Clark Collis
March 05, 2014 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Splendid Things We Planned

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Blake Bailey
genre
Memoir

We gave it a B

Would you rather be forgotten by history or remembered for your faults? That is the question raised by a memoir in which the author’s drug-addicted brother plays a large part. Bailey wrote a much-lauded biography of John Cheever, and Splendid Things is vibrantly evocative and car-crash engrossing — often literally so, given the amount of vehicular damage featured here. But it is hard not to feel queasy at the airing of such dirty laundry. Certainly this reviewer would be happier leaving no mark at all than be recalled in such a fashion. B

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