The Astor Orphan
The Astor Orphan is a 2013 memoir by Alexandra Aldrich, a member of the Astor family.
Alexandra Aldrich, a direct descendant to John Jacob Astor, recounts her childhood at Rokeby, a 43-room historic estate in Barrytown, New York. The family is land-rich but cash-poor. Her father is unemployed and her grandmother is an alcoholic. The book ends as she leaves for boarding school.
In the Chicago Tribune, Kevin Nance compared it to Grey Gardens, adding that, "Aldrich delivers buckets of eccentricity." However, he argued that her "petulant grievance and thwarted entitlement" made the book "wearisome fast". He added that the dialogues lacked credibility, and that there is a "lack of an adult, emotionally mature perspective".
Writing for The New York Observer, Matthew Kassel argued that it "read[s] like a cross between Jane Eyre and Running with Scissors, adding that "it contain[ed] more than a few unsavory details about her family, personal things that one might not want the public to know about." He went on to say that "the book feels like a child's revenge on her family."
In The Boston Globe, Buzzy Jackson, the author of Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist, argued that it was "unpleasant for the reader to spend time with these spoiled, deranged people."
- The Astor Orphan: A Memoir , Publishers Weekly, 12/24/2012
- Kevin Nance, Review: 'The Astor Orphan' by Alexandra Aldrich, The Chicago Tribune, May 03, 2013
- Matthew Kassel, Rokeby Baby: In New Memoir, Astor Descendant Details Impoverished Mansion Upbringing, The New York Observer, 04/16/13
- Laura Miller, "'The Astor Orphan': Rich little poor girl", Salon, April 15, 2013
- Buzzy Jackson, ‘The Astor Orphan’ by Alexandra Aldrich, The Boston Globe, April 30, 2013
- Eric Hanson, "Review: 'The Astor Orphan'", by Alexandra Aldrich, Star Tribune, April 11, 2013