Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes
Title: Surviving High Society
Author: Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland
Synopsis: (Taken from Amazon.com)
As an adopted child into a rich CT family, I was given the best of everything…education, clothes, trips to Europe, golf and tennis lessons, two houses to live in and access to personalities like Kate Hepburn and Eleanor Roosevelt.
My adored adopted father died when I was 22 and was left to live with an adoptive mother who was alcoholic and insecure as well as being rich. She demanded more and obsessive control of me. She went to a local psych hospital and offered them $2 million dollars to have me hospitalized forever.
The book details how I avoided the deadly scheme the hospital cooked up to make sure they got the money.
Happily I escaped, helped make the last years of my adoptive brother’s life easier, found my natural family and the love of my life to whom I have been married 22 years.
I include humerous accounts of how my husband and I sold my mother’s estate jewelry, legally, without owning it and how we managed to get out of a $8,000 business lease.
Long story short: I wasn’t supposed to survive but I did. And I’m happy!
Elizabeth was a product of a love-obsessed mother, hell-bent on capturing and keeping the man of her dreams. Selfish womanizing biological father, determined to erase any proof of his love affair with her mother-convinces her mother to put her up for adoption. Eager to do anything that he pleases and win over the man she so desperately loves, Elizabeth tasted her first bite of abandonment as a newborn.
Soon adopted into an affluent family (with too many connections to mention) Elizabeth is raised to rub elbows with all who is holy and famous. We are quick to discover behind this family facade lay secrets so disturbing and so heartbreaking, it’ll have you feeling thankful to have lived the life of less.
The door to my room closed. I whispered to my Dad, although he was downstairs and could not hear me: “Dad, I am not going to appear at the dinner table with this hairdo! Why didn’t you marry someone else and then adopt me?”
I stuck my head under the faucet and washed most of the goo down the bathroom sink. Then I rinsed my hair a second time. After I pulled the tangles out with the brush and dried my hair with the hair dryer, it was slightly frizzy, but it was flat on my head. I put cold water on my lip to stop the bleeding.
I walked into the dining room as Mother was excitedly saying, “Ed, she looks just like a princess! Just absolutely beautiful!” She turned, looked at me. and started to yell,“What have you done, you ungrateful child? After all that work to make you look like a princess!”
Both of her fists went up, pummeling the air in front of my face. Ignoring her, I slid into my chair. “Dad, it is my hair, you know. And I’m not a princess. I’m just me. Isn’t that enough?”
Chapter 2, “Becoming a Princess”.
After the death of her adoptive father, her adoptive mother (already eccentrically unstable) snaps and with (what feels to me) like anger and resentment, juggles Elizabeth from mental institution to mental institution. Having the money to do as she wants, Elizabeth mother convinces doctors to keep her locked up and drugged up – and Elizabeth has not the money to argue.
Surviving High Society is an eloquent inside look of the lives of the rich and famous. Elizabeth Marvin Hulholland speaks fluently, painting vibrant imagery with her words. One must take a mental note that this autobiographical tale does skip back and forth through out her life, which can be initially distracting. Although Mulholland does not follow the rules of order, the story is still intriguing and beautifully sculpted. The only thing that truly distracted me from loving this book was the continual name dropping. The mention of (insert famous person here), (there), and (here), made it hard to relate (and/or) believe the story in it’s entirety.
Sometimes I wanted to say “Mulholland – too much! I don’t care if your father worked with so and so. I don’t care if you shared a cookie with so and so’s granddaughter.” Many times through out the book, it just became too much. So many names dropped, that I could not possibly remember them all. If a character is not easily remembered once the book is closed then you are most likely okay with eliminating any mention of them.
Even so – the story is worth reading. Mulholland is a picturesque example of a “normal” girl in a not so “normal world” and her efforts to fit in, and then get out.
A quick and rather short read, Surviving High Society is served best while sitting in your favorite reading spot and sipping a pot of your favorite tea. Make sure the phone is near by because you’ll want to call your Mother and thank her for being – dare we say it… fan-lovin’-tastic.