Hot Best Seller

Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss

Availability: Ready to download

In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins. Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regen In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins. Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regency Hotel, and a house filled with precious antiques, which she was forbidden to touch. Established in Detroit in 1850, by 1992 the Stroh Brewing Company had become the largest private beer fortune in America and a brand emblematic of the American dream itself; while Stroh was coming of age the Stroh family fortune was estimated to be worth $700 million. But behind the beautiful façade lay a crumbling foundation. Detroit’s economy collapsed with the fall of the American financial markets and likewise the Stroh family found their wealth and legacy disappearing. As their fortune dissolved in little over a decade, the family was torn apart internally by divorce; drug busts, as one sibling after another was thrown out of boarding school; disagreements over the management of the business; and disputes over the remaining money they possessed. Even as they turned against one another, looking for a scapegoat on whom to blame the unraveling of their family, they could not anticipate that even far greater tragedy lay in store. Featuring one of her beautiful photographs at the start of each chapter, Stroh’s memoir is elegantly spare in structure and mercilessly clear-eyed in its self-appraisal—at once a universally relatable family drama and a great American story.


Compare

In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins. Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regen In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins. Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regency Hotel, and a house filled with precious antiques, which she was forbidden to touch. Established in Detroit in 1850, by 1992 the Stroh Brewing Company had become the largest private beer fortune in America and a brand emblematic of the American dream itself; while Stroh was coming of age the Stroh family fortune was estimated to be worth $700 million. But behind the beautiful façade lay a crumbling foundation. Detroit’s economy collapsed with the fall of the American financial markets and likewise the Stroh family found their wealth and legacy disappearing. As their fortune dissolved in little over a decade, the family was torn apart internally by divorce; drug busts, as one sibling after another was thrown out of boarding school; disagreements over the management of the business; and disputes over the remaining money they possessed. Even as they turned against one another, looking for a scapegoat on whom to blame the unraveling of their family, they could not anticipate that even far greater tragedy lay in store. Featuring one of her beautiful photographs at the start of each chapter, Stroh’s memoir is elegantly spare in structure and mercilessly clear-eyed in its self-appraisal—at once a universally relatable family drama and a great American story.

24 review for Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

    This is the kind of book that should remind all of us that it isn't actually that easy to write a memoir because most of us don't actually write all that well and our lives aren't nearly as interesting to other people as we personally find them to be. The only reason this thing got published is because Frances Stroh has a recognizable last name. Her story just isn't that singular or profound: her family once had a lot of money and then they didn't. Even there they aren't that interesting: these This is the kind of book that should remind all of us that it isn't actually that easy to write a memoir because most of us don't actually write all that well and our lives aren't nearly as interesting to other people as we personally find them to be. The only reason this thing got published is because Frances Stroh has a recognizable last name. Her story just isn't that singular or profound: her family once had a lot of money and then they didn't. Even there they aren't that interesting: these people were rich, but they weren't Astor/Vanderbilt/Huguette Clark rich. They lived in a Detroit suburb, after all. She got kicked out of boarding school and had to go to Grosse Pointe South public high school. She did some coke and smoked a lot of pot. The scandalous secrets about which her family was so ashamed just weren't that awful: her brother was arrested for dealing drugs. The one true tragedy of the book -- the death of the now drug-addicted brother -- is hardly its focus and Stroh offers few insights about his passing. Stroh tries to be self-deprecating about her family's past glory days in the brewing business and the wealth they once enjoyed but she's still too enamored of that past and it ends up coming off as a bad sort of "humble brag." In short: a poorly written, self-aggrandizing account of a not-so-interesitng life. That said, there are only about 17 words per page so you can get through it in less than a day, no problem.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura Falby

