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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In this memoir, the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction is borne out, and readers are taken for a joyride through the elite social whorl of San Francisco's elite. "It was 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' and Danielle Steel come to life." So writes Sean Wilsey, who spent his childhood as the neglected son of what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the "careless people," adults distilled to a state of complete self-absorption. Wilsey's sporadically unhinged mother tries to convince Sean to join her in a suicide pact -- in retaliation for his father's abandonment of the two in favor of her former best friend, Dede. For her part, Dede takes on the task of eliminating Sean from his father's life, convincing the child that he was unwanted, unloved, and a perpetual embarrassment to his successful dad. The man at the center of all this high-maintenance female attention is Al Wilsey, a butter magnate and no model of maturity and solid values. He regularly escapes to the skies in his private helicopter and sends his troubled son off to a series of boarding schools rather than allow him to annoy his malevolent and manipulative new wife.
Wilsey's is a mesmerizing coming-of-age story, a tale of triumph over a loveless and isolated upbringing. It peels back the glittering trappings of the wealthy and lays bare those places where greed and power have usurped the morality, ethics, and instinctive decency that together comprise the best of humanity. Deeply troubling but ultimately hopeful, Wilsey's tale is a cautionary one -- for parents and parents-to-be. (Fall 2005 Selection)