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The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch - Excerpt

The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch - Excerpt

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3.85

(53)
|Views: 31,709|Likes:
“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of un­breakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with–growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.

To read more about The Kids Are All Right or the authors please visit Crown Publishing Group at wwww.crownpublishing.com
“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of un­breakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with–growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.

To read more about The Kids Are All Right or the authors please visit Crown Publishing Group at wwww.crownpublishing.com

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Publish date: Sep 14, 2010
Added to Scribd: Aug 23, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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Winner of the 2010 Alex Award
“In indelible voices, each Welch contradicts, embellishes,or supports theothers’ memories, creating a blisteringly funny, heart-scorching tale of re-markable kids shattered by tragedy and finally brought back together by love.” — 
People 
(3.5/4 stars)“After the suspicious demise of Dad and loss of Mom to cancer, the or-phaned Welch children were split up; now grown, and in rocking chorus,Diana, Liz, Amanda, and Dan Welch explain how in the world
The Kids Are  All Right.
 — 
Vanity Fair 
“Flat-out harrowing.” — 
The Daily News
“Hooks readers’attention from the first jarring sentence and doesn’t let gountil the very last poignant moment. This memoir reads like a fictionalnarrative, and readers may find themselves unable to put it down, en-thralled as if it were a page-turning murder mystery.” — 
The Daily Texan
“This book carried me along with such speed and emotion and intimacythat I felt cast in the role as their imaginary friend. This book is their song,and it will rock you.” — 
Parker Posey
 praise for 
the kids are all right
 
“The Welch family’s multi-vocal story is impossible to put down. I read
The Kids Are All Right 
with awe at the resilience and hope a family can managein the aftermath of unthinkable loss. The intelligence and strength of theWelch kids confirmed my belief that anything is possible when brothers andsisters come out of tragedy together.” —Danielle Trussoni, author of 
Falling Through the Earth
and
  Angelology
“This is a tragic and heroic story that precisely maps a decade and reads likea spy thriller. The Welch kids are legendary!” —Sean Wilsey, author of 
Oh the Glory of It All 
“Told with humor, compassion,and humility, and teeming with priceless’80s references, this story of parentless children learning to parent eachother grabbed hold of my heart (and attention) and refused to let go.Don’t start reading
The Kids Are All Right,
as I did, at 10p.m., or you’ll losea night of sleep.” —Heidi Julavits, author of 
The Uses of Enchantment 
The Kids Are All Right 
 —ingenious, heartfelt, prismatic—is funny andpainful in its chronicling of how the chaos of ‘normal’childhood cantransform into something frighteningly free form. . . . Theirs is the fierceand complex love of siblings, and their clear-eyed choral storytelling is arevelation.” —Daphne Beal, author of 
In the Land of No Right Angles
“This unusual account will leave readers musing over memory’s slippery nature; the imperfect, enduring bonds of family; and the human heart’s re-markable resilience.” — 
Booklist 
“. . . A love-filled but often fraught dialogue, and the reader is a privilegedsilent witness to their testimony. A brutally honest book that captures the journey of four people too young to face the challenges they neverthelesshad to face. — 
Kirkus Reviews