    Story of a dysfunctional family who had the bad luck to be born into a family business that allowed them all to behave even more badly. Frances Stroh doesn't provide many insights into how the Stroh family fortune gave them permission to act out, drop out and screw up their lives. Were there any successful members of the Stroh family, with healthy relationships? She could have contrasted why she thought that they survived and her family collapsed. She had an insider's seat but we don't end up kn Story of a dysfunctional family who had the bad luck to be born into a family business that allowed them all to behave even more badly. Frances Stroh doesn't provide many insights into how the Stroh family fortune gave them permission to act out, drop out and screw up their lives. Were there any successful members of the Stroh family, with healthy relationships? She could have contrasted why she thought that they survived and her family collapsed. She had an insider's seat but we don't end up knowing more than what we could have read about the family in the Free Press or Forbes magazine. She also has a one-sided view of the downward spiral of Detroit. She blames the decline on the unions instead of the effect of globalization and the fact that the Big Three auto companies chose to relocate all their manufacturing jobs to lower cost factories in third world countries where the wage rate was a fraction of a living wage in Michigan. I guess that the book is a cautionary tale for any remaining family owned mega businesses who chose to keep the executive positions within the family instead of hiring professional managers who can spot the pitfalls and steer competently through rough seas.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve Peifer

    I live in the land of the entitled, and this gave me insight into the biggest issue they have: losing what they have. Those without think that having would take away their problems but having leads to fear. No free lunch. All that being said, there wasn't an intentionality to that insight from the author. She has a cluelessness that continues to startle: she is outraged that her father's million dollar pipe collection was ONLY worth $50,000. It goes without saying that most people won't inherit a I live in the land of the entitled, and this gave me insight into the biggest issue they have: losing what they have. Those without think that having would take away their problems but having leads to fear. No free lunch. All that being said, there wasn't an intentionality to that insight from the author. She has a cluelessness that continues to startle: she is outraged that her father's million dollar pipe collection was ONLY worth $50,000. It goes without saying that most people won't inherit anything close to that amount. She is SO star struck around any celebrity that the Alan Ginsburg dinner offers NO insights about him, but many unintentional unfortunate ones about her. The pretension as she talks about her art is one of the most unintentionally hilarious parts of this book. I will give her this: she was a good enough writer that she kept it moving, and I kept hoping it would get better. It never did. Spoiled people are rarely worth your time, especially those who seem to learn so little when they lose it all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    This is a well-written and well-edited memoir about growing up with family money, and realizing one day, as an adult, that all the family money is gone. Money, though, is not the main topic of the book. Frances Stroh is an artist and much of the story is about her art and photography, the latter a love shared with her father. Most of the story is about her father and the rest of her family, and this book is currently the “#1 New Release in Dysfunctional Families” at Amazon. One could laugh at th This is a well-written and well-edited memoir about growing up with family money, and realizing one day, as an adult, that all the family money is gone. Money, though, is not the main topic of the book. Frances Stroh is an artist and much of the story is about her art and photography, the latter a love shared with her father. Most of the story is about her father and the rest of her family, and this book is currently the “#1 New Release in Dysfunctional Families” at Amazon. One could laugh at the fact Amazon has such a book category, but it’s really not funny. Talking of which, that’s one thing greatly lacking in this memoir--humor. (Or maybe there was humor but not my type.) No, it’s a pretty serious and a pretty typical look at family dysfunction, with drinking, drugs, school expulsions, anger issues, divorce, etc. Ms. Stroh is a very sympathetic teller of this story. There’s no self-pity and blaming others. Instead, she appears to be simply trying to understand it all and to be understanding to all. She’s also providing interesting insight into how the Stroh brewery went down the drain, as well as how Detroit went down the drain. I wish I could give more stars to this book, because it is so highly readable and Frances Stroh is a good writer and a mature one, unlike so many other memoirists these days. Yet I can’t, because I was left feeling not much of anything after finishing it. Something, besides humor, was missing--spirit or soul or something. (Note: I received a free copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    An interesting perspective of an American institution that failed--but hardly a revelation. Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies are family enterprises, yet only about 13 percent survive to the third generation. It appears the Stroh's family business lasted far longer than most. The book's subtitle is: “A Memoir of Privilege and Loss”. The privilege is obvious but I can only hope that she's referring to the “loss” as being the personal damage that privilege and fortune can reek on unwary An interesting perspective of an American institution that failed--but hardly a revelation. Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 companies are family enterprises, yet only about 13 percent survive to the third generation. It appears the Stroh's family business lasted far longer than most. The book's subtitle is: “A Memoir of Privilege and Loss”. The privilege is obvious but I can only hope that she's referring to the “loss” as being the personal damage that privilege and fortune can reek on unwary families that don't participate in its acquisition. Sadly, she lost a brother to addiction but that seems to be a recurring theme in today's culture. She didn't inherit what she thought was her fair share of the fortune but then few can ever expect to even have such an opportunity. I guess I'm saying that I feel little real sympathy for her if she's expecting any. She came out of the gate far in front of most people and she still seems to be quite advantaged and probably entitled. No homelessness for her. It was intriguing to see the, “behind the scenes”, reasons she outlined for Stroh's demise. It was an excellent brew and I've missed it but I recently had an opportunity to sample an updated rectification of the original formula from 1850--brewed in Detroit. Very tasty. It could have a future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    On one hand this is an interesting look at what it was like to be rich and white in Detroit in the 80s, and it is well written and a perfectly serviceable memoir. On the other hand, this completely lacks any perspective or self awareness. So when she gets thrown out of private school, or her father remarries her peer, or she can't find the words to explain that she is an installation artist to her grandma, or that she is struggling to pay rent, it comes across as the worst kind of whiny and priv On one hand this is an interesting look at what it was like to be rich and white in Detroit in the 80s, and it is well written and a perfectly serviceable memoir. On the other hand, this completely lacks any perspective or self awareness. So when she gets thrown out of private school, or her father remarries her peer, or she can't find the words to explain that she is an installation artist to her grandma, or that she is struggling to pay rent, it comes across as the worst kind of whiny and privileged. And even worse, when a really truly terrible thing happens it was impossible to feel any sympathy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Judy Nelson

