In 1927, at the age of twenty-three, Rosamond Pinchot was hailed as "The Loveliest Woman in America." At thirty-three, in a sudden, shocking, and highly public act, Rosamond took her own life, setting in motion generations of confusion in the family she left behind.
Nearly seventy years after her demise, her granddaughter Bibi received a box of more than 1,500 pages of Rosamond's diaries and embarked on a seven-year journey to make sense of the silence that surrounded Rosamond's death and to discover the grandmother she never knew. An acclaimed beauty, actress, socialite, and outdoorswoman, Rosamond became the key to Bibi's understanding of her enigmatic and adventurous father, her glamorous but painfully divided family, and herself.
Through the silent labyrinth of a brilliant but troubled family, Bibi pieced together Rosamond's life storyher magical embrace of nature, her love for two compelling but difficult men, and her circle of "on tops," intimates, and mentors, including Elizabeth Arden, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Cukor, and David O. Selznick. Bibi also discovered the tragic legacy of the women in her family, including Rosamond's cousin Edie Sedgwick and her half sister, Mary Pinchot Meyer, whose murder in 1964 has never been solved.
As if looking in a mirror, Bibi found parts of herself in the complex, tragic, yet beautiful story of the high-spirited Rosamond Pinchot and designed a mission at midlife: to outlive the often difficult, but exuberant and passionate, lives of her ancestors.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Bibi Gaston, a practicing landscape architect, has kept a diary since the age of eight.
What People are Saying About This
Bibi Gaston’s hard-to-put down narrative mixes a Harvard Business School Case Study of American upper-class family dysfunction and tragedy, with entertainment history, with the most significant ingredient of all the healing of the scars on her own heart. The whole business is a miracle.
A story for all women who strive and struggle to lead meaningful and purposeful lives.... the author weaves her grandmother Rosamond Pinchot’s connection to nature... through the generations of a family whose legacy of service to the environment are the DNA of today’s conservation efforts.”
...a fascinating memoir of an American family from a famous actress and beauty in the early 20th century to her granddaughter....a captivating story of 2 women and the man they share-son to one and father to the other. Bibi’s voyage of discovery will enlighten and uplift you
...a granddaughter’s search through familial silence for the grandmother, a beautiful and troubled actress, who committed suicide... leaving two young sons and a powerful mystery....wonderfully structured... a compelling story with characters of such life and particularity, they jump off the page. . . .A real page turner
One of the more intriguing footnotes in American theatrical lore has always been the mysterious suicide ... of Rosamond Pinchot during the tryout of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town’....Who was she? What were the circumstances of her death? ....A beautifully written saga worthy of Edith Wharton’s ‘House of Mirth.’
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first page is a real grabber and then...down hill from there. If I had found my grandmother's "lost diaries" I too would think it a real treasure. However, taking something that was interesting to me and thinking it would be even mildly interesting to someone else is the mark of a true narcissist.
A sad story for all the participants in her life, but is it biography fodder? I don't think so.
This is the story of Rosamond Pinchot told through the eyes of her granddaughter and Rosamond's own diaries which she kept for many years. Rosamond was a stage actress in the 1920's who garnered great fame and later tried to get into film, and while she did appear in a few movies, she never reached any fame or satisfaction through that venue. She killed herself at age 33 leaving behind two sons from a very rocky marriage to Big Bill Gaston. Not only is this the story of Rosamond, it is also the story of the two Manhattan society families the Pinchots and the Gastons. It also is the story of Rosamond's descendants, her first born son William (Billy) and his youngest daughter Bibi (the author). Part memoir and part biography the book presents how suicide affects future generations and how feuding within a family creates a rift in one generation that continues on through the ages. I enjoyed this book on some levels but not very much on others. I loved the story of the 20's and 30's. The tale of Manhattan, the theatre and Hollywood in this era was enjoyable as was the tale of Rosamond's sad life. The personal diary entries brought this all to life and the woman led both a fairy tale and traumatic life. The story of her son, William, held no interest for me. He was a man who felt he was cheated by his brother and devoted his life to legal endeavours against both his ex-wife and brother. As well, the author's own story is implanted into the biographies and the biography within a memoir doesn't do the trick for me personally. The author tries to relate how her life was affected by Rosamond's suicide and how family patterns continue through the generations. She succeeds on this point but I, personally, am not interested in that type of memoir. A non-biased portrait of Rosamond's life or the publication of her diaries themselves would have made a more interesting and enjoyable read for me.