Oh the Glory of it All
Sean's blond-bombshell mother (one of the thinly veiled characters in Armistead Maupin's bestselling Tales of the City) is a 19...more
I bought this book at the Hong Kong airport last August and it has been my favorite flight companion since then. I was able to put the book down between flights, but the detail and depth of this long-winded memoir are so rich that the author has built a San Francisco high rise in my head.
The intimacy of Sean's tween/teenage confession brought me into the world of my new, wealthy, bad boy, wanna-be cool kid friend, suffering from his own entrapment in desire and frustrat...more
Happily, I only paid $4 for this b...more
For his first book, Wilsey, 34, an editor at McSweeney's, seems committed to rise above the kind of chatter that Oh, The Glory of It All has prompted in his native San Francisco. Critics praise the author's talent, particularly his ability to merge his childhood and adult emotions into a coherent, fluid voice. (Not surprisingly, they compared the memoir to McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, 2000) The sharpest criticism comes for his portrayal of his step...more
His parents are outsized figures and bestride mid-century San Francisco: Father Al Wilsey was the Bay Area's butter baron, a big game hunter, and helicopter pilot; his mother Pat, the beautiful daughter of an itinerant Evangelical preacher, who becomes a model, then writer, columnist, an...more
I loved a line within the first few pages, about his childhood: "Little did I - who had only known happiness or loneliness - know the variety emotion could provide. That pai...more
Rich people are interesting. Crazy people are interes...more
This book is a childhood memoir, and recovery confessional. What makes it interesting is all the history of people like the Traina family, Danielle Steele, and a host of other minor players. There is almost no information on San Francisco society types from the modern era other than this bo...more
I stumbled upon a $4 copy in a used bookstore in San Francisco while looking for a book set in San Francisco. Reviews were glowing and saturated with Dave Eggers comparisons and, like I said, it was $4. Clever and unconventionally written, it kept me riveted throughout my 24-hour Amtrak ride. For that I am grateful.
Be forewarned that it’s definitely not for everyone: masturbation, pubic lice, at...more
A long-time admirer of the memoir, that is, the well-done memoir (which has to be EXTREMELY difficult considering the subject matter is all about YOU and who could possibly care more?) “Oh the Glory of it All” exceeded even my wildest expectations (I found it amid a stack of “to reads” on Moses’ side of the bed, so I suppose I had utterly no expectations, but even so). On my way out the door to the airport I realized I need a new book. Skimming only two sentences I knew it...more
But his overindulgence in this skill wore me out at times. Especially in the second third of the book, when he went away to school after school. I admit my repulsion has mu...more
The middle sections, focused on the schools is ironically my least favorite and I set the book down for a week. (Wilsey mentions at the end, his original inten...more
My only criticism is that it seems that Al Wilsey was never really confronted about his 1) adultery 2) abandonment of his child 3) psychological abuse of his child 4) choice to marry a truly evil person who wreaked unbelievable havoc 5) choice to abandon philanthropic efforts that, if in the hands of Sean Wilsey, could have made a genuine difference in the world. Instead, he is only loved and forgiven,...more