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Patchwork Child: Early Memories Hardcover – November 9, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Philanthropist Astor, who has written an autobiography ( Footprints ) and a novel ( The Last Blossom on the Plum Tree ), here reissues a memoir of her early years, originally published in 1961 and out of print since 1982. New from the author, now in her 90s, is a revised introduction, eight pages of color photographs, additional illustrations and affecting excerpts from her childhood diaries. As the only child of a career Marine officer who was the son of an admiral and a mother from a moneyed background, her early years were privileged if somewhat lonely. Accompanying her parents to her father's foreign posts, Astor spent time in Hawaii, Panama, China and Santo Domingo. Such travels provided her with skills and polish (she spoke fluent Chinese), but she was frequently isolated and related to dolls better than to other children. Astor, whose memoir has a refreshingly homey quality, is appreciative of her parents for the love they gave her, their encouragement of her inquiring mind and the excellent education she received.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this 1962 volume, Astor related her life from her childhood up until her first marriage. As the daughter of a Marine Corps officer, young Brooke traveled to many exotic locales, including Peking, Panama, and Hawaii. This "lighthearted, nostalgic memoir" ( LJ 11/15/52) remains "recommended for public libraries."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; revised ed. edition (November 9, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679426876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679426875
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,041,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on July 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first of the two memoirs of Brooke Astor. Through her "worm's eye view" we get a glimpse a turn of the century childhood that spans cultures and continents. We see the genteel life of the period's US military abroad who assisted in building the Panama Canal and represented US interests in China. While Brooke sees the new amazing flying machine in China and the funeral of China's last empress, stateside, Brooke's grandparents continue to employ their former slave as a cook.

We see the mores of the times, in her British school in China, students who slump get a board tied to their backs, and stateside, her grandmother, most concerned about whom her daughters will marry, sees Catholicism as the religion of her servants and the laborers. Brooke's mother clearly predates Dr. Spock, abruptly giving away her dolls (after the trauma of an international move and the loss of the family dogs), mandating that the academic Brooke would not go to college and telling Brooke and others that she was too homely to attend a Princeton dance. Brooke's later life would certainly gratify her status conscious mother and grandmother.

Mrs. Astor's life has been an adventure. From these beginnings, she faced problems and constraints with optimism and grit. She transcended the times and her Edwardian-like childhood. As I write this, she is still alive at 105. This book and her second memoir, Footprints give a unique perspective on the times. It is unfortunate that there will never be a third.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is too bad Mrs Astor didn't write more. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the few books that she produced. It is a good read.
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