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Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir

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Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblat Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.


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Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblat Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.

30 review for Becoming Duchess Goldblatt: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ My new favourite! “Nobody’s ever read my aura, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably light gray and covered with lint. I’m exhausted most of the time, impatient, distracted, visiting another neighborhood in my head, always with a slow current of sadness underneath. Duchess is white light. She’s fully present. She’s something else entirely.” She certainly is something else entirely! I was actually reading another fat paperback book but was going to sit outside in the Aussie winter sun (du 5★ My new favourite! “Nobody’s ever read my aura, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably light gray and covered with lint. I’m exhausted most of the time, impatient, distracted, visiting another neighborhood in my head, always with a slow current of sadness underneath. Duchess is white light. She’s fully present. She’s something else entirely.” She certainly is something else entirely! I was actually reading another fat paperback book but was going to sit outside in the Aussie winter sun (during isolation and all that), so I wanted to hold something easier to read – my Kindle. An hour or so in the sun and a few hours later indoors, there was nothing more to read and I felt like this. It’s a terrible thing to get old. I lost another lifelong friend today. And yet I’m sure I put her here somewhere.” There’s been plenty of publicity about this wonderful memoir, so I’ll say only that the author has written about the pain and heartbreak of her real, turbulent, rug-out-from-under-her childhood and married life. She was deeply affected by the bad stuff, but her kindly father also had a strong influence. While trying to recover from the trauma, she invented 81-year-old Duchess Goldblatt as a social media presence so she could lurk and read and say snarky things with anonymity. But she found she cared about the people she interacted with – and she did interact – so much so that she started tweeting kind things to everyone who contacted her. She is now one of the Twitterati with followers and fans and friends who rely on her kindness and wisdom. She has doubtless brought not only herself back from the brink of despair but many others who have found a friend in her, although they don’t know who she is. Someone who does know is her hero, Lyle Lovatt, the singer. (His part of the story is a lot of fun, but I'll leave that for you to discover). When I read about Duchess’s early life, I see a damaged soul who was selectively mute in primary school and who felt worthless. I imagine she was hard to live with and hard for teachers and classmates to understand. Later, I suspect her husband ran up against the same protective barriers, so he walked out. But they shared joint custody of their little boy, which broke her apart. She and her son are twin souls, very close, practically reading each other’s minds. For them to be separated for days at a time has been torture. “At the playground: my son, four years old, playing in the sandbox with his pal. He’s digging in the sand with a plastic shovel and reciting a string of numbers, over and over, an incantation. His friend asks him why he always repeats those same numbers over and over. ‘I passcode protected my mom.’ As if it should be obvious. ‘Why?’ ‘To keep her safe.’” That close. Somehow, she has managed to pick up the pieces of her broken self and establish a new persona with the bright shiny ones. The other, darker, duller pieces went back to work, where her memory wasn’t functioning as it used to. She has noticeable gaps, but it’s hard to pinpoint where they are. “I’ve been told since, by specialists, that this kind of thing can happen. The human mind is kind. It will create blank spaces for itself. I think of them as little airbags in my mind, cushioning the tender places where the blows and bruises are.” I have a good friend who’s had a couple of bouts of transient global amnesia after a very bad breakup, and I like to think now that her gaps are little airbags rather than losses. Duchess goes back to work, working with words, in publishing, editing, I’m not exactly sure. She offers professional advice and warnings. ”When I edit, I remove the words that don’t want to be there, hand wash them in warm water, and lay them flat to dry. I might use them later. . . . Writers can be a lot of fun at parties, but word to the wise: Keep an eye on your good memories. They’ll strip them down for parts.” . . . “Not until people start seeing typos eating out of their garbage cans at night will they regret hunting proofreaders almost to extinction.” She’s a bit of a loner by nature with very few good ‘real’ friends. Of one of her oldest, she says “He still travels in some of the social circles I used to be in, with some of the friends I used to have. I don’t think I’m in a circle anymore. I might be in a dotted line now, or just a dot.” But Duchess Goldblatt is sociable and wise and funny. She is not a duchess, it’s her first name, but her new friends call her Your Grace. She lives in the fictional town of Crooked Path NY, a few miles north of New York City and a few miles south of Canada. So you know it’s fictional. She refers to festivals and events there as if they were real. Her fans have started getting together and creating memorabilia and making friends with each other. She loves them all and keeps them up to date. I can’t talk now. Vandals have gotten into the Crooked Path town square fountain and siphoned off all the wishes. The book is full of what I think are some of her tweets – wise, clever sayings – some warm and fuzzy, some funny, all entertaining. In the book they are interspersed here and there and indented on the page. Here are a few. Trust me, there are plenty more! Her observations are a delight. ”A lot of people go very Martha Graham when dancing on their enemies’ graves. Me, I like flamenco. I want the souls of the dead to feel it. . . . People often come to me seeking the true meaning of life, but I find they’re usually satisfied with half a sandwich. . . . Don’t let anyone shame you for your love of an imaginary friend. Religions have been founded on less.” If you ever need someone to reign on your parade, this Duchess is your girl. At 81 years old, she is still a girl. Her story is wonderful and so is her creator. I can’t thank NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt enough for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted far too much and will probably continue to quote for some time to come. These are just a few samples. Long live @duchessgoldblatt! #NetGalley #BecomingDuchessGoldblatt

  2. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I had not heard of the phenomenon that is Duchess Goldblatt, I only learned of her Grace while perusing the library’s books on order. This pseudonymous author whose Twitter followers number in the many thousands and include some well-known, respected authors had eluded me. Reading about her love of Lyle Lovett and the friendship they've developed filled my heart with joy. I will not be able to do this book justice, but I hope you read it all the same. This is as much a memoir as a canvas for her I had not heard of the phenomenon that is Duchess Goldblatt, I only learned of her Grace while perusing the library’s books on order. This pseudonymous author whose Twitter followers number in the many thousands and include some well-known, respected authors had eluded me. Reading about her love of Lyle Lovett and the friendship they've developed filled my heart with joy. I will not be able to do this book justice, but I hope you read it all the same. This is as much a memoir as a canvas for her musings which she scatters throughout the narrative providing glimmers of wit and wisdom. I was swept away by the exceptional writing, her heartache and vulnerability on full display made me wince, her slightly twisted, but wickedly smart humor