It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir

( 14 )

Overview

An elegant, witty, frank, touching, and deeply personal account of the loves both great and fleeting in the life of one of America's most celebrated and fabled women.

Born to great wealth yet kept a virtual prisoner by the custody battle that raged between her proper aunt and her self-absorbed, beautiful mother, Gloria Vanderbilt grew up in a special world. Stunningly beautiful herself, yet insecure and with a touch of wildness, she set out at a very early age to find romance. ...

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It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir

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Overview

An elegant, witty, frank, touching, and deeply personal account of the loves both great and fleeting in the life of one of America's most celebrated and fabled women.

Born to great wealth yet kept a virtual prisoner by the custody battle that raged between her proper aunt and her self-absorbed, beautiful mother, Gloria Vanderbilt grew up in a special world. Stunningly beautiful herself, yet insecure and with a touch of wildness, she set out at a very early age to find romance. And find it she did. There were love affairs with Howard Hughes, Bill Paley, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few, and one-night stands, which she writes about with delicacy and humor, including one with the young Marlon Brando. There were marriages to men as diverse as Pat De Cicco, who abused her; the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, who kept his innermost secrets from her; film director Sidney Lumet; and finally writer Wyatt Cooper, the love of her life.

Now, in an irresistible memoir that is at once ruthlessly forthright, supremely stylish, full of fascinating details, and deeply touching, Gloria Vanderbilt writes at last about the subject on which she has hitherto been silent: the men in her life, why she loved them, and what each affair or marriage meant to her. This is the candid and captivating account of a life that has kept gossip writers speculating for years, as well as Gloria's own intimate description of growing up, living, marrying, and loving in the glare of the limelight and becoming, despite a family as famous and wealthy as America has ever produced, not only her own person but an artist, a designer, a businesswoman, and a writer of rare distinction.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Far from an anemic rehashing of a few bygone flings, Gloria Vanderbilt's "romance memoir" is a vivid, elegant reminiscence that covers a daunting number of one-night stands, affairs, and marriages. "Poor little rich girl" Vanderbilt was born into wealth but became a virtual hostage during her parents' long, well-publicized custody war. Fetchingly beautiful yet insecure and slightly wild, she began her amorous adventures early. Her partners included the rich, the eccentric, and the brilliant: Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, William Paley, Leopold Stokowski, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Sidney Lumet, and finally writer Wyatt Cooper, the great love of her life. It Seemed Important at the Time displays both Vanderbilt's gifts as a writer and her acute ability to reflect on her life experience.
From the Publisher
Dominick Dunne Gloria Vanderbilt's romance memoir, It Seemed Important at the Time, is, at various points in her extraordinarily famous life, explicitly romantic, wildly revealing, and bravely honest.
Publishers Weekly
Not surprisingly, it takes an older woman to write a great kiss-and-tell memoir-who else would have enough lovers under her belt? Vanderbilt opens with an appetizer of schoolgirl sex with a chum from Miss Porter's School in the 1930s and then regales readers with a star-studded cast of intimates-Howard Hughes, Leopold Stokowski, Bill Paley, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, among others. Some were one-night-stands, some torrid affairs; three or four she even married. Romance, after all, is "the search for something else, a renewal and a hope for transformation in life." In her less giddy moments, Vanderbilt considers how some of this relentless love-affairing may have been provoked by an unhappy childhood. She was only 10 when her mother lost custody of her in an infamous public trial; young Gloria was sent to live with cold Aunt Gertrude Whitney. When she was 21 and inheriting her fortune, husband Stokowski persuaded her to cut off financial support for her mother, which alienated mother and daughter for another 20 years. While there's a little venting about men who've swindled her, it's the dishy gossip-Paley chasing her around the sofas in his living room, Truman Capote basing Breakfast at Tiffany's on life at her brownstone-that keeps the pages turning. Even in the last chapter, Vanderbilt's going on about some man who's "the Nijinsky of cunnilingus." Ah, toujours l'amour! Photos. Agent, Mort Janklow. (Oct.) Forecast: Vanderbilt's memoir is tasty gossip for an older crowd-after all, there're lots of people who couldn't care less about Madonna or Britney but would like to know what it was like to date Howard Hughes. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Vanderbilt (A Mother's Story) has added to her literary oeuvre with what can be described only as musings. Purportedly full of gossip, this slight volume is actually quite discreet and touches only on her four marriages (two were to Leopold Stokowski and Sidney Lumet) and her affairs with Howard Hughes and others (e.g., a much-married photojournalist whom she doesn't name but who is easy to discern). Though she throws in the offhanded zinger, the book lacks the kind of details that gossip mavens really crave. Selective and coy, she hands out advice about sexiness "dinner, squashy apricot roses in a silver vase, on a white linen table lit by candlelight, champagne in fluted crystal, the Ritz in Paris" and fashion (never wear orange). Readers who can relate will love the book. For large public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/04.] Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a gossipy tribute to romance's irresistible lure, celebrity heiress Vanderbilt coyly recalls the many loves of her life. Though Vanderbilt offers a psychological explanation for her constant quest for love, it seems more a perfunctory aside than a major revelation in this paean to the susceptible heart. Some of the material has been covered in her other work (A Mother's Story, 1996, etc.): her happy but too-short marriage to Wyatt Cooper, who fathered her son, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Wyatt's early death, and the suicide of their other son Carter. Other sections are part of the public record concerning someone who's been a headline-maker since childhood in the 1930s, when Aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney went to court claiming that Gloria's mother was unfit (there were rumors of lesbian attachments) and won, becoming Gloria's legal guardian. Her absent mother had a lasting impact, admits Vanderbilt: "The love of my life was my mother. My search for love has and always will be to revive the dream of . . . obtaining the perfect mother to love me unerringly and unceasingly." And it is this search, always energetic, always optimistic, she now chronicles. The list of men in her life is long and often illustrious. They include husbands Pat DeCicco, Leopold Stokowski, and Sidney Lumet; Howard Hughes, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Roald Dahl (amusingly misspelled throughout as "Raoul"). Except for the one to Cooper, her marriages proved to be mistakes: DeCicco was abusive; Stokowski was cold and self-absorbed; Lumet wanted children and at the time she didn't, being too busy with her acting career. Her lovers have also often disappointed, but Vanderbilt is still as dewy-eyed aboutromance as any dreamy adolescent, asserting that there's always a chance of meeting someone who will transform her life and that dreams often do come true. They certainly have for Vanderbilt, more often than not. More surface than substance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439189825
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 11/20/2009
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 135,425
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Romance

