JCC Library of Greater New Haven

Center for Jewish Life and Learning

Dumbfounded : Big Money, Big Hair, Big Problems. Or Why Having It All Isn't for Sissies

Rothchild, Matt.

New York : Crown Publishers, 2008.

301 p.

Login to rate this title or write a review

What fresh hell is this?

I stopped, dumbfounded. My grandmother was at my bedroom door. "What the hell are you doing?" she asked, surprised but not angry. I looked down at my dress. "Playing school." My grandmother began stroking her chin. Clearly, there were several ways she could take this conversation. "Matthew, what are you wearing?" I could see that she didn't really want to ask this question but felt she had to. "A dress," I said. . . . "And where did you get this dress?" she asked. . . . "I found it?" My grandmother sighed. "So you've been wandering around the women's department at JC Penney? Do you expect me to believe you couldn't find a better dress than that?"

The only Jewish family in a luxury Fifth Avenue building of WASPs, the senior Rothschilds took over the responsibility of raising their grandson, Matt, after his mother left him for Italy and a fourth husband. But rearing Matt was no small task--even for his sharp-tongued grandmother, a cross between Lauren Bacall and Bea Arthur, and a lady who Matt grew to love deeply.

Matt secretly wore his grandmother's dresses, shoplifted Barbies from FAO Schwarz, invented an imaginary midget butler who he addressed at dinner parties, and got kicked out of nearly every elite school in Manhattan--once for his impersonation of Judy Garland at a recital. He was eventually sent to a boarding school (his grandmother had to ransom off a van Gogh to get him in). But as funny as his hijinks are now, at the time they masked a Jewfroed, chubby, lovable kid, sexually confused and abandoned by his mother, trying to fit in among the precious genteel world he was forced to live in.

Matt Rothschild--the man David Sedaris could have been if he'd grown up in an esteemed family on Manhattan's Upper East Side--tells the story of his childhood with humor, honesty, and unlikely compassion for his eccentric relatives, including his mother, in this bitingly entertaining and unexpectedly tender memoir of family dysfunction.



1 copy available at Center for Jewish Life and Learning

Field Ind Subfield Data
001 Control No     5558
005 LastTransaction     20181030125358.0
020 ISBN   $a ISBN  978-0-307-40542-5
100 ME:PersonalName   $a Personal name  Rothchild, Matt.
245 Title $a Title  Dumbfounded :
    $b Remainder of title  Big Money, Big Hair, Big Problems. Or Why Having It All Isn't for Sissies.
260 PublicationInfo   $a Place of publication, dist.  New York :
    $b Name of publisher, dist, etc  Crown Publishers,
    $c Date of publication, dist, etc  2008.
300 Physical Desc   $a Extent  301 p.
650 Subj:Topic   $a Topical term  Rothchild, Matt
650 Subj:Topic   $a Topical term  Rothchild, Matt
    $x General subdivision  Family
650 Subj:Topic   $a Topical term  Rothchild, Matt
    $x General subdivision  Childhood and Youth
650 Subj:Topic   $a Topical term  Jews
    $x General subdivision  NY State
    $x General subdivision  Biography
650 Subj:Topic   $a Topical term  Grandmother and child.
852 Holdings   $a Location  DOJE
    $h Classification part  B Rot
    $p Barcode  32424000013450
    $9 Cost  $0.00

Editorial Reviews

Google Books Preview