    Frances' story of family money and dysfunction is not uncommon, so it was not so surprising to read. However, her writing is strong and I think the book came together well. As others have said, it was an easy read. The review on Goodreads says that the photos in the book were hers, but most of them were taken by her father, and they are lovely. Frances' story of family money and dysfunction is not uncommon, so it was not so surprising to read. However, her writing is strong and I think the book came together well. As others have said, it was an easy read. The review on Goodreads says that the photos in the book were hers, but most of them were taken by her father, and they are lovely.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    (This is a review of the Audio Edition of "Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss" written by Frances Stroh and narrated by Erin Bennett. It is unabridged at 6 hours and 37 minutes long, and published by Blackstone Audio. I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for my honest review. Warning: a few spoilers!) It's hard to review an audio book that one experiences as simply "OK." It's much easier to find words to describe an exceptional read or a terrible groaner. However, in the (This is a review of the Audio Edition of "Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss" written by Frances Stroh and narrated by Erin Bennett. It is unabridged at 6 hours and 37 minutes long, and published by Blackstone Audio. I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for my honest review. Warning: a few spoilers!) It's hard to review an audio book that one experiences as simply "OK." It's much easier to find words to describe an exceptional read or a terrible groaner. However, in the spirit of honesty, that's my experience of Beer Money: neither phenomenal nor terrible, not good enough to mention to a friend, nor bad enough to regret the time spent listening. I would consider myself to be a "memoir-connoisseur" - I've listened to and read hundreds. It's not a rare occurrence to find myself sitting in the car, listening for "just a few more minutes", before switching off the ignition. That's a sign of a good book. Unfortunately that didn't happen once during Beer Money. The memoir recounts the fall of the Stroh Beer empire in Detroit, as experienced by the young daughter of Eric Stroh. The author parallels the tale of the downfall of her family alongside the downfall of Detroit. Her life was not a common one due to the vast wealth of her family, the dysfunction and addictions, and her ability to be a "artist" in London (at least until the money ran out). It's also the story of a father and daughter's relationship, which reminded me of an unrequited love story in a way. Despite being her father's obvious favorite, Frances still seemed to be chasing him, wanting more of his attention until the day of his death. This memoir feels like a requiem for him, or perhaps she used writing as a way to work out her daddy/daughter emotions. One pet peeve that I soon became aware of through listening to the audio (which might not seem as irritating in the text version): instead of using "he" or "my dad" or any other synonym, the author repeats the two words "my father" about 20 times per page... no exaggeration. It gets tedious to listen to. The timeline was also hard to follow. At first I thought my book reader was skipping chapters, that's how disjointed it can seem. But after going back to re-listen and make sure, it was not my book reader. 5 years will have passed between chapters, children born, marriages committed to and dissolved, international moves made, all with nary an explanation. Some books can pull this off quite well, but this was not one of those. This could well be an editorial issue and not the writing style, but whoever's fault it is, listening to the story feels a bit like playing a game of leap frog. To be fair, I did find a few chapters to be quite engaging, For example, her account of being an entitled brat enjoying the drug-addled boarding school culture was a fun section to listen to. Until she eventually gets herself kicked out, the last of all three of her siblings to earn that dubious honor, and winds up in -gasp!- public school! The passages about her brother Charlie were painful to hear, especially how he was stigmatized within his own family of origin, but Frances paints a vivid of picture of his addiction and mental illness. Despite these memorable moments, much of the memoir was lacking a "hook" that draws the reader in. It's not that the story of her life is un-relatable but rather I found the problem to be in the style of writing. Perhaps it's the use of the past tense along with sparse usage of action verbs.... I did appreciate the way the author left out the self-pity, and told her story honestly. There were some cringe-worthy moments in her family's history, and she uncovered those memories and laid them out for the reader to inspect- where another memoirist might have used a thicker filter. The audio version was performed decently by Erin Bennett. Ms. Bennett reads in somewhat of a monotone, which, while not exciting, lays a non-judgmental foundation for the author's words. When the listener hears a shocking description, it's read in the same tone as a description of a list of ingredients. This may sound very boring, but actually it allows the judgement/pity/emotions to come solely from the listener - a disquieting effect that works well in some parts of the book. In other parts of the book, I did find my mind wandering. This was not a book that I felt the need to listen to straight through. I put the book down several times as life intruded, and found I had no real desire to pick it back up. I was itching to get on to another book. Therefore, I cannot really recommend "Beer Money", unless the reader has a specific interest in the history of beer brewing dynasties in America, or Detroit City. It just didn't leave much of an impression either way. It was... OK.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gail Cooke

