Dumbfounded: Big Money. Big Hair. Big Problems. Or Why Having It All Isn't for Sissies. by Matt Rothschild
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A few other reviewers have called Rothschild a "spoiled, rich kid." In reality, he was starved for unconditional love as a child (his mom dumped him with his grandparents when he was a baby), and any child starved of parental love is not rich or spoiled.
He grew up on the upper east side, raised by eccentric grandparents who did love him but didn't quite know how to show it all the time. For example, his feisty grandmother would ask him: "What have you done to deserve a hug?" and Rothschild would have to convince her to give him a hug. As a mom myself, this makes me so sad!
The first time Rothschild encountered his real mother, he overheard her telling a friend of hers that she was going to abort him but had been persuaded not to by her father (who threatened to disown her if she did). Later on, when his beloved grandmother dies, his mom didn't even let him know (he was away at college).
Through childhood he desperately craved attention and ended up rapidly cycling through New York's finest schools. He also strongly suspects that he is gay, but doesn't know how to deal with this...and is not able to talk openly to any of his family members about his suspicions.
Rothschild did grow up in a moneyed family, but in the end of the memoir he reaches a level of independence as he develops his own life.
So no, it's not The Glass Castle or Angela's Ashes, but a down-to-earth, honest memoir about what it's like to grow up in a pampered way of life, yet lacking the feeling of being truly wanted or loved.
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