Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir

( 66 )

Overview

For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy Burden's birth, the Burdens had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline—and were rarely seen not holding a drink.

In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites listeners to meet her tragically flawed ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers and in stores.

Pick Up In Store Near You

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (47) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $20.01   
  • Used (45) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 2 of 5
Showing 11 – 20 of 45 (5 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2012

Feedback rating:

(18)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Very Good
New York, NY 2010 Hard cover Very good. No dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 279 p. Audience: General/trade.

Ships from: Shelton, CT

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(3915)

Condition: Good
Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases.Free State Books. Never settle ... for less. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Halethorpe, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(2510)

Condition: Good
Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Biggest little used bookstore in the world.

Ships from: Reno, NV

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(10845)

Condition: Very Good
Light wear to edges and pages. Cover and spine show no easily noticeable damage. A tradition of southern quality and service. All books guaranteed at the Atlanta Book Company. Our ... mailers are 100% recyclable. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Atlanta, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(22714)

Condition: Good
Our feedback rating says it all: Five star service and fast delivery! We have shipped four million items to happy customers, and have one MILLION unique items ready to ship today!

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(725)

Condition: Acceptable
Acceptable A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (the dust cover may be missing). Pages can include considerable notes in pen or highlighter. This item ... was a donation to Goodwill of Greater Washington. Thanks for your order from Goodwill of Greater Washington. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Washington, DC

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(2742)

Condition: Acceptable
NOTE: Book is actually in Good condition, except it has no dust jacket. This is the only reason why the condition is listed as 'acceptable' and not 'Good'.

Ships from: Tualatin, OR

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2006

Feedback rating:

(3854)

Condition: Good
Some wear on book from reading, some spine creases, wear on binding and pages, we guarantee all purchases and ship all items via USPS mail.

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(7178)

Condition: Like New
Nearly new condition book. Sail the Seas of Value

Ships from: Windsor, CT

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(3812)

Condition: Very Good
Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book shows a small amount of wear - very good condition. Selection as wide as the Mississippi.

Ships from: St Louis, MO

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 2 of 5
Showing 11 – 20 of 45 (5 pages)
Close
Sort by
Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy Burden's birth, the Burdens had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline—and were rarely seen not holding a drink.

In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites listeners to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother. At the heart of the story is Wendy's glamorous and aloof mother, who, after her husband's suicide, travels the world in search of the perfect sea and ski tan, leaving her three children in the care of a chain-smoking Scottish nanny, Fifth Avenue grandparents, and an assorted cast of long-suffering household servants (who Wendy and her brothers love to terrorize). Rife with humor, heartbreak, family intrigue, and booze, Dead End Gene Pool offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of old money and gives truth to an old maxim: The rich are different.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

If nineteenth century power brokers could understand the meaning of "gene pool," they would be appalled that the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of tycoon Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt would disparage her bloodline. It be impossible for them to believe that the descendants of that this masterful entrepreneur had become a clan of alcoholic, drug-using wastrels. Yet, if we believe Wendy Burden's irreverent memoir, it was true. Her own mother, for instance, was a case study in dysfunction; an emotionally distant woman who coped with the suicides of two close relations by starving and nearly drowning herself in drink. Daughter Wendy was perhaps more imaginative: She dealt with the disconnects by becoming a macabre goth and, eventually, by approaching familial cacophony with candor and winning wit. Imagine a more zestful, feminine Augusten Burroughs. Now in paperback and NOOKbook.

Kirkus Reviews
In her down-to-earth debut, the great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt offers an insider's view of growing up in an old-money family rich with dysfunction. Burden and her brothers, "for all intents and purposes" parentless, were reared under the less-than-watchful eyes of hired help and her grandparents. The author's jokes about her grandmother's digestive system aren't funny enough to merit their frequency, but it's hard not to sympathize with a narrator whose girlhood was so bereft of discipline and affection. She describes her grandmother as dependent on Percocet and Dubonnet, and both grandparents as heavy drinkers living in their own private reality. After her alcoholic, anorexic mother remarried-to Burden's late-father's best friend, an arms dealer-the unhappy family relocated to Virginia. A move to suburban England followed, where the author's "pretty much friendless" teenage years were peppered with bizarre experiences like her mother giving her birth-control pills at age 14. After her grandfather flew her to Paris on the Concorde to celebrate her 16th birthday, "things in Burdenland spiraled downward faster than you can say amphetamine psychosis," and her life was marked by her grandfather's increased drinking and her little brother's suicidal tendencies, drug addiction and conviction that he was the reincarnation of their father. The author's unwavering determination to view her memories through a humorous lens pays off in her total lack of self-pity, but she occasionally comes across as glib and perhaps unable to look too closely at the root of her family's pain. Consequently, her unique experiences are often merely entertaining instead of affecting. Engagingbut uneven. Agent: Kim Witherspoon/InkWell Management
From the Publisher
"Charles Addams meets Carrie Bradshaw in this honest, sardonic, and touching memoir." —-Jane Stanton Hitchcock, New York Times bestselling author of Social Crimes
The Barnes & Noble Review

Memoirs by poor little rich kids tend to be pretty interchangeable. The side effects of the Too-Much-Money-Disease are familiar. From the parents, we can expect absenteeism, self-indulgence, profligacy, alcohol abuse; from the neglected children, lack of focus, drugs, and depression. Wendy Burden's Dead End Gene Pool contains all of the above, but is lifted above the standard product by its author's powerful, idiosyncratic voice. Far from portraying herself as a victim, Burden comes across as a formidable hard-ass, turned almost to steel by her bizarre upbringing but not -- or not quite -- deprived of the ability to feel.

