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The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Diana Welch , Liz Welch , Amanda Welch , Dan Welch
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.38
You Save: $5.62 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of un­breakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with–growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Parker Posey Reviews The Kids Are All Right

Parker Posey's films include Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, Clockwatchers, Party Girl, and You've Got Mail. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of The Kids Are All Right:

As adults, the Welches have remembered the past as they did when they were children, giving us a window into the survival meachanisms of personality, of the the capacity to undergo huge blows of fate, of the manifestations of surviving that fate--and the soulful bonding of siblings to regenerate what was lost. This book carried me along with such speed and emotion and intimacy that I felt cast in the role as their imaginary friend. This book is their song and it will rock you along.--Parker Posey

More from The Kids Are All Right: Pictures of the Welches

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Mom. Dad, Liz, and Amanda in 1972
Liz, Amanda, and Dan in 1974
Liz, Mom and Dan
Fire Island Family Reunion, August 1991

From Publishers Weekly

In a memoir rendered eerily dry and scattered by emotional distance, the four Welch children, orphaned in their youth in the mid-1980s, recount by turns their memories and impressions of that painful time. Growing up in an affluent community of Bedford, N.Y., to a glamorous mother and a handsome father who was the head of an oil company, the children—Amanda (born in 1965), Liz (1969), Dan (1971) and Diana (1977)—were devastated first by the sudden death of their father in a car accident in 1983, followed by their mother three and a half years later after a long, wrenching bout with cancer. The two eldest girls, teenagers at the time and initiated into the drug and rock and roll scene, remember most vividly the details of that era when their mother, already diagnosed with uterine cancer, discovered that their father left a large debt; the family had to consolidate by selling their big house and their horses. After their mother died, the children were put in the care of others, mostly with disastrous consequences, especially for Diana, farmed out to a controlling neighbor family who initially hoped to adopt her, but decide otherwise after she hit her awkward teens. Each struggled to forge an identity within harrowing circumstances, with numbing results. Dan became a troublemaker and bounced out of boarding school, while Amanda, heavily into drugs, dropped out of NYU, and Liz traveled to get out of the house. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 768 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307396045
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,683 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Adults Are All Right September 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My acid test for reading is dependent on one thing: CAN IT KEEP MY ATTENTION FOR 20 MINUTES. If I can get through the first 20 minutes, in all probablity the book will be at least 3* worthy. That said, this book is definitely 5+*.
A very rough synopsis for this book might begin: This is the story of the trials and tribulations of 4 children from an affluent suburb of NYC preceding the deaths of their ruggedly handsome father and their soap opera star mother. It takes the reader through their individual battles to survive after they are separated physically and how they prevail and are brought together again.
On the basis of my mini-review one might assume that this is a pretty melodramatic or sacharine sweet story mimicing the 1957 heartbreaker movie ALL MINE TO GIVE. One might also assume that the now adult kids have been cruelly traumatized by all the events beyond their control. Does this sound like a potential movie for TV? It should, but it isn't all maudlin and sappy.
As for family, this one may not be exactly traditional and certainly might be disturbing to some readers. However, it is an interesting family and these 'kids' do manage to turn out o.k.
The 5* rating is based in part upon the process used to tell this story. All 4 Welsh siblings have contributed to this memoir and their story is told from separate and distinct points of view. It is imbued with a fair amount of humor and a dash of sadness and it is in a certain sense their coming-of-age story. In spite of their physical separations from one another and a lot of rough patches while growing up, what really impressed me was how they managed to come together as a family again.
The writing style was definitely a plus for me. It was very casual/conversational.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Quadruple Memoir September 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is easily the best book I've read all year. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days despite a busy schedule. I laughed and I cried, and I can't remember the last time I was so moved by a story. The concept was amazing: four siblings recount life as it was before and after their patriarch's death. The writing is spectacular, and four clear voices emerge: Amanda, the rebellious elder child who seeks escape but tries to hold things together in her own way. Liz, the uber-responsible substitute mother who has a secret life. Danny: the happy-go-lucky charmer who turns hardcore delinquent. Diana, the lovable, youngest and most vulnerable family member who is literally separated from the Welches for a time in the turmoil and aftermath of their mother's death. This book underscores how vulnerable we all are, especially as children, and what family means not only in terms of emotional and spiritual identity, but also the tangibles of life: food, clothing, shelter, money. What can go awry when oversight fails, when four children are basically left to fend for themselves? The book doesn't shy away from painful realities:the struggles the family faced as new roles were created by necessity, the rage, self-medication, and resentments that people face without a safety net. The chapters on the slow decline of their valiant mother are real and painful. Tell the truth, and people will listen. The caveat that the truth is subjective at the introduction makes the story all the more compelling. The Welches are more than all right. They are survivors with a wicked sense of humor, and you will be rooting for them from beginning to end. They have succeeded in making their parents shine with life and vitality even though these charismatic figures left the stage far too early. The stark, bitter, brutal truths told in this tale are unforgettable because it so clearly reflects reality. The good, the bad, and everything in between...Life! Scars remain, but they march forward.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and engaging story; honestly, wonderfully told October 14, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book and read it straight through in one sitting -- 5 straight hours until 3am and could not put it down. Near the end I cried in particular for the injustices inflicted on Diana Welch as she struggles to come back to the family with whom she always knew she belonged. I absolutely loved the round robin of chapters switching between these four very different people and thought it was the perfect way to convey this very raw, sad, and honest portrayal of a real family -- two flawed but loving parents - not so great on dealing with reality in the first place -- who then make a series of choices, sending their children down a path that ends with the kids on their own or spread to different homes at such tender ages. That not a single note of this story comes off as over-privileged or whiny or even angry at their parents (or even all that angry at the woman who adopted and mistreated Diana) is a testament to how great the Welch kids did turn out, despite it all. Reading it as a parent of two kids, it takes my breath away too.
The writing in all sections is just flawless and perfectly toned to the different kids. You would never mistake a Dan section for a Diana one, or Liz's voice for Amanda's. And the two authors make that very tricky narrative device seem effortless. It is very clear-eyed and matter of fact, but heartbreaking at the same time. I just loved the way this story was told, so much so that I cannot imagine it being done as well any other way.
In some ways the things that happen to them are quite ordinary - wealthy suburban kids dabbling in drinking and drugs and sex, and issues of self-esteem and identity, screwing up in school, talking back and acting out - none of that is really new.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It was a terrible shame that the youngest had to be at the ...
As mentioned in other reviews this is a collective memoir by four siblings who lost their parents while they were all very young . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kate
2.0 out of 5 stars Not particularly interesting
The story of this book is intriguing but nothing special enough to warrant a book. A family is torn apart by accidents and cancer and the children struggle to keep it together... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Written Word
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and compelling memoir
Written from the perspectives of the siblings in the family, each provides his or her perspective to their parents' deaths and their subsequent journey through their grief and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by HappyCamper1
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read!
Another incident when the film and the book are different stories, although movies can capture only a piece of a story. I enjoyed both!
Published 12 months ago by Gilda Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
This is a very engrossing story of how a family survives a huge tragedy. I really could not imagine how awful it would have been if this had happened to me, as both my parents are... Read more
Published 20 months ago by K. B. Fenner
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost interest after a few chapters
I loved the premise of this book. Unfortunately, for some reason -- maybe the way the points of view alternated among the four children, maybe because the writing just wasn't that... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Silicon Valley Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kids Are Allright
A good book tells the story of the children of a soap opera star. They range in age from 5 years to teens. Read more
Published 22 months ago by lady g
4.0 out of 5 stars The kids will be all right
There are a few books that really get under your skin and this was one of them for me. I don't know what I was expecting when I first started to read "The Kids are All Right" but... Read more
Published on January 5, 2012 by Martha Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling and gut-wrenching
With a beloved soap-opera actress (Ann Williams) for a mother and a golden-boy oil entrepreneur as a father, the Welch kids seemed to have it made. Read more
Published on July 31, 2011 by Chel Micheline
2.0 out of 5 stars No Gratitude
I am surprised at the number of 5 star reviews. While written in an interesting format, this is a story of 4 rich kids who were dysfunctional even before their parents died. Read more
Published on June 28, 2011 by Carol A
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