    A fascinating but sad American story Beer Money is inextricably linked with the deterioration of Detroit, a once great city, the Stroh Brewery Company, at one time the third largest beer maker in our country and holder of the largest private beer fortune, and the Strohs themselves, a dysfunctional family. Frances Stroh writes candidly and honestly in this moving memoir that readers will not soon forget. As a child Frances appeared to be her father’s darling, accompanying him to New York and Lon A fascinating but sad American story Beer Money is inextricably linked with the deterioration of Detroit, a once great city, the Stroh Brewery Company, at one time the third largest beer maker in our country and holder of the largest private beer fortune, and the Strohs themselves, a dysfunctional family. Frances Stroh writes candidly and honestly in this moving memoir that readers will not soon forget. As a child Frances appeared to be her father’s darling, accompanying him to New York and London where she was treated to visits to her favorite toy store and to watching her father spend incredible amounts of money on his collection - guitars, guns, cameras. While in truth her alcoholic father appeared to care more about his things than his four children - brothers Charlie, Bobby, Whitney and Frances. The family lived in the upscale community of Grosse Pointe, Michigan in a home bulging with valuables that they were forbidden to touch. Their world was one of wealth and power as the money kept rolling in although their mother, Gail, warned them it would not last and worried about their extravagant way of life. Father Eric continued to drink and spend while Gail bought clothes for Frances at a thrift shop in order to save. It was a losing battle. When Detroit and the automobile industry declined so did the Stroh family’s fortunes. While the children had been warned that the money would run out which imbued each of them with a fear of loss, they were ill prepared for the actuality and the personal tragedies that would follow. Already torn apart by disagreements over the family business and the use of whatever money they had left the family was further fractured by the parents divorce, Charlie’s drug addiction, and father’s remarriage to one of Frances’s classmates. While writing Beer Money was surely arduous for the author as she relived painful memories it is often difficult to read as we are presented with a sorrowful sometimes shocking picture of familial dysfunction. If only instead of great wealth there had been love.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Howard

