You, You, You, You, You, You, and Mom

Curtis Sittenfeld

  • Oh the Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey
    Viking, 482 pp, £14.99, September 2005, ISBN 0 670 91601 3

Sean Wilsey’s father, Al, was orphaned as a teenager, dropped out of college, and made a fortune in dairy, real estate and other business ventures. Over fifty when Sean was born, Al flew a helicopter, charmed women and inspired in his son an apparently unquenchable desire for approval. Sean’s mother, Pat, the daughter of poor Texan evangelical ministers, was a beautiful, captivating, flaky quasi-journalist. Both had been previously married multiple times, and Al had several children; Sean was the couple’s only child together. In 1979, when Sean was nine, his father filed for divorce in order to marry Pat’s former best friend Dede. The divorce proceedings were a pageant of ugliness, exacerbated both by the personalities of those involved and by the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

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