Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor

Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor

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by Curtis Roosevelt
     
 

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Curtis Roosevelt was three when he and his sister, Eleanor, arrived at the White House soon after their grandfather’s inauguration. The country’s “First Grandchildren,” a pint-sized double act, they were known to the media as “Sistie and Buzzie.”

In this rich memoir, Roosevelt brings us into “the goldfish bowl,” as

Overview

Curtis Roosevelt was three when he and his sister, Eleanor, arrived at the White House soon after their grandfather’s inauguration. The country’s “First Grandchildren,” a pint-sized double act, they were known to the media as “Sistie and Buzzie.”

In this rich memoir, Roosevelt brings us into “the goldfish bowl,” as his family called it—that glare of public scrutiny to which all presidential households must submit. He recounts his misadventures as a hapless kid in an unforgivably formal setting and describes his role as a tiny planet circling the dual suns of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Blending self-abasement, humor, awe and affection, Too Close to the Sun is an intimate portrait of two of the most influential and inspirational figures in modern American history—and a thoughtful exploration of the emotional impact of growing up in their irresistible aura.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Kirkus, October 1, 2008
“FDR’s eldest grandson nostalgically recounts his childhood growing up in close proximity to his charismatic grandparents…. He captures the delight of living at the White House from the perspective of a child given access to presidential marches, receptions and afternoon teas.”
Publishers Weekly

Curtis Roosevelt was barely three years old when his grandfather FDR became president and he and his older sister, Eleanor, and mother, Anna Roosevelt (recently separated from the children's father), joined Franklin and Eleanor as residents in the White House for much of the next 12 years. Curtis and "Sis" quickly became known through the press as "Sistie and Buzzie," whose slide and monkey bars adorned the White House lawn. Curtis writes affectionately and beautifully about his grandparents, but he also describes their large, sheltering presence as a double-edged sword. "Life outside the protective-and isolated-White House cocoon," he writes, "became hugely distorted, especially for an impressionable youngster like me." Along with relaying a rich and fascinating cornucopia of anecdotes involving family life, Curtis devotes thoughtful discussion to the complex subject of reflected fame and its impact on young people growing up as the scions of celebrity. No one alive today knew Franklin and Eleanor quite as well as Curtis, their eldest grandson, and his sister. Thus this splendid, intimate memoir represents an invaluable addition to the literature of the Roosevelt era. Illus. (Nov.)

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Library Journal

Without a monarchy, Americans rely on presidents to serve as surrogate media fodder. An entire generation grew up watching Franklin D. Roosevelt through the Great Depression and World War II. FDR's oldest grandson, Curtis Roosevelt, and Curtis's sister became the nation's First Grandchildren-and objects of media attention. He spent many of his years from age three to 15 with his grandparents at the White House and Hyde Park. His mother, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, married three times, a characteristic of the photogenic Hyde Park brood, and he lived up to that tradition by marrying four times himself. The product of his mother's first marriage, Roosevelt writes of being torn between his natural father and his stepfathers while internalizing the conflict by becoming an obedient child with a fantasy life. He clearly saw his grandfather as the primary paternal image in his life. The photos he includes are a valuable addition to the book-one shows the First Lady posing as Whistler's Mother. This readable memoir by someone who has spent a lifetime coming to grips with an unusual background belongs in every FDR collection.
—William D. Pederson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586487829
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Kirkus, October 1, 2008
“FDR’s eldest grandson nostalgically recounts his childhood growing up in close proximity to his charismatic grandparents…. He captures the delight of living at the White House from the perspective of a child given access to presidential marches, receptions and afternoon teas.”

Meet the Author

Curtis Roosevelt is the second eldest child of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and the oldest grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1964, he joined the Secretariat of the United Nations, where for eighteen years he held various positions in the international civil service sector. He lives in France with his wife.

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Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MerlinDB More than 1 year ago
The point of view is almost childish. Curtis lacks the wit and insight of other members of the Roosevelt family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom is 69 years old and is enjoying the book thoroughly. Whenever I talk to my mom she is always commenting on the book contents, her memories, what she is learning and how much is she enjoying the book.
Ann89 More than 1 year ago
What snobs the Roosevelts were. I can't believe they behave the same way the democrats do now! Heaven forbid some of their children went to "public schools", gasp! Does that ring a bell, Chelsea, Obama's daughters.....