lightened the load. The author took what was a dark time in her life and created a character who radiates positivity and dispenses bon mots. During Lent she gives her followers slightly absurd mindfulness sacrifice assignments and she hosts virtual dog and cat shows . It’s a wacky world she’s fashioned, but one in which she found comfort from the community she created and they, in turn, found a beacon of light in the often dark world of social media. This is one of my favorite books this year, though I understand it won’t be for everyone. For me, this book is emblematic of what we’ve experienced since March, each of us finding our way through some dark days, looking for community while in isolation, finding the humor in the murky crevices. Long live Duchess Goldblatt, long may she reign. A few offbeat tweets I found delectable… Writing isn’t hard. Worming my way into your heart one step at a time is hard. But it’s holy work, and I bought a boat with the overtime. When I edit, I remove the words that don’t want to be there, hand wash them in warm water, lay them flat to dry. I might use them later. Minor floods in Crooked Path tonight. Volunteers are redirecting storm flows with burlap bags, weighted with unfulfilled expectations. Writers can be a lot of fun at parties, but word to the wise: Keep an eye on your good memories. They’ll strip them down for parts. Try getting a variance for a metaphorical ledge that can support a narrative with two people who need talking down. The engineers go nuts.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Anonymous uses a quote from Bill Clegg in his Did You Ever Have A Family to paint a picture of her life. “She was...an untouchable. Not from scorn or fear, but from the obscenity of the loss.” In a matter of a few years, she lost her father, marriage, job, friends. She created the Duchess to have a way to communicate without revealing her real self. She uses the Duchess to create a community. “So, to me, it didn’t look like people were gathering around the Duchess; it looked to me like we had al Anonymous uses a quote from Bill Clegg in his Did You Ever Have A Family to paint a picture of her life. “She was...an untouchable. Not from scorn or fear, but from the obscenity of the loss.” In a matter of a few years, she lost her father, marriage, job, friends. She created the Duchess to have a way to communicate without revealing her real self. She uses the Duchess to create a community. “So, to me, it didn’t look like people were gathering around the Duchess; it looked to me like we had all wandered into the same neighborhood bar and were standing elbow to elbow. Duchess is Anonymous’ father reborn. A religious man, he believed in finding the good in everyone. She displays a sweet humor, an uplifting positivity that he would be proud of. I admire Anonymous for rising above her challenges and channeling the good nature of her father. “Duchess, who saw the spark of the divine in each person. My heart was brittle and broken, but Duchess stepped forward and put words of kindness and beauty in my mouth.” It’s a very uplifting message. “I’ve built myself a civilization from the ashes.” Now, the book is disjointed and not a typical memoir. It’s more a stream of consciousness rhapsody of thoughts. If DG speaks in 144 character tweets, this book takes the idea and expounds it. This probably works best if you’re already. DG fan. I “knew of her” but can’t describe myself as a fan. I went into this more out of curiosity. My thanks to netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    I read BECOMING DUCHESS GOLDBLATT in one sitting. This book will definitely be on my top 10 books of the year, and I think everyone should read it. It is a truly amazing book! When I first encountered this book, I was unfamiliar with Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter (I now follow her and love her account) and was very unsure what I would think about this book. A woman who has a fake persona called Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter now has a book?! Hmmm. Thankfully I put aside my misgivings and dove in. B I read BECOMING DUCHESS GOLDBLATT in one sitting. This book will definitely be on my top 10 books of the year, and I think everyone should read it. It is a truly amazing book! When I first encountered this book, I was unfamiliar with Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter (I now follow her and love her account) and was very unsure what I would think about this book. A woman who has a fake persona called Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter now has a book?! Hmmm. Thankfully I put aside my misgivings and dove in. BECOMING DUCHESS GOLDBLATT tells the story of a lonely woman crippled by grief and how she created a fictional internet sensation who brings joy, laughter, and, most importantly a sense of community, to an often negative platform. She sprinkles her tweets throughout the book, often providing the backstory for a particular missive and the responses certain tweets received. Along the way, she befriends Lyle Lovett and numerous others and inspires groups to come together in her name and is there for who need a helping hand. At times heartbreaking, at times heartwarming, at times hilarious, this book will stay with me for a very long time; it is the perfect antidote for 2020 and all of its craziness. For more reviews, check out my Instagram account: hhttps://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro... and my newsletter: https://www.cfapage.net/subscribe. 3 likes

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is really short but still feels stretched as hell. There just isn't 200 pages of material when all you're doing is flexing that Lyle Lovett likes your Twitter persona. I felt for the author in the beginning because it seemed like lots of people turned on her during her divorce; by the end I was kind of Team Everyone Else. She seemed to think it was somehow charming that she was thoughtful on Twitter but a shitty friend in real life. It wasn't. I only do one star review if something's really This is really short but still feels stretched as hell. There just isn't 200 pages of material when all you're doing is flexing that Lyle Lovett likes your Twitter persona. I felt for the author in the beginning because it seemed like lots of people turned on her during her divorce; by the end I was kind of Team Everyone Else. She seemed to think it was somehow charming that she was thoughtful on Twitter but a shitty friend in real life. It wasn't. I only do one star review if something's really egregious but I hated this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Antigone

    Fresh off the presses and flitting about the lists, Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is the memoir of a woman who fashioned a fictional identity for herself, launched it on Twitter, and developed a large following - due primarily to this character's cleverness, her kindness, and her inclusive nature. Anonymous to this very day, her small book provides small clues to the who and why of it all for anyone who might be interested. That's the way they're selling it. Careful readers, however, will be encount Fresh off the presses and flitting about the lists, Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is the memoir of a woman who fashioned a fictional identity for herself, launched it on Twitter, and developed a large following - due primarily to this character's cleverness, her kindness, and her inclusive nature. Anonymous to this very day, her small book provides small clues to the who and why of it all for anyone who might be interested. That's the way they're selling it. Careful readers, however, will be encountering a good deal more. I had not heard of Duchess Goldblatt prior to the list-flitting. I was willing to be introduced, though, and began to absorb the meager bits and pieces her creator chose to afford me. The woman behind this social media sensation had an extraordinarily difficult childhood. We are presented with quick flashes of a mother's hatred, a brutal brother's mental illness, a father's struggle with terminal disease. These are not adequately relayed or explored with any dedication whatsoever - thereby denying the reader any sort of emotional or intellectual connection. Whatever this childhood was, she managed to survive it. She married and, at a