said, "How can you write a book when you can't spell?" My next book Peeing On Hot Coals is a LOL childhood memoir, poignant too, about growing up in Oklahoma and Texas sandstorms, hungry at times, and will explain where I found the inspiration and grit to write all these book. Enjoy, darlin'.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Psych teacher on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read Sean Wilsey's book and was dumbstruck at how all the adults around him put themselves first, his narcissistic father, his pathological step mother and his broken mother. Reading his mother's story rounds the whole tale out. Beaten on by local writers, abandoned by her grubbing social climbing friend, Dede Traina Wilsey and her philandering husband, Al Wilsey, (who was unfaithful to Dede until his death), Ms. Montandon didn't break. She nearly broke, but she didn't. Instead, she listened to her inner wisdom and stepped out of herself, reaching out to give a voice to all the fears on the planet about nuclear obliteration. Across nations, she found children AND adults who were brave enough to speak out for peace. We need her now, its time to get the voices of the people connected again. Her life work is astounding and this is a great, simple to read, well edited book, it unfolds her story and the story of a global peace movement. She was able to bring peace to herself and her son, just not to the self centered, shallow ex-husband and his harpy, money hungry and jewel hungry wife Dede.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brooks L. Cushman on May 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I fell in love with Sean Wilsey's "Oh the Glory of It All" so when I saw that his mother wrote her own memoir I knew I had to read it. Going into the book I thought I might be bored reading about all the peace trips she took but to my surprise Pat Montandon was able to ditch the boring stuff and keep the book moving at a fast pace. I recommend that you read Sean Wilsey's memoir first and if you enjoy it move on to Pat Montandon's.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By GPJB on April 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
From her very humble beginings as a preachers daughter in Oklahoma to the prejudice she faced as an "Okie" in California to her stint as San Francisco's "Golden Girl" and eventually as a world peace advocate and finally (now) as a loved mother and grandmother, I enjoyed getting a chance to peak into this womans remarkable life. While she could have dwelt on the negative times - and she had some doozies -she talks about them, but moves on....

What most struck me was her refusal to be beaten down by people or experiences. I finished the book wanting to know more about her.

Apparently she had to edit her original book down from 1000+ pages to a little over 300. I hope her publisher

comes out with a sequel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Abby Raffles on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My friend, Patti, has been going through a horrible divorce. Her almost ex-husband lies to her, cheats her, and even once told her he was responsible for an attack on his second wife after she divorced him. Two "robbers" entered her vacation apartment in Mexico and shot her boyfriend to death and put five bullets in her. She recovered. My friend's husband said disgustedly, "They missed a major organ."
That's why I decided to read this memoir. My curiousity about whether Patti's divorce is really the shocking event to others that it is to me.
This is an interesting and well-written memoir. The details of the divorce -- how her husband and best friend betrayed her, how they set about to destroy her by taking her son and controlling her access to money so she was always poor -- those details are fascinating. If you look among the reviews written about it on Amazon, you'll see one written by a friend of "Dede" - the betrayer in Pat's book. The reviewer says Dede was a loving and hard-working person and to say otherwise is untrue. I'm sure she is right. Pat Montadon paints her as a money-mad, power-mad homewrecker -- and I'm sure that is equally true. This book shows that the Angel on Earth is actually the same person as the Most Evil Devil. That is the truth at the center of the book, that in every heart, even in a saint's heart, lurks a cold, hardhearted, mean-spirited doppelganger. They are the same person. I'm a journalist. I can tell you that at the home of every serial killer are relatives and neighbors who say, "But he's such a nice person! He takes the kids out for ice cream! He helped me when my car broke down!" and on and on. The serial killer and the loving father are the same person. I love that this book shows that.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
between the reviewers of this book. And, it all seems to pertain to the character of Dede Wilsey, castigated in both Pat and Sean's books.

I picked up Pat's book last week in Powell's in Portland. I had had no idea Sean's Mother had written her story, but was very pleased with both her writing and her candor. I was particularly taken with her reaction to Sean's book. When I read his book a few years ago, I thought he was brutal about his father and his step-mother (the saint/devil Dede), but was quite loving about his mother, Pat. He did write about her failings as a parent (quite understandable when going through such a vicious divorce) but I also saw the love and admiration he held for her, even when he was going through the rough patch in his childhood and adolescence. Pat evidently was quite hurt by his portrayal of her, but she really needn't have been.

And, looking at the pictures, I'd say she looks fabulous for almost 80 years old! I'd love to know who did her face-work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Cantwell on July 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I read Sean Wilsey's book first, and really sympathized with his horrific upbringing. Then Pat Montandon came out with her memoir and I thought, oh great, she's trying to cash in on her son. Boy, was I wrong.

This book tells, "the rest of the story," and the rest of the story is an engrossing read. I am not some new-agey, give peace a chance kind of girl, I am way too cynical for that, so I was expecting the "Children as Peace Keepers" bit to be annoying. It wasn't. The author may have been naive about convincing world leaders to lay down their arms, but she really put her money where her mouth was, and although she was passive in a lot of aspects of her life, allowing people to take advantage of her, when it came to her committment to this cause, her strength and willingness to put herself in danger was astonishing.

Ms. Montandon's life has really been fascinating, and she puts it all out there: the hard times in Oklahoma, her escape from a life of poverty and boredom, her "marriage" to the King of Torts (an entertaining and interesting guy, but not exactly great husband material); her subsequent marriage to a man who turned out to be an absolute beast. She candidly documents the abuse she suffered at the hands of him, his scheming harridan of a new wife who used to be her best friend, and frankly, her son, who apparently inherited his father's mean, vindictive streak, and often treated his mother abysmally, even after he entered adulthood and presumably got therapy. She gives a very believable account of what it's like to live in San Francisco's high society, and how her friends turned on her and ostracized her once the cash flow shut off.

This is a fascinating documentation of a life interestingly, if not always happily, lived. The author is clearly a generous, free spirit. I highly recommend this book.
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