Friday, April 23, 2010

Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden

Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden book cover nonfiction memoir
Dead End Gene Pool
by Wendy Burden
Gotham (April 1, 2010)
288 pages
Received book from TLC Book Tours

Summary in a Sentence:

The great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt offers an insider's view of growing up in an old-money family rich with dysfunction.

My Thoughts:

Author Burden takes what is in reality a sad family situation full of neglect and lacking any sort of parental direction, and spins it into a funny tale reminiscent of Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. The cover of this book is definitely what reeled me in, and Burden hits the ground running with jokes about her flatulent grandmother and her jet-setting absentee mother.

Although the book definitely has its witty moments, the jokes and the incessant effort to make a bad situation funny become tiresome after awhile. I also wonder at the accuracy of certain parts of the memoir. Nobody I know remembers this much about their childhood! I think I was hoping for more of the Vanderbilt family backstory, not just how messed up Burden's parents and grandparents were. Certain stories in the memoir that were supposed to make me chuckle simply made me cringe or shake my head. Needless to say, this one fell flat for me. If you want a truly funny memoir, check out Burroughs instead.

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Other reviewers on the tour:

Monday, April 19th: Life in Pink
Tuesday, April 20th: Bibliophile by the Sea
Wednesday, April 21st: A Sea of Books
Thursday, April 22nd: Simply Stacie
Friday, April 23rd: A Bookshelf Monstrosity
Monday, April 26th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, April 28th: Book’N Around
Thursday, April 29th: Chaotic Compendiums
Friday, April 30th: Rundpinne
Monday, May 3rd: One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
Wednesday, May 5th: Book Club Classics!
Friday, May 7th: The Brain Lair
Monday, May 10th: The Serpentine Library
Tuesday, May 11th: Books Are Like Candy Corn
Monday, May 17th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Tuesday, May 18th: Starting Fresh
Tuesday, May 18th: Books on the Brain: Reading Series Discussion


LisaMM said...

Hi Amanda, I'm sorry this one didn't work so well for you. I'm reading it now and I kind of see your point in a way, how she's trying to put a funny spin on some things that are just tragic, but I find her wit appealing and her writing solid.

Thanks so much for being on the tour! We appreciate the time you spent reading/writing about Dead End Gene Pool!

Jennifer said...

I come from a pretty dysfunctional family. My siblings and I find a lot of black humor in it, now that it's all safely past. :) I might have to check this out - it sounds right up my alley.

Care said...

I appreciate this review. I remarked to a friend that I can barely remember the significant events/days of my childhood, nevermind recreating conversations I had at the age of 8. I'm not finding much motivation to finish this which is my sign to go look for reviews that say what I'm thinking. Which usually convince me to DNF.

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