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Damage Control: A Memoir of Outlandish Privilege, Loss and Redemption Paperback – 8 Apr 2014

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Amazon.com: 37 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
page turner 2 May 2014
By mario j lobo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sergei has written a riveting memoir, touching and very well written and look forward to his next book and/or memoir.
Having known the cast of characters quite well, there were no surprises.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A View inside the Golden Pavilion 1 May 2014
By Alberto M. Barral - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating memoir and a testimonial as to what life is like in the rarefied atmosphere of International High Society. The author offers a most candid and vivid account of his life spent in several continents, in constant travel and re-location, a journey that is always life changing or mind altering or both. The structure of the book is around the pivotal event of his mother's mortal disease that allowed barely a year for them to really make peace with their convoluted pasts and express the love they had such great difficulty expressing while life was just normal, although normal is a word that hardly applies at all to their environment and life style. It goes back and forth between her present illness and the past, in flashes that at time feel like videos, viewing photographs from an album, others feel like pages from a 19th Century novel or a Spanish religious confessional from the 17th Century. One is in the midst of this magical world of glamour and splendor, but we are able to see it's flaws as well, the high toll it takes on real life's values, the loneliness and the pain are as present there as the design gowns and the catered parties.
The author's mother was Cuban, "Dollsie" as he calls her lived a life that reads like a script for a Hollywood movie. Her growing up between Havana and her grandfather's ranches, her debut into society in Havana's Golden Era, and her marriage just before the Fall of the Ancien Regime in Cuba to a scion of European aristocracy is all described in detail. The winner of her hand had to fight off two French princes and a Cuban golden boy of society that kept on appearing at every European spot that golden summer to win the competition for Dollsie, when it all coalesced into her marriage proposal and she married into the Swiss family that was to change her life forever.
After her marriage she had an affair with two Russians, one of them a Prince, the other destined to be her second husband and father of her last child; this is where you can envision an opera by Tchaikovsky, with all the beautiful arias of love and regret, nostalgia and remembrance.
That's one part of the book, the other is the author's struggle to come into his own in the midst of that opera, no easy task to say the least. As in real life opera, the secondary roles are difficult to sustain in the presence of a diva, which was Dollsie's character role par excellence, and to make your mark on them is a sign of true grit, which we totally get here. What emerges is an equally stunning testimonial by the author, into gay life at the time of AIDS. This is one of the best histories of the period I have ever read, not in a documentary way, but as it is remembered by someone who lived and suffered through that catastrophe and came out a survivor, and a matured individual that can help others through the emotional and psychological devastation, it's a beautiful transformation that will make a strong impression, no matter what your background may be.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Profound.....an amazing journey. A "must-read". 16 May 2014
By Marcy Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very rarely has a book made me either cry or bookmark pages...this book has done both. There is just too much "good" about this book to point out any one thing, but for someone suffering thru dysfunctional relationships with their own parents and children, it hits very close to the bone. Too close at times. However, at the end of the day three tenets ring true-love, forgiveness and acceptance. Thank you, Sergei, for reminding me of what is truly important and thank you for sharing what must have been incredibly painful to recount.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
O.M.G. A MUST read!! 18 April 2014
By ReadingGirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Do people really live this way? and how is a little boy to navigate such labyrinths of privilege, accessibility and intra-familial dysfunctions? SO beautifully written that even through the more gasp-inducing scenes, I could not quit reading. How does he grow into a man who STILL has so much love bursting in his heart that he adopts a beautiful girl and creates a wonderful family for her and for himself. Redemption indeed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Up Close and Personal 17 Jan. 2015
By Dr. William Hyatt Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Knowing two (2) of the three (3) main players in the tale personally over many decades - I did not know what to expect - whether Damage Control was going to be a "tear-jerker" let down from my one time "boy crush" - but it was surprisingly well written about a family that was mainly charming and genuine. Although, there may have been drama behind closed doors, it was relatively well-contained, but not so different, than many other society families in New York City - even ones that spent time on two continents or two coasts or both. People liked their family because they were fun, not because they were rich. As rich people, as a whole, they were much more honest about their lives, accomplishments, and mistakes than others by many millions of miles, if honesty could be measured in terms of distance. This memoire is reflective of that honesty. We will never know the real workings of our parent's world as children - we can guess, we can presume, we can assume - but here - I see the traits of unabashed honesty, sincerity, and unconditional love shine through the usual dysfunction of New York City society families - which again has made this piece unique to them...they were and are cool people that you would seek out in room full of society stiffs - but definitely not because they were rich, privileged, a part of New York City society, or that they had first-class tickets in hand - nope - you would seek them out because they were fun, honest, genuine, and amazing...many of those elements come out in this piece - which does lend itself to the authenticity of the story. Disappointment derived from imaginary expectation has kept psychotherapists in business on the Upper East Side for decades - there is nothing new to that tale, but what is unique and exciting is Sergei's love for his daughter, and the description of her very cool and street savvy mother. Delight in the warmth of a tale that still believes that "love will conquer all" and does.
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