    Full disclosure: I met Frances Stroh in a writing class back in 2001 and was subsequently in a writing critique group with her for about six years. I count myself lucky to know her as a friend and as a fellow writer. I read parts of "Beer Money" when she was just beginning the book. I could not be more dazzled by how the book has come together. We don't talk much about love and compassion as the key factors of a good book; we're far more comfortable talking about the writing style, the structure Full disclosure: I met Frances Stroh in a writing class back in 2001 and was subsequently in a writing critique group with her for about six years. I count myself lucky to know her as a friend and as a fellow writer. I read parts of "Beer Money" when she was just beginning the book. I could not be more dazzled by how the book has come together. We don't talk much about love and compassion as the key factors of a good book; we're far more comfortable talking about the writing style, the structure, the scenes. Beer Money is written in a forthright and immediate style; it is elegantly and artfully structured; it is alive with gripping scenes. But what makes all those ingredients matter is Frances's love and compassion for her father and her brothers--especially for her father. Her hard work to tell the truth in this memoir is driven, one feels while reading, by her wish that her father could see beyond the trap that being born in great wealth had laid for him--by her sympathies for his deep insecurities. I was very moved.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Interesting story. I grew up near by, so I enjoyed the references to familiar places, and some known only by name, because my family traveled in a different sphere. I liked the author's straight forward telling of her privileged life, and the insider's interpretation of the business problems at Stroh. Puzzled by Stroh's position that the company came apart because it stayed in Detroit--like Detroit is the villain that brought the family and it's business down? The blame is more appropriately plac Interesting story. I grew up near by, so I enjoyed the references to familiar places, and some known only by name, because my family traveled in a different sphere. I liked the author's straight forward telling of her privileged life, and the insider's interpretation of the business problems at Stroh. Puzzled by Stroh's position that the company came apart because it stayed in Detroit--like Detroit is the villain that brought the family and it's business down? The blame is more appropriately placed on too much easy money and too much idle time. Frances Stroh tells the tale of her dysfunctional family in a well written book that although a sad story, is a good read. Hope to see more from this author.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sullivan

    This was a brisk read, interesting. I didn't develop a great amount of sympathy for any of the characters but was never the less interested in the arc of their lives and the family company. Some broad generalizations throughout the book as well. This was a brisk read, interesting. I didn't develop a great amount of sympathy for any of the characters but was never the less interested in the arc of their lives and the family company. Some broad generalizations throughout the book as well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    On the whole I found the writing lovely, with a spare, well-wrought style that moved along at a satisfying clip, and the story compelling but frustrating -- I wanted to know so much more, and was left with so many unanswered questions. I don't know whether to call this a biography of the Stroh brewing family or an autobiography of Frances Stroh herself. When I was frustrated by the lack of history about the Stroh Brewery or the lack of detail about the business's failure, I would tell myself it' On the whole I found the writing lovely, with a spare, well-wrought style that moved along at a satisfying clip, and the story compelling but frustrating -- I wanted to know so much more, and was left with so many unanswered questions. I don't know whether to call this a biography of the Stroh brewing family or an autobiography of Frances Stroh herself. When I was frustrated by the lack of history about the Stroh Brewery or the lack of detail about the business's failure, I would tell myself it's really about her, because she devotes so many of the chapters to her own life at school or in London. Then when I was frustrated by how much she leaves out about her own story (her marriage, for example), I would tell myself it was really a story about the downfall of the Stroh family & its business. Beer Money is presented as a series of scenes or vignettes, and while I can appreciate that as a stylistic choice, it leaves huge gaps in the story that are never really fleshed out. As a reader I felt constantly held at arm's length while Stroh was holding the rest of the story close to the chest.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Clifford

    Very interesting history of the Stroh brewing family. Stroh's had a 150 year brewing history in Detroit. The family was one of the richest in America. This is the story of Frances Stroh - and how she grew up in privilege in a dysfunctional family. The father Eric Stroh was the marketing chief for Stroh's but really aspired to be a photographer. He spent extensively on art and collectibles. The mother was distant and somewhat frugal. During the 1980's Stroh's went on an expansion briefly becoming Very interesting history of the Stroh brewing family. Stroh's had a 150 year brewing history in Detroit. The family was one of the richest in America. This is the story of Frances Stroh - and how she grew up in privilege in a dysfunctional family. The father Eric Stroh was the marketing chief for Stroh's but really aspired to be a photographer. He spent extensively on art and collectibles. The mother was distant and somewhat frugal. During the 1980's Stroh's went on an expansion briefly becoming the 3rd largest brewer. However, they over expanded (and were heavily indebted) just as recessions and craft beers came on the scene. The began to lose market share and after years of decline were sold off. The family went quickly from being one of the richest to a broken family. It is a story of surviving as Frances found her way ultimately as an artist and writer. If you like Detroit and families, this book is for you!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Judith Colson

