From Publishers Weekly
In this self-indulgent memoir, journalist Pell recollects her privileged East Coast upbringing and her gradual break with the affluence and expectations of her dynastic clan. As a young woman, Pell rode horses, spent time at her grandparents' Tuxedo Park villa ("with two enormous round towers and a long, splendid living room that you stepped down into from a double stairway") and shopped at Bergdorfs with relatives called Cooky, Pookie, Goody and Tinkie (Pell was nicknamed Topsy). Following her debut, Pell went to college "to be interesting to my future husband and to pass the time until he showed up," and it wasn't until she graduated and moved to the West Coast that she escaped the overweening pressure to fill the family-standard "snobbish foxhunting debutante" mold. Her eventual transformation to black sheep, unfortunately, is too little too late. Though her luxurious childhood is marked by genuine emotional pain, alienation and confusion, most readers will have a hard time empathizing with her personal issues or her upper-class guilt, particularly in the present financial climate.
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"In We Used to Own the Bronx
, her revealing and riveting memoir, Eve Pell defies the dictates of her social class--to be charming but not to say what she felt--and bares all. She detonates bombshells and unmasks betrayals on almost every page." --San Francisco Chronicle
"... a literary treat. ... Pell gives us a kind of cultural anthropology of the closest thing in America to a landed gentry." --Wall Street Journal
Review by Sol Stern
"We all know what poverty can do--to individuals, to families, to societies that look the other way ... But what about wealth? What can the possession of immense fortune, over time, do to us? Eve Pell knows. Eve Pell, in this riveting new memoir, tells. We should listen." --Too Much
"...refreshingly direct ... Pell ... uses her lively memoir of growing up in aristocratic style to ask a series of provocative questions: Is it possible to choke on a silver spoon? What good is a sense of entitlement? Are riches wasted on the rich? Her candid account of bristling at her birthright transcends the stereotype suggested by the subtitle to divulge the psychic pressures of living with inherited privilege in a meritocracy-mad country ... To her lasting credit, We Used to Own the Bronx
is a graceful object lesson in how perspective is gained not all at once but by accretion, the reward of years of methodical observation." --truthdig.com
"Eve Pell gives us a fascinating glimpse into a secret world of unfathomable wealth and privilege. Hers is an unexpected and ultimately hopeful journey of rebellion and reconciliation." --Jane Fonda