The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait

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The Blake Bailey of today has written a number of well-received biographies, garnering awards and recognition. But once upon a time, he was the alcoholic, smart-but-unfocused younger brother of a completely screwed-up serious alcoholic. His new memoir turns his fine writing skills and keen eye of observation onto his own family life, and it is harrowing. One always hopes redemption is possible for anyone, regardless of how far they’ve fallen, and the Bailey family — respected attorney Burck, German-born mother Marlies, and younger son Blake — went through endless cycles of hope and despair over the self-destructive antics of older son Scott, who drank constantly, took drugs, regularly crashed cars, and was mostly cruel to those he cared about.

Scott was, as is often the case with stories like his, perfectly capable of succeeding in some chosen field and making a life for himself. But some flaw in his DNA, some lack of belief in himself, something — and that’s the big question: what went so wrong for him? — left him angry at the world, blaming everyone but himself for his problems, for his weaknesses. And those were legion.

The book is raw and honest, exposing the old wounds of a family’s failed hopes. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is not to be forgotten.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher W.W. Norton
Publish Date 2014-Mar-03
ISBN 9780393239577 Buy this Book
Issue May 2014
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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