Please Excuse My Daughter

Please Excuse My Daughter

4.7 4
by Julie Klam
     
 

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A woman's hilarious, bittersweet account of growing up in a family of career-shunning, dependence-seeking women and her journey to a state of twenty-first-century self-reliance.

Julie Klam was raised as the only daughter of a Jewish family in the exclusive WASP stronghold of Bedford, New York. Her mother was sharp, glamorous, and funny, but did not think

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Overview

A woman's hilarious, bittersweet account of growing up in a family of career-shunning, dependence-seeking women and her journey to a state of twenty-first-century self-reliance.

Julie Klam was raised as the only daughter of a Jewish family in the exclusive WASP stronghold of Bedford, New York. Her mother was sharp, glamorous, and funny, but did not think that work was a woman's responsibility. Her father was fully supportive, not just of his wife's staying at home, but also of her extravagant lifestyle. Her mother's offbeat parenting style-taking Julie out of school to go to lunch at Bloomingdale's, for example-made her feel well-cared-for (and well-dressed) but left her unprepared for graduating and entering the real world. She had been brought up to look pretty and wait for a rich man to sweep her off her feet. But what happened if he never showed up?

When Julie gets married to a hardworking but not wealthy man-one who expects her to be part of a modern couple and contribute financially to the marriage-she realizes how ambivalent and ill-equipped she is for life. Once she gives birth to a daughter, she knows she must grow up, get to work, and teach her child the self-reliance that she never learned.

Delivered in an uproariously funny, sweet, self-effacing, and utterly memorable voice, Please Excuse My Daughter is a bighearted memoir from an irresistible new writer.

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Editorial Reviews

Ginia Bellafante
As a culture, we flagellate ourselves for the performative demands we make of our children, and the poignancy of Klam's book—what elevates it from seeming too slight or just plain unnecessary—is its depiction of a parenting style that is radically opposite and just as perilous. There is a danger to abiding maternal devotion when it demands nothing but companionship in return. Klam graduated in the bottom 10 percent of her high school class, thanks in large part to a mother who above all sought a best friend, a woman who wore the costumes of women's liberation without ever slipping into any of its grounding ideologies…Though Klam has set out to do little more than tell the story of her journey toward responsibility—fiscal, marital, professional—she has written as effective a testament to the value of a working mother as any intended polemic.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In her debut memoir, Klam chronicles the clash between her privileged upbringing and the real-world problems she faced as an adult. Growing up as the "princess" in a 1970s Bedford, N.Y., house with two brothers, Klam recounts her childhood as a series of shopping trips with her extravagant mother, often at the expense of her education. With her parents as an emotional and financial safety net, Klam's transition from coddled child to independent woman is anything but smooth. She falls in love with film at New York University, but spends several aimless years trying halfheartedly to find a job in her field. Her life takes a turn for the better when she lands a job writing pop-up videos for VH1 and eventually marries the show's producer, Paul Leo. When a series of health and financial problems rock the couple's relationship, Klam struggles to find her footing in a world where her actions have real consequences. The reader desperately wants to identify with Klam, but while her hardships are real and often heartbreaking (with flashes of sardonic wit), the voice is too infused with self-pity to earn empathy. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594489808
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.34(h) x 1.03(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Julie Klam grew up in Bedford, New York. After attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and interning at Late Night with David Letterman, she went on to write for such publications as O, The Oprah Magazine, Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, and The New York Times Magazine and for the VH1 television show Pop-Up Video, where she earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Class Writing. She married the show's producer, Paul Leo. They live with their daughter and three dogs in Manhattan.

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