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jennifyr reviewed this
Rated 2/5
I actually picked this up thinking that this was a book that the movie of the same title was based on, and found out soon after that it wasn't. Still, it wasn't a horrible read. It started off well, but I felt that it fell apart at the end, and I remember getting a trifle bit irritated with some of the characters. All in all, nothing too memorable, but I'm all for supporting the book industry, so I'm glad I picked this book up at least for that. With that exception, I really could take it or leave it. Probably would not re-read or recommend to anyone. I do give them some points for having the whole family chip in, and did think it was an interesting way to give the reader multiple views of the same events. I also recommend, if you read the book, to check out the website they give you so you can get feedback from some of the characters that are mentioned in the book, but didn't get to relate their point of view. I feel that some of the characters are bad mouthed a bit on the cruel side, and it's nice that they get their chance to have a say.
ptnguyen_1 reviewed this
Target audience: Young adultIt is a a memoir of four Wrench children who are orphaned in their youths in the mid 1980s; each youth recounts their memories and impressions of their painful past. Amanda (born in 1965), Liz (1969), Dan (1971), and Diana (1977) grew up in an affluent community of Bedford, New York; their father was the head of an oil company. Their lives are changed forever in 1983 when their father died in a car accident followed by their mother's death three and a half years later from uterine cancer. Amanada, Liz, Dan, and Diana were dispatched to a diverse set of family friends. Amanda, quick-witted and sharp-tongued, headed to college in New York City and immerse herself in a world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, who lived with the couple whom she babysat, followed in Amanda's footsteps until high school graduation; she took a job as a nanny in Norway. Meanwhile, Dan, mischievous and rebellious, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again; he, too, became involved with drugs. Finally, Dan, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past.The memoir is told in the alternating voices of the four siblings. Their stories of unbreakable bonds and extreme resiliences are poignant and harrowing. The memoir is well-crafted and beautifully written, not to mention mesmerizing and moving. I couldn't put it down--I connected to these unforturnate children who had suffered immensely. It is a must read, not only for young adults, but for individuals of al ages.
mochap_1 reviewed this
heartbreaking memoir told my all 4 kids whose parents died and they were left to struggle along essentially alone...
ratqueen03 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I really enjoyed the 4 parallel memoirs. They gave a broader view of what happened and it was amusing when they commented on the others.
bremmd_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
There are a few books that really get under your skin and this was one of them for me. I don’t know what I was expecting when I first started to read “The Kids are All Right” but it certainly wasn’t a sad walk down memory lane. That’s not to say I didn’t like this book because really I did. It just touched on some of the unhappy times in my own life.There are a lot of similarities I share with the Welch kids. I lost both my parents in a short span when I was very young. I came to depend on my siblings in way other families didn’t seem too. I think when families lose their parents young they can go one of two ways they either drift apart and become familiar acquaintances or they cling to each other like a life preserver. I think that was the greatest similarity between the Welch family and mine. They really did come to depend on each other to get through.This is a touching, heart wrenching, sometimes shocking, ultimately heartwarming story of how resilient we humans are. Told from all four kids points of view we see how each felt and dealt with the circumstances they were forced into. The thing that struck me the hardest were the number of adults that let these kids down. The assortment of uncaring, unkind, and unwilling adults who failed the children was just stunning to me. As they try to struggle to find their way there is quiet a bit of alcohol and drug use which can be unsettling but perhaps understandable, given their young age. But finally they are able to survive and thrive together as a family.I didn’t always enjoy reading this book. But I’m so glad I stuck through the emotionally raw parts. In the end I found these were four amazing strong capable people who are incredibly lucky to have each other. Having sibling who are also my friend and life savers I understand how precious that is. I finished this book knowing the kids really were going to be all right.
mattparfitt reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Full disclosure: the authors are my partners' cousins. But I'm still recommending it! It's a compelling story, wonderfully told in four very distinct voices (Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" initially inspired this form). You get a good sense of the very different personalities of the four, but you can also see why they became so close, despite the separation. Some of Diana's passages are amazing: up there with the best memoir writing I've ever read. But all the writing is excellent: vivid and heartfelt and courageously honest. I found the book hard to put down, even though I knew most of the story already.
readerspeak_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Told from alternating perspectives, this memoir is the story of the Welch kids -- four siblings growing up in an ideal setting until suddenly, their father dies in a car accident and leaves a pile of debt to their actress mother who doesn't know how to handle the bills. As the children all deal with the loss of their father in various ways, they are stunned to learn their mother has cancer. As orphans, they are sent away from one another, and their problems continue to mount.Each sibling has his/her own authentic voice in this heartbreaking, at times funny, story about kids growing up too fast on their own, desperately wanting to be together in a world that seems to conspire to keep them apart.
mhleigh reviewed this
Rated 5/5
The Welch family has everything going for them. The father is a banker and their mother a soap opera star, and the two have four children. Their story is that of a foundation of straw, however, and it is remarkable to see how quickly everything can fall apart. When the father is killed it turns out that the family is actually massively in debt, something the mother has no idea how to deal with. Then, just a month later, the mother is diagnosed with a cancer that will take her life within three years, leaving the four children ranging in age from 19 to 8, parentless. Not only parentless, but with no family stepping up to the plate to take them in and basically no close family friends who are stable enough or willing enough to keep the kids together. This leaves the kids with families who are iffy at best. This is no Party of Five - when the parents pass away, the four children go their separate ways, the three youngest to separate families, some going years without seeing each other. I liked this book a lot and found it hard to put down. While it's true that some of the siblings have more of a background in writing than the others, I don't feel that it detracted from the reading as a whole. The story was interesting and the main characters flawed, but engaging. The authors are fairly honest in displaying their questionable choices, although they don't engage in as much self-reflection as I would have liked to read. While complaining about how people like Diana's new "family" perceive them, there's not a lot of though into whether there's reason for the family to feel that way or how a different set of choices might have resulted in different reactions. However, this was a minor flaw in a book with so many strengths. The siblings take turns telling the story chronologically, by telling different short chapters in their own voice. This has the air of siblings explaining family events at the dinner table - interruptions, clarifications, two people remembering the same situation in different ways. Definitely worth a read.
cdianek reviewed this
Rated 4/5
In The Kids are All Right, we have four siblings. As a group, they lost their father in an accident, and then watched their mother die after an arduous battle with cancer. The oldest, technically an adult, is in no way able or prepared to take the others in. Individually, they decide their own fates, determining and seeking where they want to go after their mother's death. This is their story.We all know that memory is not always reliable. We've all argued with family or old friends about what happened where and when. Those among us who are even remotely insightful come to realize that though sometimes our memories are wrong, often it's our perceptions and feelings that color them retroactively. That particular phenomenon is tackled head-on in this wonderful and uplifting story.Though I suspect this memoir is not quite as warts and all as it could've been, there's certainly exposure of enough warts to be sure that even though the memories differ, the story rings true. We see Diana and Dan struggle in their respective circumstances, Dan bouncing between private schools, living with a family friend, and crashing with Amanda; Diana living with a family whose mother seemed determined to erase her family in order to have a new child. The callousness of that woman is utterly horrifying, hidden well below the altruism of her actions.In the end, the siblings find their way to each other and, according to their website, remain close and well on the happy side of such an ordeal.
alexann_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The Welch siblings were orphaned far too early. First their father died in a car accident, then, all too soon, their beautiful soap opera star mother was diagnosed with cancer. This book is the memories of each of the children, looking back at the early happy times, and the somewhat desperate ones when they were alone. There was nobody who was willing to take on four children, ranging in age from nineteen to eight, so they were split up, sent to live in the homes of different friends or family. Their story is told in alternating chapters, the siblings taking turns talking about what it felt like to them--where they were, what they remember from any given time.This is a very effective style--the reader really gets to know all four children. It's a quick read, and a very interesting and touching one. Recommended!

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