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The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir Paperback – September 14, 2010

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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

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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307396053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307396051
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By Geneva Lewis VINE VOICE on 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 By Kirsten Nicole Mellor on 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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