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The Resource Perfectly miserable : guilt, God and real estate in a small town, Sarah Payne Stuart

Perfectly miserable : guilt, God and real estate in a small town, Sarah Payne Stuart

Label
Perfectly miserable : guilt, God and real estate in a small town
Title
Perfectly miserable
Title remainder
guilt, God and real estate in a small town
Statement of responsibility
Sarah Payne Stuart
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"A ... comic memoir that examines the pillars of New England WASP culture--class, history, family, money, envy, perfection, and, of course, real estate--through the lens of mothers and daughters"--
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • A follow-up to Stuart's previous family memoir, My First Cousin Once Removed, this evenhanded work takes aim at her double-edged WASP childhood in Concord, Mass.—where she and her documentary-producer husband moved back to raise their three young children. Living again among the God-fearing, hard-working, parsimonious descendants of the early Puritan settlers—her mother's old money clan— Stuart felt comfortingly part of the Elect, yet also deeply conflicted. Concord was the storied seat of the Transcendentalists, artists and deep thinkers like Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and the Bronson Alcott family, especially daughter Louisa May Alcott whose novel Little Women deeply informed Stuart's childhood. Guilt hovers over much of Stuart's sense of her childhood, involving her mother's depressive episodes and early breakdown, and her own desire to win her mother's approval, which she finally did by buying a house (well beyond their means) on Nashawtuc Hill—"I had known that I was too weak to resist the cozy beauty of the hill," she admits, "and the terrible lure of its desirability." Skillfully, Stuart buttresses her own family's neuroses with those of Thoreau or the Alcotts for a hilariously bracing and honest look at generational mayhem and triumph. (June) --Staff (Reviewed December 1, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 50, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ A writer's wickedly droll account of how she came to terms with her WASP heritage and the impossible expectations of "mother" New England.With its "pristine town center, gleaming with historically correct colors," Stuart's (My First Cousin Once Removed: Money, Madness, and the Family of Robert Lowell, 1998, etc.) hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, seemed the embodiment of perfection. But as Stuart well knew, high-flying moral pretensions, hypocrisy, and an insatiable hunger for social prestige and high-priced real estate bubbled just beneath the deceptively charming surface. In this wry memoir, the author explores her relationship with her hometown and with a whole host of Concord notables, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathanial Hawthorne to Louisa May Alcott, whose fictional mother Marmee—and the perpetually miserable Alcott matriarch on whom she was based—represents everything good and bad about New England culture. A rebel who defied the WASP values of thrift, practicality and quiet snobbery, Payne fled Concord for New York after an early marriage. Yet within 10 years of leaving, her longing to return home became "obsessive." Concord had "become a kind of utopia, where [she] would give her children the perfect childhood." It also became a personal testing ground where she fantasized she could engage in error-free parenting while earning the approval of her own mother and father. Instead, Stuart found herself moving into larger and larger homes she and her husband could not afford and joining exclusive social clubs, all in the name of maintaining the facade of WASP success. Seeking enlightenment about her dilemmas and compulsions, the author examines her family's personal history as well as Concord literary history. She learned that her pattern of feeling guilt and smugness on the one hand and seeing nonexistent coziness on the other were part of a heritage best survived through self-deprecating humor.Satire at its finest.(Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2014)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10318442
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Stuart, Sarah Payne
Dewey number
  • 818/.5403
  • B
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3569.T826
LC item number
Z46 2014
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Stuart, Sarah Payne
  • Authors, American
  • Authors, American
  • Rich people
  • Upper class
  • Mothers and daughters
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women
  • Concord (Mass.)
  • Concord (Mass.)
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
guilt, God and real estate in a small town
Label
Perfectly miserable : guilt, God and real estate in a small town, Sarah Payne Stuart
Link
ftp://ppftpuser:welcome@ftp01.penguingroup.com/BooksellersandMedia/Covers/2008_2009_New_Covers/9781594631818.jpg
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 303-307)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1027242
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
307 pages
Isbn
9781594631818
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2013048095
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(Sirsi) i9781594631818
Label
Perfectly miserable : guilt, God and real estate in a small town, Sarah Payne Stuart
Link
ftp://ppftpuser:welcome@ftp01.penguingroup.com/BooksellersandMedia/Covers/2008_2009_New_Covers/9781594631818.jpg
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 303-307)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1027242
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
307 pages
Isbn
9781594631818
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2013048095
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(Sirsi) i9781594631818

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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