Rich Was Better

Philip Van Rensselaer, Author Wynwood $18.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-922066-30-8
Van Rensselaer's engrossing, tell-all memoir starts with his birth in 1928 into a family of aristocratic New Yorkers. His mother, Adele, divorced his wastrel father after he had squandered their joint inheritance and she turned to a wealthy if socially unacceptable lover for support. The author and his brother lived luxuriously on their mother's generous protector until she died. As a young man, Van Rensselaer continued the lotus-eater's lifestyle and, he candidly admits, tried to marry for money. The book abounds with tales of the swinging international crowd and confessions of the author's alcoholism, sexual escapades and crack-up in middle age. Recovered and reformed, Van Rensselaer tips readers to the ``secret'' of his ``cheeriness'': ``I no longer feel special, and I don't ever feel arrogant anymore.'' Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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