Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right is the latest memoir I have been reading and will finish tonight. This book interested me right away - having been written by the four Welch siblings: Amanda, Diana, Liz and Dan. Their story is sad, inspiring, and interesting.

The four Welch children grew up in the 80s. Their mother was a soap opera actress, and their life seemed idyllic. They grew up with enough money to afford vacations, nice clothes, and a big home. Suddenly life changed dramatically when their father was killed in a car accident. Within a short period of time their mother was diagnosed with cancer, and although she was able to receive treatment and appeared to be doing well, her cancer recurred and was eventually terminal. The four Welch children were split up. Amanda started college, Liz went to live with some friends, and did some traveling. Dan was a behavior problem at the time and was in and out of a few schools, living with their mother's friend, Karen. Diana was taken in by the Chamberlin family who everyone believed would give her a stable childhood where she could receive the experiences that other kids had. However, Mrs. Chamberlin was emotionally abusive to Diana, refusing to allow her siblings to see her and treating her poorly.

I have only ten pages left in this book and am not sure exactly how this will end. Obviously the Welches collaborated on this book and have a strong bond now. Yet, their lives after their mother and father's deaths was such a dramatic shift from the life they had known.

Their teen years are also hard for me to relate to - coming of age in the early 80s in an affluent family they were into drugs and alcohol and share freely their experience with both. The Welches also don't hold back anything- sharing some aspects of their pasts that are very personal. While these experiences may be things that they felt they had to share, as I reflect on reading this book, I don't believe that any of these personal revelations are necessary to make this story better or more believable.

I have not read a memoir written by four different authors, each chapter giving a different perspective on events that occurred in their lives, and as I was reading I realized how well this style of telling their story works for them.

To find out more about the Welches, visit their website:

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