late age, gave birth to a glorious child. Suddenly - and this obviously felt quite sudden to her - the husband requested a divorce on the grounds that she'd purchased a couch he wished she hadn't. Then she lost her job. Then she had to contend with sacrificing her darling child to the exigencies of joint custody. All her connections to extended family, friends and co-workers dissolved. This is important. These losses so traumatized her that she determined to avoid making any connection with anyone else for the reasonably foreseeable future. See where I'm going with this? Because the book's just that subtle. The first hundred pages had me thinking I'd made a huge mistake with this memoir. I simply couldn't get a fix on this woman. I didn't like her much, didn't care about her choices or her struggles or where any of it might lead...until it dawned on me, midway through, that all of this was purposeful. Until it dawned on me that she'd created this complicated system of expressive defense that would serve to thrust people away; that would shove them off quite neatly and spare her the danger of bonding and the subsequent potential for abandonment. Until it occurred to me that Duchess Goldblatt, this supposedly fictional persona, was actually that aspect of herself she was attempting to negate; the part of herself that would care, that would risk, that would invest, that could love. And that aspect was having none of it. A fascinating psychological compromise, and a memoir that is not at all what one might imagine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I have to admit that I downloaded this book from my library out of curiosity more than anything else. I do not have a Twitter account, nor do I want one, so I had no prior knowledge of this personna. I had seen reviews and mentions in the media, and it sounded interesting. Interesting is an understatement. Duchess is an imaginary character, dreamed up by a woman who considered herself a failure at everything. Marriage, friendship, even relatives had deserted her. She had to share custody of her a I have to admit that I downloaded this book from my library out of curiosity more than anything else. I do not have a Twitter account, nor do I want one, so I had no prior knowledge of this personna. I had seen reviews and mentions in the media, and it sounded interesting. Interesting is an understatement. Duchess is an imaginary character, dreamed up by a woman who considered herself a failure at everything. Marriage, friendship, even relatives had deserted her. She had to share custody of her adored 4 year old son, and her childhood had been overshadowed by a brother with mental illness, and a mother who didn't like her. The creation of Duchess Goldblatt was an attempt by her to reconnect with people and make herself a better person. It was wildly successful, as she says in the last chapter: "I built a civilization from the ashes". This is a dual biography of Duchess and the real woman behind her, although she remains anonymous. I'm not sure how, because apparently a lot of people know her identity, and she leaves enough clues lying around for anyone who cared enough to find it out. Started out of curiosity, but interesting enough to finish, it also cues me in to a part of social media that I don't participate in. I'll raise this to 3 1/2 stars because she's smart, witty and funny. And now I know. P.S. Anyone who is a fan of Lyle Lovett is going to love this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    One of the funniest writers working does most of her writing on Twitter these days. Smart. Charming. Whimsical. Duchess Goldblatt, famous for books such as Feasting on the Carcasses of My Enemies: A Love Story and An Axe to Grind, is the blip of optimism on twitter feeds needed and cherished by thousand of individuals all across the world every day. She’s also completely fictional … sort of. But there’s a very real voice behind the woman celebrated as Her Grace and she has a story all her own. Me One of the funniest writers working does most of her writing on Twitter these days. Smart. Charming. Whimsical. Duchess Goldblatt, famous for books such as Feasting on the Carcasses of My Enemies: A Love Story and An Axe to Grind, is the blip of optimism on twitter feeds needed and cherished by thousand of individuals all across the world every day. She’s also completely fictional … sort of. But there’s a very real voice behind the woman celebrated as Her Grace and she has a story all her own. Memoirs that don’t reveal the names of their subjects are rare, but anyone looking for a definitive answer as to Duchess Goldblatt’s real identity might be disappointed. The anonymous author behind the Twitter character keeps her name thoroughly hidden, though she offers up deeply compelling reasons as to why. But to fixate on this one point would distract from possibly the best memoir of the year. In fact, anonymity might be Becoming Duchess Goldblatt’s greatest asset. It’s possible the veneer of secrecy allows the author to tap into deeper areas of her life, from her divorce to her complicated family relationships. No topic seems off limits, both from her viewpoint and Duchess herself, including a refreshingly honest examination of mental health. The author, by remaining hidden, has provided a comprehensive, compelling narrative that otherwise might not have been possible. Even in lighter portions, some of her most interesting anecdotes—like her systems for receiving physical fan mail—stem from the lengths she takes to protect her anonymous persona. Even for those who love the wit and wisdom of Her Grace, the enchanting qualities of her Twitter account—of all things—can be difficult to explain. But her memoir? Oh, that’s easy: perfection. Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Review also posted at https://pluckedfromthestacks.wordpres...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Before I start slavering all over this book I feel the need to point out that this review doesn't do justice to or even really explain what this book is. Sometimes my reviews are like that. This is clearly a deeply personal book to the author so it feels right that my review is really just for her, whoever she may be. Duchess Goldblatt, for those who don't know, is the Twitter alter ego of an anonymous woman who's been making people happy with her tweets for several years now. Duchess's entire re Before I start slavering all over this book I feel the need to point out that this review doesn't do justice to or even really explain what this book is. Sometimes my reviews are like that. This is clearly a deeply personal book to the author so it feels right that my review is really just for her, whoever she may be. Duchess Goldblatt, for those who don't know, is the Twitter alter ego of an anonymous woman who's been making people happy with her tweets for several years now. Duchess's entire reason for living seems to be to make people smile and giggle and feel like they matter. Here are a few of her latest just so you can get the feel for her: Easy fall dinner ideas: • A handful of chocolate chips • Gin • Wheat Thins and a good cry Tonight while you’re sleeping, I will slip in and slightly mitigate some problems that are so insignificant they’ve escaped your notice. Everything would have been worse without all of you, my imaginary friends. Tomorrow I’m putting you in new outfits. Isn't she just...wonderful? Your Grace, Forgive me if I ramble, I've never written to royalty before. Reading your book reminded me how important it is to be aware of all the things I truly love in this world and one of them, I'm afraid, is the sound of my own voice. Something I do not love is social media so I am afraid we have never had the pleasure of conversing directly (or indirectly even). I found you quite by random happenstance. So random in fact that I cannot recall where or when it even happened. Perhaps it was in the midst of mindlessly paging through the NY Times Book Review or somewhere in the endless hours I spend on the internet. But wherever or whenever it occurred I saw your name and your lovely soft face and thought "well there is someone worth knowing." Yours is a pretty unique story after all. I mean people have certainly created alter egos before but there's something different about what you do. Because you created a fictional version of you so you