For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius “The Commodore” Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy’s birth, the Burden’s had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline-and were rarely seen not holding a drink. In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites readers to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother. — goodreads
Ok, now here’s a book that is hard to believe is not fiction. Anyone who has ever had weird, alcoholic, self-absorbed parents may feel like they are reading their own diary. If, that is, they were brave enough to keep one. Wendy Burden gets braver still by letting the world see what is essentially her family diary. She is a master of conjuring up the deepest of emotion with the driest of humor. Exactly like her parents.
All the while, the great great (ect.) granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the great great (ect.) writer of this book, manages to keep the reader in a constant state of, um, confused envy. One the one had, look what she has! But on the other hand, look what she has. Psychotic parents, creepy adults and zero work ethic abound in this memoir. And it’s all deliciously intoxicating to read.