HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir by Wendy Burden
Loading...

Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir

by Wendy Burden

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2603843,918 (3.48)21
None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This book is a bit like the train wreck you can't take your eyes off. It certainly demonstrates that even extreme wealth cannot make everything better. On some pages, it is fascinating (like active monkeys at the zoo) - the rich really do live differently. But the book shows a striking dichotomy of life that The author lived. When with her uber-rich paternal grandparents, she had access to the life of luxury, but when she was with her mother at home - they often lived (in later years) in near squalor. The thread that runs through both sides of the family is alcoholism (and other substance abuse). Like other reviewers, I wish more family photos had been included. It is a great fast read when you need something truly different to shake things up. ( )
  mickeycat | Aug 16, 2013 |
Hilarious! I only wish Wendy had included pictures of her family. ( )
  madamepince | Apr 14, 2012 |
“Sepulchrally dismal, she was the three-dimensional equivalent of woe.”

My third memoir for the year, Wendy Burden’s Dead End Gene Pool is a dizzying ride through the lives of the ultra-rich descendants of Cornelius Vanderbilt, starting briefly with her grandparents’ antecedents, focussing for quite some time on Wendy’s childhood, which was heavily influenced by her paternal grandparents, and moving into her teenage and student years.

The first half of this book was highly comic – Wendy recounting the tales of her forebears, over-moneyed, over-sexed and often under-endowed with sanity. Similarly the stories of her early childhood, mostly revolving around her grandparents and their staff at the New York mansion. As Wendy grows older, though, the anecdotes get a bitter edge and the book becomes one of those ubiquitous misery memoirs of growing up with an alcoholic single parent. The grandparents become senile and sadly dependent, rather than amusing.

Memoirs are clearly a form of non-fiction that I am coming to enjoy, though – I very much enjoyed Sleeping Naked Is Green and The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance (when I wrote that review, I hoped I’d never have to write the title again. It seems to be following me).

Worth reading if you are interested in rich American people. Otherwise, there’s funnier material out there. ( )
1 vote readingwithtea | Sep 1, 2011 |
Great for 3/4 but gets tiring toward the end. Excessively dysfunctional family of mind boggling wealth. ( )
1 vote bookerTB | Aug 21, 2011 |
Read my review at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog! ( )
  herebebooks | Jun 10, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Although Wendy Burden begins her darkly funny memoir, Dead End Gene Pool, by recounting the lives of her ancestors on her father’s side (she’s the great-times-four-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt), the book’s dedication makes it clear where the heart of her story really lies: “For my mother, goddamn it.”
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For my mother, goddamn it.
First words
Prologue: It's a testament to his libido, if not his character, that Cornelius Vanderbilt died of syphilis rather than apoplexy.
Chapter 1: “Your attention, please – whoops!”
Quotations
Florence, on the other hand, did marry. Which vastly benefitted my father’s side of the family, where we will remain, because even though this book is about my father and my mother, the truth of the matter is my mother’s family didn’t have a lot of money, and my father’s family did, and rich people behaving badly are far more interesting than the not so rich behaving badly.
My mother’s advice was to (quote) shut up and put up. Leslie Lepington Hamilton Burden … was not one to coddle her children with parental guidance.
Number One Son got everything before me. Even psychoanalysis. … When Will returned from his appointment, I sniffed him all over like a dog checking out a mate who’s been to the vet. “So?” I would demand. … He didn’t recognize his hour with Dr. Berman as the spotlit, center-of-attention shower of love I knew it to be. I was burning up with curiosity; I needed to know what I was missing. But inevitably, my weekly joust for the dirt ended with no answers, and Will punching me in the stomach and declaring, “Dr. Berman says you’re acting out ‘cause you’re jealous.” No shit.
My grandfather could never have enough staff. His grandmother Twombly had run her three behemoth houses with the help of two hundred servants, whereas he was forced to make do with a skeleton staff of twenty for his own four.
Red-knuckled hands perpetually wiped and dusted, scrubbed and polished, mopped and waxed, and tidied and organized, putting to rights the everyday messes of we, the Goddam Spoiled Rotten.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

The great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt gives readers a grand tour of the world of wealth and WASPish peculiarity, in her irreverent and darkly humorous memoir.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 avail.
252 wanted
2 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.48)
0.5 1
1 2
1.5
2 5
2.5 1
3 28
3.5 8
4 31
4.5 3
5 7

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,400,601 books! | Top bar: Always visible