Nonfiction is generally not accepted by my flighty, 20-something brain. Give me Jane Austen, Lauren Weisberger, Dan Brown, or a stack of more New York Times bestsellers and I will be happy for hours. Christmas vacation coincided, unfortunately, with a rare lack of work so the County Library System has been brought back into my social circle (I de-friended it in 2007 when college became more popular).
The “New Books” section is conveniently placed near the door so I don’t have to venture too far into the sea of 60-and-ups (no joke, I am routinely the youngest person present). I decided to break out of my comfort zone and see if anything on the nonfic side caught my attention. This book instantly sprang out at me. Let’s be honest.. The bright pink binding probably was the main attractor.
Big HUGE fabulous luck.
The Duchess of Devonshire (Dowager, now) is 90 years old and has the writing style of a sarcastic, fresh-out-of-college journalist. “Wait for Me!” is her most recent book and tells the first-person story of her life, with lots of commentary on English happenings and on her family. Sounds boring, right?
Good thing I kept reading!
Deborah Mitford Cavendish (aka Debo) led, and is still leading, a fascinating life of social obligations that regularly include ridiculously famous people, remodeling massive castles and estates, and heading up dozens of committees, not to mention mothering 3 children and grand-mothering countless others (including supermodel Stella Tennant). She paints her family with beautiful humor that only the English can correctly pull-off, refers to dinners with Adolf Hitler and JFK as though it were perfectly normal, and gives herself absolutely no credit except when necessary.
Reading this book makes you realize the importance of the important things and the unimportance of the silly things. Personality quirks in others (that we are so quick to hate on) are accepted by her as what makes people interesting. Designer dresses, jewels, fabulous parties, regular trips around Europe, and unreal friendships with the Kennedy family and Givenchy himself fade into the background. Her parents, sisters, and husband are clearly much more dear to her than anything her status can provide.
Read this book for pleasure, since the extremely dry humor will make you laugh out loud, but also for personal benefit. I mean, really, how important is the latest Chanel nail polish in light of refurbishing one of England’s most picturesque estates to be enjoyed by the entire world?