could connect with other, real people. You got around that whole insecure feeling of not deserving friendship or connection by looking for it as someone else. You were honest about it, I mean I know you're not really a 16th century "Portrait of an Elderly Lady." I'd kind of like you to be and maybe somewhere in the back of my head I kind of hope you really do look like that but yes, in reality I know that you probably look kind of like everyone else. Like me maybe? And you did it on Twitter? I mean you know its called the cesspool of the internet right? Yet you plunked yourself down and you did it. I know you think the Duchess came from a selfish place, a desperate place. That it would be fun to send out witty little bon mots into the world and see if anyone would notice. But I wonder if you knew, or maybe just hoped a little that what did happen would happen. That those little bright bolts of sunshine would find their marks and make us all a little warmer in this chilly, black old world. That we'd start looking for, and finding the good stuff too. I knew that even though I'm not on Twitter and never shall be and so will never be a part of your circle of fans or subjects, your book would be important to me. You speak some truths in this book that people desperately need to hear. The irony being that they're pretty simple ones that we should already know. Wait is that irony? I never know. The point is they're easy to forget. Here are some things you reminded me of/taught me just so you know I really read the book. 1.) People should be loved because they're people. Not because you or I decide they're worthy of it. Its a hard thing, it takes work, it can be a battle sometimes to find something to love in someone, but it can make such a difference when you do. 2.) There are good and beautiful things in the world always, no matter how bleak things look at first glance. 3.) You can do it. Doesn't matter who you are or what it is. 4.) Lyle Lovett is the greatest musician on the earth. (I will confess here that I have never heard a Lyle Lovett song but I intend to correct that posthaste). There were other things, really profound ones some of them but I'm keeping a few just for myself. Also I hate when people spoil the books too much in these reviews. Also my memory is really bad right now so like I'm positive there were other things but I can't like call them to mind immediately. I'll probably remember an entire quote I want to share with everyone at like 2:45 in the morning. Thank you for doing what you do. Regardless of the why you have clearly given a boat load of compassion and hope to so many people who desperately need it right now. I hope you know that even if her ladyship feels like someone else she is all you. Every part of her, every kind, clever word is you. Maybe its hard to reconcile because it still feels like you don't quite deserve all the love and good wishes and presents and praise that get heaped on the Duchess's (your) lap, I think that would be hard for anyone. But it is a truth you should remind yourself of. Your book, like all truly good ones, changed me. It made me just a little bit more than I was before I read it. The book that you (not Duchess) wrote made me better. Its probably made a lot of people better. The world needs the Duchess right now very badly. But it needs you too. Remember that. Respectfully, a very loyal subject for life

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Smith

    First: Fair Warning: This review of BECOMING DUCHESS GOLBLATT is as much about me as it is about Her and Her memoir because that’s Her Grace’s gift: the ability to make Her disciples feel as if the bond between She and they is singular, that they are uniquely seen and loved. Second: Full Disclosure: Thanks to Elizabeth McCracken, I’ve been following Her Grace, Duchess Goldblatt, on Twitter since early days, long before she had 37 thousand followers. I attended what I believe to have been the inau First: Fair Warning: This review of BECOMING DUCHESS GOLBLATT is as much about me as it is about Her and Her memoir because that’s Her Grace’s gift: the ability to make Her disciples feel as if the bond between She and they is singular, that they are uniquely seen and loved. Second: Full Disclosure: Thanks to Elizabeth McCracken, I’ve been following Her Grace, Duchess Goldblatt, on Twitter since early days, long before she had 37 thousand followers. I attended what I believe to have been the inaugural Duchess Goldblatt gathering, August 7, 2015, referred to in Her memoir as the DGDC held at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. My Twitter bio (where I am known as MiracleCharlie) reads as follows: Spreader of Love & Light, Snuggly rascal, sweethearted tenderlove; proudly serving as Catechumen of Her Grace, Duchess Goldblatt. The sobriquet “snuggly rascal, sweethearted tenderlove” was bestowed upon me by Her Grace, and not only am I a proud and unapologetic devotee, but in my effort to get close enough to touch Her (portrait) at the National Gallery, I was threatened with arrest. That’s love. (Not to worry, I charmed the guard and he ended up taking pictures with me. I fully attribute this to the magic-glow around Her Grace’s portrait, in the field of which nothing unhappy can happen.) And I am not alone in my zealous attachment and fervent fealty. Duchess Goldblatt’s following is something of a cult, although She would never ask us to drink grape Flavor Aid, rather, it would be another grape entirely, a lovely Riesling, perhaps, and we would gladly do so. And, that’s a lot. For Her. And her. Because She, Duchess Goldblatt, 81 year old inspirational author of AN AXE TO GRIND; FEASTING ON THE CARCASSES OF MY ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY and the heartwarming meditation on mothers and daughters, NOT IF I KILL YOU FIRST; Mother of Hacienda, Her beloved daughter who is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, and Her Grace is the most famous resident of Crooked Path, and is royalty Whose name and pronouns I always capitalize — yes, She who is All That Is Good and Capitalized, is also she/her — a “carbon based life form” who invented the fiction of The Duchess when her in-real-life life was imploding; the marriage she thought healthy and secure had collapsed, her employer had been bought by a behemoth-corporation that was downsizing it into non-existence, she was going to lose the house she and her ex had purchased just before he announced he wanted a divorce, and she was going to be forced to share custody of the child with whom she shared a mind-meld of the kind some very lucky parents-children (twins, siblings, dearest friend/soul mates, Twitter-pals) experience. From these lemons life had given her, she made a Dorothy Parker, which is lemon juice along with vodka, triple sec, black raspberry liqueur, and Brut Champagne served in a martini glass. And, too, it is a writer of great wit, pithy ripostes, and sparkling bon mots, all of which are sprinkled generously throughout the book — and a good thing it is, because the story about the small s she, the writer behind the fiction, and the angst and abuse she suffered, is difficult to bear. But, bear it she did, and from it found a way to bring Light and Love and Joy to social media, a realm all too often cruel, barbed, attacking, and divisive. The Duchess Goldblatt persona is never unkind, and quite firm in her insistence that others refrain from unkindness as well — I was once scolded via subtweet for using a phrase she found offensive to those who were taking medications to help their sadness. As Her (and her) dear friend Lyle Lovett says, she has built a community “of kindness, acceptance, and friendship. The world would be a better place if we all became Duchess Goldblatt.” My world is definitely better because of Her. I warned you this was going to be solipsistic and here goes: during the early years of my connection with Her Grace, I, too, had left a partnership, lost an income and house, and been cut off by many friends and family members, which didn’t so much surprise me (in most cases except for a very few very painful ones) as disappoint me. It has been noted on more than one occasion that I am a wildly over-sharing type, and when I was spending my first holidays alone, actually in a house absolutely without human contact, pretending it was precisely what I wanted, pretending the hermit, recluse part of me was just fine with no more family holiday, all the while I was reaching out like mad, keening in sorrow on Twitter, and the Duchess, privately, offered me comfort, solace, and a virtual shoulder on which to cry. I am forever grateful. And I am not alone. She has been a source of comfort and inspiration for many, many Twitterarians. And not just in Her dealings with us, but, too, in the connections we have made because we follow Her. Examples, just for me, I spent a birthday in Manhattan, a Broadway binge, and on my birthday night I was wined and dined at Joe Allen’s by five people I’d met through the Duchess and Twitter. And, later in the week, sat in house seats for a Patti LuPone concert because of another Twitter friend of Goldblatt. Also, same week, Broadway opening night and party because of Twitter/Goldblatt friends. Too, a day of touring the Metropolitan Museum and walking through Central Park with another Goldblattian. And, I was taken to lunch by another Goldblattian who’d first befriended me via private Twitter messaging during a Christmas week I was spending alone, after which she sent me a box full of the entire collection of Agatha Raisin mysteries, the author of which she was friends with, and from whom she later sent me a personal note thanking me for being a reader. And, too, I’m devoted to and adore another Goldblattian in closer driving distance who has come here to my hometown and hung out with me at my local indie bookstore, and shared with me her social anxiety and depression experiences, and listened to mine. Those are just some of the examples of Love and Light and Joy brought into my life because of my connection to Duchess Goldblatt. Here’s another; I was heading toward a very unhappy Christmas holiday about which I had talked on Twitter, and many, MANY of the Duchess Family sent to me cards and gifts and love, all signing as Secret Santa. It saved me. That wouldn’t have happened if the Duchess didn’t exist. And, I have a GORGEOUS work of photographic art on my wall, made by a hugely talented artist who is a Goldblattian and got together with a few others to gift me. And, this: I have a dear friend, A, who has always loved Lyle Lovett. She has seen him in concert many, many times, most often with her husband, who died years ago, before she and I became close friends. The love story of she and her husband was beautiful, the kind of love you read about or see in musicals but don’t believe can exist in real life, it does, it did for them and their connection lives on even now. For them, Lyle Lovett concerts in the summer near her husband’s birthday were an annual event. I mentioned to her that Duchess Goldblatt was close to Lyle Lovett, and that he had followed me on Twitter, being a part of the Goldblatt community. She was TERRIBLY impressed (and a little envious, but she’s not the kind of person who operates from jealousy) and so, since she and Her Grace were such huge fans, and since Lyle Lovett was going to be in concert nearby on the date of her husband’s birthday, I suggested we go. Long/short: when Lyle Lovett found out we were coming, and knowing the connection between the Duchess and myself, he extended an invitation. We took along my portable Duchess, and after the show we three went to the assigned location with our backstage passes and met Lyle Lovett. We got at the end of the line, because A and I are both the kind of people who say to everyone, “Go ahead, we’re in no hurry.” And we got to spend a delightful time with Lyle Lovett, who is every bit as kind, loving, open, friendly, sincere, and shining as you’d imagine and hope he’d be; honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met. And though I kept saying we ought to leave, feeling I was over-imposing on his time and energy after he’d already given us such a wonderful concert, he was endlessly kind and patient, and talked to us for quite a while. So long a while, in fact, that when we found our way out of the underground tunnels to the theatre exit, ALL OF THE LIGHTS in the outdoor concert/park venue had been turned off and there was NO ONE ELSE left in the park/venue. Understand, neither A nor I have the SLIGHTEST bit of sense of direction, and so, finding our way to the parking lot was challenge number one. And there were multiple lots. When FINALLY we found the car — which you think would have been easier since it was THE ONLY CAR LEFT IN ANY OF THE LOTS, we found, as we tried to drive away, that most of the exits had been closed off, barred. Somehow, being held a little longer captive in the magic of the evening, made it even better. None of those wonderful events, including me being able to give A the visit with her long-loved Lyle, would have happened had the Duchess not been created by the carbon-based-life-form who took all the kicks while she was down and made them into a full-fledged production number featuring the Solid-Goldblatt-Back-up-Dancers. She’s a gift. She’s an example. She is the beating heart and shining soul of the best of who we all could be, want to be, try to be. We join around Her. And She loves us in return with such vigor. Another example, yesterday, the release of Her memoir, and She messaged me. Why? Because She knew the similarities in our sorrows, and my devotion to and worry about Her (and, too, the her behind the Her) would make reading about the dirty deeds done to her and the tears she shed and the hurt she lived through on the way to becoming Her, would make ME sad. And she said, “I knew I’d make you cry and I hated to do it.” That’s who S/she is. On H/her big day, S/she reached out to me, worried about my heart. And it is H/her heart about which I worry. As I said about a million words ago, being Duchess Goldblatt is A LOT. We lean on her. We ask for love. We are needy and wanting. And S/she has a heart as huge as all the Light there is in the world; I worry H/her soul is not being held and fed and nourished and seen, SEEN, in the way she sees all of us. I was once approached by a reporter trying to find out who was behind the fictional Duchess, asking me the identity of the writer. Number one: I don’t KNOW the name or location or anything else about the identity of the writer. Number two: if I did, I would never, ever tell anyone, let alone a reporter. Friends and family have asked me, “What is this whole Duchess Goldblatt thing?” I’ll tell you, as briefly and succinctly as I can, though this is already 2000 words long and doesn’t begin to communicate the magic of Her Grace or Her memoir. Here goes. As a child, I didn’t really fit into the world. Other children either didn’t like me or knew to do so would be ruinous to their own social standing. I lived in my own world, there I was content with books and musicals and imaginings, and I was held very close by my aunt, Sissie. She gave me books, Broadway, and a never wavering, from the soul/heart belief that I was perfect in every way. She saw the Charlie I wanted to be. (Well, most days I wanted to be him.) So, no matter the cruelties and name-calling and bullying and violence and loneliness I suffered through, Sissie was an oasis of joy, in her eyes I could believe there was a chance for me to be happy, that I was, indeed, able to be loved. And worthy of it. And, as I said in a post after the DGDC trip: I honestly thought a few years ago, when I had to change my life to save my life and lost so much, so many, and worse, discovered that I had never really had some of who and what it was I thought I lost (again, longer discussion, but not one I’m ever having in public), I believed that for me there would never again be friends, or love, or trust, or joy. I thought my life was a matter of waiting for it to stop. Part of what made me realize that was not the case, that there was more for me than waiting for life to end, was the introduction into my life of Duchess Goldblatt, and the community she has made. S/she and that community stepped in where Sissie’s death had left a void for me, the Duchess and her followers see the best in me, the Best Charlie. How great a gift is that? And so now, I live more by something she said to me in 2016 (and I trust She will be okay with me quoting Her, since I make a cameo in Her pages — by which I am honored beyond measure), and here were the Duchess’s words to me, then: “When we count our losses, we turn the balance sheet over to see what’s been gained, you and I.” Again, I have spent 2500 words to try to explain what the Duchess brings to the world, to me, and that’s it. She, as always, says it better and faster, but no matter the losses in this life, there is always something to be gained. I love Her. And her.