It's one of the coolest books that I've read in a long time. I had a chance to travel over the weekend & enough time on planes & in airports to read Alexandra Aldrich's "The Astor Orphan" cover to cover & my only regret is that her book ends way too soon! What a story. Alexandra Aldrich, heir to the Astor legacy, tells the story-behind-the-story of her eccentric, fractured family; her childhood, overshadowed by the family's glorious past, spent in the squalid attic of the family's Hudson Valley Mansion; & her escape from the clan. Publishers Weekly in a starred review says it far better than I can..."A sparklingly mischievous debut...Aldrich's narrative tidily & fondly bears witness to the inexorable unraveling of a storied genealogy." Alexandra, direct descendant of Old New York aristocracies the Astors & the Livingstons, grew up in the ancestral mansion in the Hudson River Valley. But any notions of Gilded Age wealth & splendor are quickly dispelled in her candid memoir. Alexandra's Grey Gardens-esque childhood was marked by a life of genteel poverty at Robeby, the crumbling 43 room edifice she & the eccentric family called home. Bohemian pursuits & what she calls the "undisciplined, orphaned spirit" which governed the house took precedence over gainful employment, even as the ancestral property deteriorated around them. The book is a romp & her pop is straight out of Woodstock if you ask me. Actually there's a little bit of Woodstock AND Green Acres mixed in here. & you thought Oliver Douglas had old broken down farm machinery! "The Astor Orphan" is now available in paperback. Check it out from harpercollins.com. I should become like Oper Winfur & start a "Puffman Book Club", although I've always had the impression that the rotund media diva figures most of us are too stupid to figure out what to read for ourselves & that it is HER job to enlighten us. That's a subject for another Puffman Blog...don't get me started on Open Winfur. In the meantime, you really should check out "The Astor Orphan." I thoroughly enjoyed it & I'll probably read it AGAIN...it was THAT good!!