Oh the Glory of It All

  • by Sean Wilsey
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • 21 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In what will be the most talked-about memoir of the year, a founding editor of McSweeney's gives us his wise, electric, and painfully funny story. "In the beginning we were happy. And we were always excessive. So in the beginning we were happy to excess." With these opening lines Sean Wilsey takes us on an exhilarating tour of life in the strangest, wealthiest, and most grandiose of families. Sean's blond-bombshell mother regularly entertains Black Panthers and movie stars in her marble and glass penthouse, "800 feet in the air above San Francisco". His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade and lectures his son on proper hygiene in public restrooms, "You should wash your hands first, before you use the urinal. Not after. Your penis isn't dirty. But your hands are." When Sean turns nine years old, his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend. Sean's life blows apart. His mother first invites him to commit suicide with her, then has a "vision" of salvation that requires packing her Louis Vuitton luggage and traveling the globe, a retinue of multiracial children in tow. Her goal: peace on earth (and a Nobel Prize). Sean meets Indira Gandhi, Helmut Kohl, Menachem Begin, and the pope, hoping each one might come back to San Francisco and persuade his father to rejoin the family. With its multiplicity of settings and kaleidoscopic mix of preoccupations - sex, Russia, jet helicopters, seismic upheaval, boarding schools, Middle Earth, skinheads, home improvement, suicide, skateboarding, Sovietology, public transportation, massage, Christian fundamentalism, dogs, Texas, global thermonuclear war, truth, evil, masturbation, hope, Bethlehem, CT, eventual salvation... Oh the Glory of It All is memoir as bildungsroman as explosion.


What the Critics Say

"Honest to a fault, richly veined with indelible images: a monumental piece of work." (Kirkus Reviews)
"An incredibly powerful performance: a memoir that announces the debut of a remarkably gifted, daring and...very funny writer." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Oh the torture of it all.... I thought I was going to die of boredom listening to this book, it droned, and droned, and droned, and droned (a sampling of the writing style - repeat the same thing over and over and call it writing) This book could really be condensed down to about 5 hours and MAYBE be a good listen - but in this unabridged version it's just "so much non-essential drivel". It doesn't even end well so do not waste a selection on this. I love long books that are involved - when interesting. Unfortunately I chose this book for it's length and it's reader - who by the way - true to form IS the best thing about this book. Scott Brick has always been a favorite but I really think this book even bored him.
Just a warning - if you liked the book then I'm sorry, but I hope whomever is thinking of this book takes the time to listen in depth to the sample..... just to see... good luck.
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- Sherry L. Wright

Oh the Pity of it ALL

Too bad, but this compelling story is ruined by an unfocused author. I would love to read the real book buried somewhere inside the repetitious claptrap. Still, Scott Brick makes the most of this unfortunate situation.
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- James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-13-2005
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio