The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right

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Overview

The Kids Are All Right by Liz Welch, Amanda Welch, Diana Welch, Dan Welch

A blisteringly funny, heart-scorching tale of remarkable kids shattered by tragedy and finally brought back together by love."—People

Somehow, between their father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her—or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of un­breakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with—growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307396051
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 09/14/2010
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 299,786
Product dimensions: 8.28(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

LIZ WELCH is an award-winning journalist and con­tributing writer at Inc. magazine. Her work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Marie Claire, Real Simple, Glamour, and Redbook. She lives in New York City. DIANA WELCH is a writer and musician living in Austin, Texas. AMANDA WELCH makes a living gardening and making soaps and bath products marketed as Grubby Girl. She lives in central Virginia with her husband. DAN WELCH works as a location manager and scout for film and television. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reading Group Guide

1. Memory plays a big role in all memoirs, but most are based on just one person’s account of past events.   In The Kids Are All Right, the Welches rely on not just one but four accounts of the past — and in some cases they disagree about what happened. What does this tell you about memory as a reliable narrator? Does this challenge the way you perceive other memoirs?

2. “I wanted to be an actress just like Mom.” Throughout the book, Liz struggled between the successful facade she has created and her actual experience. What do you feel was the difference between the two?

3. The Welches never learned the truth of their father’s death. What do you think happened that night? Was his death an accident?

4. Liz, Dan and Amanda all believed that Diana was living a happy life at the Chamberlains, and that her being a part of a “normal” family was the best situation for her at the time. What was it that made them feel this way? Do you think they were right?

5. When the book begins, Amanda doesn’t want to be a part of “any of that family bulls**t” like going on a beach vacation. And yet, by the end of the book, she fills her farmhouse in Virginia with heirlooms from her parents’ home so that all her siblings would have a place to come for holidays. How did Amanda shift from rebellious daughter to the siblings’ de-facto matriarch?

6. “That was the biggest thing for me, being the only boy.” Throughout the book, Dan struggles with what it means to be a man. How did this affect his relationship with his sisters?  And how did it affect the way he perceived himself within the family?

7. Diana got in trouble for lying while she lived with the Chamberlains. Why do you think she felt compelled to do so?

8. There is a supernatural thread that runs throughout the book, from ghosts to past life regression, to religious healers and tent revivals. What was the role of the supernatural in the Welch family home? Who believed, and who didn’t? Were there stronger bonds because of it?

9. Animals and pets played a large part in the book – from Bentley, the misbehaved dog that Liz bought for her mother to the “demon bunny” Liz’s friends surprised her with in college. What are the parallels between these two scenes? What were the intentions of these gifts, and what were the reactions to receiving them?

10. Ann Williams was a soap opera actress but her life story was in many ways more unbelievable than any of her character’s roles.  How so?

11. The Christmas after their mother died, Liz writes, “Nancy Chamerberlain offered us bagels, cream cheese and lox and my heart sank further.  Mom made homemade pumpkin bread dense with molasses, raisins and walnuts… That to me was Christmas.”  How does food and holiday cooking play a role in this family’s identity?

12. How did music play a role in re-connecting the Welch children?  How would you describe the soundtrack to “The Kids Are All Right”?

13. Liz and Dan had some success in doing commercials.  How would you describe the irony between the personaes they projected and what was going on in their lives at the time?

14. Amanda calls Karen, the woman who took Dan in, a “bitch” more than once in the book.   Dan says he did not like her, but at least he knew her.  What are your thoughts about Karen?

15. This book is told from the perspective of the four Welch children. If Nancy Chamberlain wrote this story from her point of view, how would she explain her decision to cut Diana off from her siblings? And why do you think she sent Diana to live with Amanda in the end?

Customer Reviews

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The Kids Are All Right 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
skfnygirl More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It had me laughing, then crying and then laughing and crying again. I could not put the book down. I am not an avid reader, but when I started this book, I knew I would read it from cover to cover. Definitely worth the price. Don't hesitate, buy it today.
MBastien More than 1 year ago
This was a story that grabbed you, held on to you, dragged you through the depths of the Welch's sorrow, and left you thinking "Man, and I thought I had it tough." I read it cover to cover on a rainy Friday. The pace was good and story engaging. I wanted to keep reading, but didn't feel compelled to. Some parts of the story are a bit scattered and disjointed but well done for four people who are not writers by trade.
chicajones More than 1 year ago
Powerful story with every emotion that can only be endured by strong hearts and love for family. Endearing, unforgettable, well written, engaging. I can't say enough! You will want to hug all four of these kids. Each told in their own individual way. You feel like you know them and grew up with them. Another surprising thing I found amazing is how much of cult history I had forgotten. You will want to tell your own story, regardless of what that may be. Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome story about the adversity this family endured. The family tragedies, could not kill the bond of these siblings. Wonderful read!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Beautifully written.
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Recommend this book. The "Kids" have a very sad and amazing story to tell and they have done an excellent job of writing a group memoir using alternating chapters. Each grown "kid" tell the story from their point of view as a child at the time. This works very well.
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HeatherlyO More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! What a fascinating and touching story the Welches have to tell and the way it's told is just fantastic. I love love loved the four strong and very separate voices and will most likely re-read this in the future. I will recommend this to everyone I know!
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