From the Publisher
“Funny and defiant”
—The Los Angeles Times
“A family dysfunction story at its best…The former trustifarian’s portrayal of his bold and brash, potty-mouth grandma is a hoot...”
—The Washington Post
“With genuine affection and brutal honesty, [Rothschild] paints vivid, delightful portraits of the colorful characters who crossed his path...”
“Rothschild is a master storyteller of misadventures and emotional drama. He effortlessly allows readers to see events from his perspective, drawing them into his court and making them his advocates.”
—Rocky Mountain News
“The book is delightful and funny—with smelly old people, embarrassing talent show routines and an imaginary midget butler—and reading it is the literary equivalent of spending a Saturday afternoon on the couch, watching an engrossing television program.”
—The Nashville Scene
“Touching, biting, and honest, Rothschild recalls every child’s search for identity, rebellion against common sense, and the quest for love that has always been there. Humor, compassion, a man who refuses to ride a white Rolls-Royce after Labor Day, and a chubby Judy Garland impersonator with a Jewfro. What’s there not to love?”
—Annie Choi, author of Happy Birthday or Whatever
“Matt Rothschild’s hilarious, irreverent memoir of family dysfunction is so smart and true, with characters so wonderfully drawn, that, frankly, when it looked like things would turn out okay for the writer in the end, I was heartbroken.”
—Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I’m Like This and Leave the Building Quickly
“How does the old joke go? ‘Some of my best friends are Rothschilds’? Well, after reading this playful, heartfelt charmer of a book, packed with Vanity Fair–worthy anecdotes of the wondrous ways the other half lives, you’ll wish Matt Rothschild really was your best friend! Call me, Matt! I miss you already!”
—Robert Leleux, author of The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy
From the Hardcover edition.
Rothschild, a writer and high school teacher living in Florida, was abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandparents, a retired Jewish couple living in "the most exclusive building in the most exclusive neighborhood" of New York City. The setting is sitcom-perfect, from the headstrong grandmother and exasperated grandfather to the wisecracking servants, and Rothschild's youthful acting out offers much opportunity for humor. At one point, his behavior was so out of hand that one of the few private schools he hadn't been asked to leave would accept him only if his grandparents donated one of their Van Goghs as well. But all is not happy: an early attempt by his mother to reunite the family ends in disaster, and her selfish behavior forces him to care for his Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother while still a teenager. Rothschild has been through a lot, and he's an able storyteller, easily drawing readers' sympathy by layering the emotional drama. If his story seems incomplete, that's probably because it is-the final break with his mother would, from an older author, be the midpoint at which Rothschild turns his life around, but this memoir ends with just the first glimmers of an optimistic future. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Here's a notable but hardly atypical scene from first-time memoirist Rothschild's poor-little-rich-boy story: overwrought, 13-year-old Matt runs away from home with a $100 bill and a box of rat poison. When the poison fails to do him in, he takes a cab to Times Square to ask the prostitutes whether he's gay. He gets an answer, gets relieved of his remaining cash, and gets sent back home to face his grandparents, who address the situation by buying Matt a puppy. Clearly, Rothschild has quite a story to tell. Abandoned by his jet-setting mother, he's raised by her indelibly portrayed odd-couple parents: Matt's feisty, irrepressibly opinionated grandmother and storytelling, class-conscious grandfather, the only Jewish family in an exclusive building on Manhattan's East Side. Enduring a childhood of privilege and self-doubt, Matt is dismissed from one elite school after another, befriends a neighbor girl who convinces him to steal bagsful of Barbies from F.A.O Schwarz, and struggles with his weight, his sexuality, and especially his breathtakingly wealthy-and stunningly dysfunctional-family. Rothschild's style serves his story well. Reminiscent of David Sedaris, he is by turns whimsical and brutal, self-involved and self-deprecating. A strong debut; recommended for public libraries.
Janet Ingraham Dwyer