In romance what do you seek? Something new and Other, although you don't quite know what it is? For me romance is a yearning not fully conscious, but what I find is always the search for something else, a renewal and a hope for transformation. The creative risk-taking of passionate love not only gives you the chance to change the past, it gives the imagination one more chance at an exciting future.

Copyright © 2004 by Gloria Vanderbilt

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Table of Contents

Contents

Like a pack of tarot cards

haphazardly thrown out on a table —

pick one, turn it over, turn the page...

Preface

Romance

The Scarlet Sting of Scandal

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolves

The Great Thing

Wedded Bliss...

Happy Birthday

My Mummy — Later

Much, Much Later...

Fantasia with Stokowski

Breakfast at Tiffany's with the Tiny Terror

Bill Paley and the Tiny Terror

Dinner Chez Brando

There's That Phone Call...

Miracle and Me

King Arthur and Lady Guinevere

A Red Rose

Of Pink Tongues and How Serious and Sincere It All Was

Fortune Cookies

Over the Rainbow at Ten Gracie Square

Fast Forward...

Le Divorce

Once There Was a Couple...

Rock Bottom

The Fantast

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Another Part of the Forest

Substitutes

Hazel Kelly

Someone Like You

Fun

Quite by Chance

What Are You Going to Wear?

Long Distance

Epilogue

Photography Credits

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    It Seemed Important At The Time To Read It...

    Disjointed and without history. You have to know her background in order to make sense of who she is and why she is. It's not so much a memoir as a piece of abstract literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 20, 2008

    A reviewer

    It's a surprisingly quick read but with very little substance. It also seems a little fantastic at times, a little surreal. She tends to write about her life as a one-dimensional story. It's missing the real complexities of life - which I'm sure are very present in her life. Nothing is thought out in very great detail. But entertaining nonetheless.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Dont bother does not say much of anything. Booring

    Read other books on her life that were far more interesting. Who were her friends what did she do for fun, what places did she go or hang out. Where is the meat to this?

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

    Posted October 19, 2011

    A little bit of a look inside

    This is not an in depth look into Gloria's life. It is more of a general overview.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Easy read

    I like the way this book is written, but I would have loved more scoop!

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

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

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    Posted December 27, 2008

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    Posted July 23, 2009

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    Posted April 10, 2009

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    Posted May 1, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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