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    Dec 18, 230pm ~~ Loved this book!! Back this evening with some sort of actual review. 930pm ~~ I want to thank my GR friend Sara for her lovely review of this book. I happened to see hers before anyone else's, and it made me want to do something I don't do very often, which is read a currently published title. I am usually a Forgotten Treasure kind of reader. But every so often a new book comes along that appeals to me, so here we are. At first I was skeptical, even remembering Sara's review. I fe Dec 18, 230pm ~~ Loved this book!! Back this evening with some sort of actual review. 930pm ~~ I want to thank my GR friend Sara for her lovely review of this book. I happened to see hers before anyone else's, and it made me want to do something I don't do very often, which is read a currently published title. I am usually a Forgotten Treasure kind of reader. But every so often a new book comes along that appeals to me, so here we are. At first I was skeptical, even remembering Sara's review. I felt that Anonymous was merely trading one pretend life for another. The difference was she did not realize that her real life was pretend. She only discovered that when her husband left her and a series of messy custody battles began over their son. In her despair over her life and her self image, she created the Duchess, a woman who represented everything Anonymous thought she herself was not. There is something else I do not do, and that is Twitter or any of the social media sites. So I had never heard about Duchess Goldblatt, but it seems plenty of other people have. And really, she is a treasure. Which means, of course, that Anonymous is a treasure, as she discovers for herself as the book progresses. We learn not only about how she created the Duchess, we learn about her own life and how her mind works. Whoever she is, she is truly awesome and I will be reading this book many more times just to be able to be around both ladies a little longer. This is a feel good book at a time when we all need one. Not just in the collective trauma we are experiencing, but in our personal lives as well, perhaps. At times it is easy to forget certain truths, but the Duchess helps us remember. There is still good in the world. There is still love out there too. We just have to trust ourselves not only to find it but to create it. I'm sure everyone who reads this book will have their favorite Duchess quote. Here are a couple of mine: I am sunlight. I walk in beauty. Where there is Duchess Goldblatt, there are no shadows, nor any darkness, nor sorrow anymore. Gather all the icicles you can carry and bring them inside. Nurse them back to health in the kitchen sink. Cheer for them when they move on. The end of this awful year was the perfect time to read this big little book. It helped me remember that no matter what happens in this bizarre old world of ours, we can deal with it. Nothing that happens would happen otherwise. Whether it is the dark of night or the dark of 2020, we are all stronger than we think we are. And everything will be okay. No matter which way our lives turn out, everything will be okay. Thanks for the reminder, your grace.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer P

    Engaging and imaginative, though something felt off to me. I tried for forgive the narrator for what seemed like intense self-absorption (she marvels at the fact that she can recall details about the lives of her online fans/subjects, but can’t recall the job of a real life friend or the name of the friend’s beloved dog) because she’s clearly suffered so much, but it grated on me. I also struggled to appreciate her knights-and-dragons view of life and some of the exchanges between her and her fa Engaging and imaginative, though something felt off to me. I tried for forgive the narrator for what seemed like intense self-absorption (she marvels at the fact that she can recall details about the lives of her online fans/subjects, but can’t recall the job of a real life friend or the name of the friend’s beloved dog) because she’s clearly suffered so much, but it grated on me. I also struggled to appreciate her knights-and-dragons view of life and some of the exchanges between her and her fans were cheesy and affected. A LOT of time was spent sharing examples of how important Duchess is to everyone in her Twitterverse. I waited for the narrator to grow more grounded, but growth seemed to be in the direction of more platitudes. Ultimately a bit too maudlin for my tastes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    To say this is a memoir is not doing it justice. Most readers know by now that Duchess Goldblatt is a pseudonym for a female author who has over 20,000 Twitter followers. Why Twitter? Why the name Duchess Goldblatt? Because she can. She's the Duchess. Seriously though, a few years ago the Duchess hit a rough patch in her personal life and found herself without her safety net of friends, family and coworkers. Sending tweets became her way of connecting with others using the persona of the dignifi To say this is a memoir is not doing it justice. Most readers know by now that Duchess Goldblatt is a pseudonym for a female author who has over 20,000 Twitter followers. Why Twitter? Why the name Duchess Goldblatt? Because she can. She's the Duchess. Seriously though, a few years ago the Duchess hit a rough patch in her personal life and found herself without her safety net of friends, family and coworkers. Sending tweets became her way of connecting with others using the persona of the dignified, ever-loving (evergreen love) Duchess. This is a book that will make you laugh, and nod as you relate to the trials of life that she goes thru. But make no mistake. The Duchess is like us, but she's not. The same, only different. Some will ask don't you want to know who the Duchess really is in real life? Well, I'm a librarian and I could do the work to discover (most likely) her name. I won't. It would spoil the mystery of the Duchess. And can we talk about Lyle Lovett? * I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judith E

    As with all philosophies of betterment, Duchess Goldblatt espouses forgiveness and kindness but with a little Lyle Lovett sprinkled in. What a genius you are, your Grace, (but you already know that) to spread the good word through “kind humor ….a clever play in words”. It almost made me reopen my Twitter account. Almost. Long live Duchess Goldblatt!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Slyly profound and wholly wonderful. There is light and love on every page...and Lyle Lovett. What more does one need in a memoir?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Made it to the end of the audiobook - still waiting for the point.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I asked Duchess Goldblatt to accompany me to Thanksgiving dinner in November of 2016. I knew it was going to be a hard, hard day and I was dreading it. Her Grace told me via Twitter that she would be right there with me, and I believed her and it made me feel like I had a secret weapon. I've been a Goldblattian ever since. I read this lovely and heartfelt memoir in little snippets then slept with it under my pillow because it made me feel better to do so. Duchess Goldblatt is just like that. You I asked Duchess Goldblatt to accompany me to Thanksgiving dinner in November of 2016. I knew it was going to be a hard, hard day and I was dreading it. Her Grace told me via Twitter that she would be right there with me, and I believed her and it made me feel like I had a secret weapon. I've been a Goldblattian ever since. I read this lovely and heartfelt memoir in little snippets then slept with it under my pillow because it made me feel better to do so. Duchess Goldblatt is just like that. You should get to know her in whatever way or place makes sense for you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I read about a third of this one.... just couldn't get into it. I read about a third of this one.... just couldn't get into