Wilsey, Sean 1970–
Wilsey, Sean 1970–
PERSONAL: Born 1970, in San Francisco, CA; son of Al Wilsey (a businessman) and Pat Montandon (a gossip columnist); married Daphne Beal; children: Owen.
ADDRESSES: Office—McSweeney's, 826 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110.
CAREER: Editor and writer. McSweeney's Quarterly, San Francisco, CA, editor-at-large. Former editorial assistant at New Yorker, fact checker at Ladies' Home Journal, letters correspondent at Newsweek, and apprentice gondolier in Venice, Italy.
Oh the Glory of It All (memoir), Penguin Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Articles have appeared in the London Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and McSweeney's Quarterly.
SIDELIGHTS: Sean Wilsey turned to his own life and his parents' messy divorce for his first book, the memoir Oh the Glory of It All. In recounting his life up to his early twenties, Wilsey reveals how, when he was nine years old, his family life played out in newspaper headlines after his wealthy father, an entrepreneur, filed for divorce from his gossip-columnist mother so he could marry his mother's best friend. After the divorce, his mother became suicidal and, for a time wanted her son to join her in a leap to death from her apartment balcony. His father, cold and distant, eventually disowned Wilsey, and the boy's new stepmother seemed to hate him as she tried to maniacally control his life. Wilsey began to exhibit problem behaviors that led him to get repeatedly expelled from various schools. Although his parents were self-obsessed, Wilsey credits his mother for becoming a peace activist, which activity eventually led to mother and son meeting some of the political giants of the day, including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
"Wilsey details the trials of his particular brand of teenage life in an engrossing, entertaining, and often hilarious memoir," noted Ronald Ray Ratliff in Library Journal. Bill Goldstein, writing in People, called the memoir "touching" and "a book worth reading." In a review in Artforum International, Jenifer Berman wrote: "Wilsey's narrative, told against the backdrop of the haute echelons of San Francisco society, is a classic tale of excess and redemption," while a Publish-ers Weekly contributor called the book "a startlingly honest tale" and added that the "writing … is vivid, detailed, deep and filled with fresh metaphors."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Wilsey, Sean, Oh the Glory of It All, Penguin Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Artforum International, summer, 2005, Jenifer Berman, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. S53.
Entertainment Weekly, May 20, 2005, Jennifer Reese, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. 80.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. 410.
Library Journal, June 1, 2005, Ronald Ray Ratliff, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. 144.
People, June 6, 2005, Bill Goldstein, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. 52.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 3, 2005, Kristofer Collins, review of Oh the Glory of It All.
Publishers Weekly, May 2, 2005, review of Oh the Glory of It All, p. 184.
New York Metro Online, http://newyorkmetro.com/ (August 26, 2005), Boris Kachka, "Conversation: Francine du Plessix Gray and Sean Wilsey."