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Must do’s: What we like this week


Laura Miller recommends the memoir of Alexandra Aldrich, a descendent of the prominent Astor family, which provides a glimpse into a less privileged, less happy childhood than one would expect:

In premise alone, “The Astor Orphan” sounds like some delicious children’s novel, the kind of thing you’d gobble a dozen times over by the age of 8. In reality it’s a mournful, curious tale of an anxious child’s longing for security. Aldrich, who kept a diary from an early age, apparently sticks closely to it; her book has a halting, episodic rhythm. It lacks the fluency of truly accomplished storytelling, but the story it tells is so extraordinary, and Aldrich’s tone is so baldly honest, that the reader’s attention will not flag.

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