it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    I was only vaguely familiar with Duchess Goldblatt prior to this, but her origin story is fascinating! An anonymous writer created this fictional social media persona as a distraction from a stressful time in her own personal life. What emerged was a tweeting beacon of humor and hope. Many of Her Grace’s tweets are sprinkled into this memoir. The styles works well. It’s a great read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    How to negotiate the craziness of today. Duchess Goldblatt and her philosophy is the pitch perfect antidote to a world seemingly gone mad. Finding it hard to pick up any fiction today that doesn't involve missing children, twisted identities, gruesomely disposed of bodies (ok, so I am a sucker for a good thriller), I needed something entirely different and thusly was introduced to the twitter sensation that believes humor should not be mean or hurtful, but uplifting and life affirming. There are How to negotiate the craziness of today. Duchess Goldblatt and her philosophy is the pitch perfect antidote to a world seemingly gone mad. Finding it hard to pick up any fiction today that doesn't involve missing children, twisted identities, gruesomely disposed of bodies (ok, so I am a sucker for a good thriller), I needed something entirely different and thusly was introduced to the twitter sensation that believes humor should not be mean or hurtful, but uplifting and life affirming. There are some current cultural references that made me actually laugh out loud, but the overall tone is one of cool hands on a brow. Entwined with Duchess's bon mots and relationships such as they are is the backstory of her creator, a writer of some accomplishment, who remains ANONYMOUS. Only a churl would attempt to look behind the curtain, as she is generous with personal information up to a point, and that alone is enough. Faced with hurt, disappointment, in one case, inhuman degradation, she turns to her own creation and finds acceptance and success and friendship with multitudes, several well known. Long live Duchess Goldblatt. You've gained yet another follower.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    I love Duchess Goldblatt. I am far less enamored of her non-fictional alter ego. I expected this memoir to be more Goldblattian in execution, which may not have been fair to the author. Instead, we get fairly shallow glimpses of the author's troubled childhood and later marital problems. The author's divorce and subsequent issues with friends and work are presented as things that just happened to her, which she bears no responsibility for. Maybe that truly is the case, but there's no sense that I love Duchess Goldblatt. I am far less enamored of her non-fictional alter ego. I expected this memoir to be more Goldblattian in execution, which may not have been fair to the author. Instead, we get fairly shallow glimpses of the author's troubled childhood and later marital problems. The author's divorce and subsequent issues with friends and work are presented as things that just happened to her, which she bears no responsibility for. Maybe that truly is the case, but there's no sense that she's given any thought to it beyond "poor me". She apparently has the most precocious "old soul" child who is prone to making pronouncements (at the age of 4) such as "If I look inside myself, I can see my soul. It's a never-ending spark" and "As long as we tell the truth of our hearts, even when you're in heaven, we'll talk". But mostly what we get is Lyle Lovett love. A lot of Lyle Lovett love. Reading about other people's obsession is rarely engaging, so if you don't share the LL love you may want to stick with Duchess's Twitter feed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This is a beautiful book. Am I biased? Maybe. But am I correct? Absolutely. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt (written by Anonymous) does something wholly original. It manages to maintain the author’s privacy while revealing personal secrets, suffering, loss, joy, truth, beauty, and the surprising discoveries of one person whose life became something completely unexpected in some negative and (later, many more) profoundly positive ways. The author digs deep and tells us what has hurt, upset, devastated This is a beautiful book. Am I biased? Maybe. But am I correct? Absolutely. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt (written by Anonymous) does something wholly original. It manages to maintain the author’s privacy while revealing personal secrets, suffering, loss, joy, truth, beauty, and the surprising discoveries of one person whose life became something completely unexpected in some negative and (later, many more) profoundly positive ways. The author digs deep and tells us what has hurt, upset, devastated, appalled, and destroyed her. She goes further to tell us how she repopulated her life with people who really care and really love her, found experiences that created new meaning, uncovered a way of life that improved her own, and brought infinite delight to complete strangers. She did what feels like magic. She took despair and turned it into a broken, gorgeous light. From lack and loss came abundance and enchantment. Read it and you’ll understand.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Duchess G is one of the funniest people I've ever read! And she's not even . . . .she! She's anonymous and apparently determined to continue to be. And that's ok with me, as it lends to her brazen and brassy confidence to say what she wants to say. There is wisdom there, to, no doubt about it. I hope she continues and gives us a few more books . . . . I came late to Herself because I am not a Twitter-pater. Once it became the one and only way #45 uses to communicate, it's attraction to me went ne Duchess G is one of the funniest people I've ever read! And she's not even . . . .she! She's anonymous and apparently determined to continue to be. And that's ok with me, as it lends to her brazen and brassy confidence to say what she wants to say. There is wisdom there, to, no doubt about it. I hope she continues and gives us a few more books . . . . I came late to Herself because I am not a Twitter-pater. Once it became the one and only way #45 uses to communicate, it's attraction to me went negative and useless, so I haven't been there. That meant I had to wait until the Duchess overflowed into other social areas. My feet are firmly in the book world, and one Goodreads review had me hunting her down until I had a copy. So glad for that copy and Herself. Wherever she is anonymously lounging today, I hope she is warm, healthy, snapping at someone, sipping an intoxicating beverage and having her feet tended in a manner she has chosen off a menu. Long Live the Duchess!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I am only a casual follower of her grace, Duchess Goldblatt, but I wanted to read what was behind her always delightful tweets. I had no idea, none of us did (except Lyle Lovett, apparently), that the anonymous "scribe" was not some joyful yet sly character, but a single mother with a broken heart and a broken life. I want to know who Anonymous is, so that I can find her ex-husband and punch him right in the balls. And I came to understand why she guards Duchess so closely, and why she herself i I am only a casual follower of her grace, Duchess Goldblatt, but I wanted to read what was behind her always delightful tweets. I had no idea, none of us did (except Lyle Lovett, apparently), that the anonymous "scribe" was not some joyful yet sly character, but a single mother with a broken heart and a broken life. I want to know who Anonymous is, so that I can find her ex-husband and punch him right in the balls. And I came to understand why she guards Duchess so closely, and why she herself is the way she is. All her life she has been surrounded by takers. She's walked on eggshells around family members, given her time, her intelligence, her energy to spiritual vampires. Her mother and brother were both addicts and mentally ill. Her father, while wonderful, still thought it was HER job to give her life caring for them the way he did. All of her friendships were the same way. The details are vague, but I'm willing to bet she was the listener, the cheerleader, and when she reached out for help, they dropped her because that wasn't