Descended on her father's side from Cornelius Vanderbilt and on her mother's from a long line of Massachusetts puritans, Burden unsurprisingly opts to focus on the paternal heritage. "Even though this book is about my father and my mother," she begins, "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." William Burden III, Wendy's father, killed himself when she was very small, and from that time on she and her brothers lived with their mother only on the rare occasions when she wasn't partying in some lotus-land like Palm Beach or Tijuana; eventually they came to view her as "a glamorous lodger who rented the master bedroom suite." The rest of the time the children were with their grandparents in what the author calls Burdenland, the couple's insanely grand demesnes in New York City, Northeast Harbor, Hobe Sound, and Mount Kisco. (The Fifth Avenue apartment, for those who are interested in such details, had fourteen bedrooms). Little Wendy distanced herself from her weird surroundings by cultivating a macabre streak and modeling herself on Wednesday Addams.

It was a surreal life, and Burden possesses the intelligence and dark humor to appreciate its more grotesque elements. Her narrative spares no one, not even herself and certainly not her careless, highly-sexed, frequently drunken mother. But as the book's dedication ("For my mother, goddamn it") reveals, one can sense a grudging affection behind every barbed sentence.

--Brooke Allen

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592405268
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author


Wendy Burden, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, is a former illustrator, zookeeper, taxidermist, and owner and chef of the bistro Chez Wendy.

AudioFile Earphones Award winner Coleen Marlo has been nominated three times for an Audie Award, winning for Snakewoman of Little Egypt by Robert Hellenga. She has also been awarded three Listen-Up Awards from Publishers Weekly, and Publishers Weekly named Coleen Audiobook Reader of the Year for 2010.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Thirty-one Moons 9

Popeye 23

Gaga in the Jungle 30

Terrapin Soup 47

My Family and Other Domestics 65

Ugly House 86

DC 107

Why they Invented Florida 123

A Dose of Religion 136

Oi, Yank! 160

George 186

Maine Revisited 209

We'll Always have Paris 227

Go Fish 240

Checkout Time 251

Deposition 266

Epilogue 277

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(13)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 2, 2010

    Dead End Writer

    I rarely write reviews but this book was so bad that I felt like I needed to warn people. I struggled to finish Dead End Gene Pool. I have no idea how this thing got published. The first couple of chapters were okay but that was it. This writing seemed so over done and cold. I wanted something fun/light to read but this book was depressing and the writer seemed self absorbed. When I finished it I was upset at myself for putting money in this womans pocket-after reading 250 pages of her complaing how hard it was to be spoiled I realized she obviously didn't need my money.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I hope this dead end gene pool stops here too

    In spite of the okay manner in which this book is written, I found myself becoming bored very quickly because NOTHING HAPPENS! The anecdotes are slightly amusing, but it has no depth, story or Insight into any of the characters. I enjoy reading about rich people as much as the next person and I love trash, but "when I was 7, when I was 8, when I was 9, when I was 10..." can get very tiresome. I am giving it two stars and not one because I enjoyed the first chapter. After that it was a total snooze.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The lives of messed up rich people

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    Waste of Time/Money

    Disappointing - Betrayal of Author's family secrets

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read!

    I just finished this book and thought it was great. She has an excellent writing style, funny, irreverent, and interesting. This first chapter gets a little bogged down as she details her relation to the Vanderbilts but after that, really engaging and I was sorry when it ended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2012

    I enjoyed the book although it wasn't what I expected. I did fi

    I enjoyed the book although it wasn't what I expected. I did find it
    extremely disappointing that the pictures from the book I looked at were
    not available in the nook version. It makes me less and less inclined
    to use the nook for books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Gabriella

    Im back

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Sorry, I just couldn't manage to get through it...

    My mom and I purchased this book at the recommendation of a friend. There are a few humorous scenes, but overall, I couldn't stay with it. I don't think my mom finished it either. With 100 pages to go, it didn't seem to be leading anywhere.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    ST RIP PARTY!!!!

    At live first result (involves nook s*x)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Nessa

    Is bored

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Jjr

    I can jump five feet off the ground

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Greyton

    See post in result six. :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Viv

    Where sierra

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    cameron

    Awesome!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Aled

    Howdy

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Lilly to tom

    Heyyy u on

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Fascinating

    I think this book offers such a unique and interesting perspective on distant and dysfunctional parenting. I loved the insight into the lives of this dynasty and loved her hilarious observations. I actually found myself laughing out loud.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not what I expected

    After reviewing the last couple of comments I've come to the realization that they must have been done by a friend of the author/or the author themself. I don't know how this book got so much press. I would read Me Talk Pretty One Day or Running with Scissors instead. The writing just wasn't that good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2010

    Loved this book!

    This book intrigued me from beginning to end. To peek in on a dynasty such as this one was great fun! My hat comes off to Wendy Burden for not following in the footsteps of her brothers. For those who wrote those scathing reviews, lighten up! Or is there a tad of envy blocking your view?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Want to hear more!

    While I admit that the Vanderbilt name made me buy, it's way more than just another Vanderbilt family tome; rather, it's a truly modern take on one of America's most interesting families brought, fast-forward, into our time. I didn't want it to end and actually re-read it immediately upon finishing it the first time just to catch all those things I didn't on my first read. My only criticism is it's way too short AND given the enticing photo on the cover there are NO photos inside when I'm sure they do exist!

    Thanks Wendy for letting me into your world!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)