Friday, May 7, 2010

Blog Tour and Giveaway - Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden

Dead End Gene Pool
Wendy Burden
Gotham Books
279 pgs. (ARC, Prologue, Epilogue)

My Thoughts
Let me start by saying I couldn't finish Dead End Gene Pool. I felt disengaged from the first chapter and never found my entrance into the material.

 Burden starts out with a prologue introducing us to Cornelius Vanderbilt and taking us through her family line on down to the birth of her father and eventually to her brother, Will, and finally herself. Once we get into the memoir itself, I start to lose interest.  The Burden children are seven and eight and enroute to visit relatives when their plane meets some turbulence and we get our first glimpse of Wendy Burden's sense of her place in the family. "Being a girl meant squat in my father's family."

Using this plane ride as an introduction, we jump to the grandparents, or Gran, or Popsie with small bits of the children's mother as well as her uncles on her father's side.  The major disconnect for me starts with the description of the grandparent's German chauffeur, George, who is suspected of being a Nazi.  This fascination with George's heritage is fueled by Uncle Ham's deep interest in all things regarding the Third Reich as well as Wendy Burden's "humor." "German people liked to cover their lamps with...the skin of Jews gassed at Auschwitz."  I didn't find it "wickedly funny", "intriguing", "quirky" or any of the other adjectival words on the back.

We move on to Christmas with Wendy Burden's paternal family.  Uncle Ham is excited to receive a book on Hermann Goring while Wendy receives an Easy Bake oven which she calls a "crematorium." I'm sure, again, this is meant to be funny because she probably means putting dolls or other toys in the Easy Bake but, for me, here is where I give up.

The Author
Wendy Burden is a confirmed New Yorker who, to her constant surprise, lives in Portland, Oregon. She is the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, which qualifies her to comment freely on the downward spiral of the blue blood families. She has worked as an illustrator, a zookeeper, and a taxidermist; and as an art director for a pornographic magazine from which she was fired for being too tasteful. She was also the owner and chef of a small French restaurant, Chez Wendy. She has yet to attend mortuary school, but is planning on it.

The Giveaway
If you want to read about the Vanderbilt's here's your chance. I'm giving away this
ARC of Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden 
to one lucky, random commenter.
The giveaway is open to all. All you have to do is a
leave a comment stating why you want to read this one. Don't forget your email address.
Giveaway is open until Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 11:59pm
Only one comment/entry per person.

Monday, May 10th: The Serpentine Library

Tuesday, May 11th: Books Are Like Candy Corn

Monday, May 17th: Sophisticated Dorkiness

Tuesday, May 18th: Starting Fresh

Tuesday, May 18th: Books on the Brain

ARC provided by TLC Book Tours and Penguin Books.


  1. After reading your review I am not sure I want to read this, it sounds bizarre and not in a good way.

  2. I have this book and while I am not officially on the blog tour I was invited to be part of the discussion on May 18th. I'm glad I haven't read it yet because I don't think I can handle jokes about crematoriums. What was she thinking? I don't know anyone that would think that was a joke. Glad I read your review before I read the book.

  3. I would like to give the book a try....even though it sounds tasteless....maybe there is something redeeming within the book?


    librarianapril at gmail dot com

  4. I would love to read this book~as I also think that something is going to come out of this book that I would find interesting.


  5. April, you win the book. I will email you for your address.

    Thanks for entering, Deb K, pls check out my giveaway for Let The Great World Spin.

  6. I would love to read this book. In my family there is a lot of different types of depression, I have major depression and I find that if you don't have a sense of humor in life, it is very difficult to survive.
    Please enter me in this contest.



Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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