what they wanted. She is afraid of telling people how full of sorrow and despair she is, because "nobody wants to hear about that." But she's been hearing about it all her life from other people, she's put up with it, and if they can't deal with listening to her for once, then screw 'em! She doesn't go into her marriage or talk about her ex-husband's personality, but I'm willing to bet he was exactly the same. He used her up and spit her out, and is absolutely jealous of her closeness to their son, and using that to hurt her. Again: I want to punch him right in the balls. She says throughout that she doesn't know where Duchess comes from, how she gets her little ideas. But I do. It's her, Anonymous, it's all her. But it's the part of her deep inside that she's never shown to anyone else. It's the part she guarded so that it couldn't be ridiculed or spat upon or used and abused. Witness that the friends she has made via Duchess, like Lyle Lovett (I never had an opinion about him before, but now I adore him, because he is so utterly charming to her), like Benjamin Dreyer, like PJ. These are good people. Intelligent. Compassionate. And it's clear that they love her, though she acts like she doesn't know why, or claims they truly only love "Duchess." No, my dear, they love YOU. You are amazing! And worthy of love!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I’m just going to throw some of my favorite bits out here, in no particular order. I don’t mind an unreliable narrator, as long as she’s punctual. * Close your eyes and visualize the best possible outcome. When it’s not looking, grasp it by the neck and fling it into reality. * Gather all the icicles you can carry and bring them inside. Nurse them back to health in the kitchen sink. Cheer for them when they move on. * If he’s not texting you back, it’s only because he’s lying, sobbing, in a nest he I’m just going to throw some of my favorite bits out here, in no particular order. I don’t mind an unreliable narrator, as long as she’s punctual. * Close your eyes and visualize the best possible outcome. When it’s not looking, grasp it by the neck and fling it into reality. * Gather all the icicles you can carry and bring them inside. Nurse them back to health in the kitchen sink. Cheer for them when they move on. * If he’s not texting you back, it’s only because he’s lying, sobbing, in a nest he made from his mother’s old bathrobes and cardigans. * I will die as I lived: laughing at my own jokes and if I had to guess, choking on a swizzle stick. ~*~

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    It seems almost like bad manners to say that this good-spirited memoir about the phenomenon of a constructed persona who uses the experience to heal some of the author's deep grief didn't entirely work. Because the mission of Duchess Goldblatt is so earnest and has brought a lot of people into a playful, humane realm that Anonymous built serendipitously. Nevertheless, the construct of this mysterious world left me with so many questions that will remain unanswered. And shame on all the friends a It seems almost like bad manners to say that this good-spirited memoir about the phenomenon of a constructed persona who uses the experience to heal some of the author's deep grief didn't entirely work. Because the mission of Duchess Goldblatt is so earnest and has brought a lot of people into a playful, humane realm that Anonymous built serendipitously. Nevertheless, the construct of this mysterious world left me with so many questions that will remain unanswered. And shame on all the friends and family who abandoned her when her husband found a new love.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara-Zoe Patterson

    This should have been an DNF. I have too much optimism that a book will get better. Terrible writing, crappy telling. The content was annoying. This person spent more than half the book talking about their love of a country star, and then became friends w the country star and included the transcripts of their correspondence and conversations. A painful read that unfortunately negatively impacted my love of Duchess Goldblatt, who I wish this book was about.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cc

    This was a very strange book for me. Who does this? What kind of adult (yes adult, not teenager) makes up an imaginary character and lives a life through them online in social media. Crazy premise for me. Not a book I will recommend, but that is just my opinion!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Thank you to NetGalley for a chance to read and review this memoir. I am late to following the Duchess, but I really enjoyed her memoir. The grief and sadness that the author experienced after her life unraveled permeated her story. Duchess Goldblatt allowed her to reconnect with people in a positive anonymous manner, while providing her followers advice, wit and snark. I have only followed the Duchess on Twiiter for a year, so I was interested in this memoir (which is usually not my genre). Onc Thank you to NetGalley for a chance to read and review this memoir. I am late to following the Duchess, but I really enjoyed her memoir. The grief and sadness that the author experienced after her life unraveled permeated her story. Duchess Goldblatt allowed her to reconnect with people in a positive anonymous manner, while providing her followers advice, wit and snark. I have only followed the Duchess on Twiiter for a year, so I was interested in this memoir (which is usually not my genre). Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it aside. The Duchess seems to come from a separate part of the author's brain, but then allows her to become friends with Lyle Lovett, the country music star. Their interactions are the best part of the story. The author is a professional writer, so it was very well-written and her story was very worth learning. I highly recommend for people following the most trying times of their lives, as you are left with hope, which we all need at one time or another.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    How to describe Duchess Goldblatt? You either know who/what she is because you're a Twitter follower or you don't. So, if you need an introduction, Duchess Goldblatt is a semi-fictional character, a social media profile created by an anonymous woman that appears to be an elderly woman, represented by a 17th century portrait, who dispenses sage, silly, and lovely bon mots and advice on Twitter. This memoir, by Duchess's still-anonymous creator, details how Duchess came to be, at a time when her cre How to describe Duchess Goldblatt? You either know who/what she is because you're a Twitter follower or you don't. So, if you need an introduction, Duchess Goldblatt is a semi-fictional character, a social media profile created by an anonymous woman that appears to be an elderly woman, represented by a 17th century portrait, who dispenses sage, silly, and lovely bon mots and advice on Twitter. This memoir, by Duchess's still-anonymous creator, details how Duchess came to be, at a time when her creator was spiraling after a number of personal crises - the breakup of her marriage, shared custody of her only child, the loss of a job. She also details the death of her father during her college years, her fraught relationship with her mother, and her only sibling's self-destructive mental illness (if family troubles like these are are for you, there are a couple chapters you might need to skip through, CW also for talk of suicide). But in between the creator's memoir, we get the memoir of Duchess Goldblatt, the matriarch of Crooked Path, as she grew in Twitter visibility and gained ever more famous followers (Lyle Lovett has become a friend to both Duchess and her creator). But her creator has maintained her anonymity - with few exceptions - and, you know what? It doesn't really matter if we know everything about Duchess's creator or not. We don't need to know who thought up Secular Pie Thursday on Thanksgiving, as a way to stave off loneliness, only that it exists as a bright spot on a holiday that might be rough for some people. And I think that's the greatest gift of Duchess's creation - that even in her creator's darkest moment, she found a way to give and bring light into herself. Long live Duchess Goldblatt.

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