    True Title This is a well-written book that goes in one direction- down. The lessons that are pointed out, never seen to be learned. The main characters seem to always be very shallow.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia Scheeres

    A beautiful, tragic tale of epic proportions. It's not about money, it's not about beer, it's about a family disintegrating and a young artist being born. Haunting and brave. A beautiful, tragic tale of epic proportions. It's not about money, it's not about beer, it's about a family disintegrating and a young artist being born. Haunting and brave.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lindabglicloud.Com

    Yup, your life is really not that interesting.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Miller

    I don't think I'm in the right headspace for a poor little rich girl book. It just makes me think about how if someone gave me some actual money, I'm sure I could do better with it. I don't think I'm in the right headspace for a poor little rich girl book. It just makes me think about how if someone gave me some actual money, I'm sure I could do better with it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kricket

    The word "myopic" kept popping into my head while I read this. For someone who received a Fulbright, Frances Stroh seems remarkably uncurious about the world around her. While her childhood did seem difficult, it was hard to dredge up much sympathy for her when, for example, she was kicked out of boarding school for breaking the same rules her friends got away with because they were legacy students. "The fact that life was intrinsically unfair lodged itself at the center of my chest," (94) she s The word "myopic" kept popping into my head while I read this. For someone who received a Fulbright, Frances Stroh seems remarkably uncurious about the world around her. While her childhood did seem difficult, it was hard to dredge up much sympathy for her when, for example, she was kicked out of boarding school for breaking the same rules her friends got away with because they were legacy students. "The fact that life was intrinsically unfair lodged itself at the center of my chest," (94) she says- and I am sure that's how she felt when she was a teenager- but since she is writing as an adult, I expected some...perspective? Being a scapegoat of kinds is a recurring theme: Stroh's ads are attacked by feminists, her art career falters in England because she is American, etc. Towards the end, she does show a little critical thinking when her family, after years of terrible business decisions, blames the UAW for the downfall of their company and she's like "oh but maybe it was the years of terrible business decisions though?" That said, I did find this book compulsively readable (even if part of my enjoyment came from nitpicking and getting annoyed with her when she does things like describe David Byrne's face as "autistic" in Talking Heads video. Really? You couldn't think of an adjective that would actually describe his face? There I go again.) I enjoy learning about what Detroit was like over the years (although her summarization of Detroit's downfall in two paragraphs seems, again, myopic) and her love for her father and brother Charlie, in spite of all their problems, was genuine and touching. I was glad when she sorted her own finances out and built a reasonably happy family life. But I'm not sure I'd be interested in more by her.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Luizzi

    The decay and collapse of the family and its Stroh’s beer empire is framed as a metaphor for Detroit and Industrial America. Not sure if it really gets there. Reading it was, somewhat voyeuristic, like watching a train wreck, but it is nearly impossible to sympathize for this privileged group “spoiled children”.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I would have given this 2.5 starts. What a horrible person. While it was interesting reading about the Stroh era, I got tired of her selfish whining. I enjoyed the Detroit history and reading about places in my town, but she isn’t a writer. She was mean spirited with her naming names and she really doesn’t get her privilege, as far as I can tell. I got this for free. Glad I didn’t pay for it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim Breslin

    Mildly interesting memoir about how one faction of the Stroh family watched their fortunes dissolve. Frances Stroh's father worked at the family brewery, which over the course of five generations had grown tremendously, providing the extended family with valuable dividends. Unfortunately, the family run business faltered after a series of poor business decisions such as purchasing smaller breweries and failing to see the rise of the light beer in the eighties. The memoir focuses on the relations Mildly interesting memoir about how one faction of the Stroh family watched their fortunes dissolve. Frances Stroh's father worked at the family brewery, which over the course of five generations had grown tremendously, providing the extended family with valuable dividends. Unfortunately, the family run business faltered after a series of poor business decisions such as purchasing smaller breweries and failing to see the rise of the light beer in the eighties. The memoir focuses on the relationships Frances had with her father and brothers. While people in the Detroit area saw the Stroh family as privileged and respectable, this memoir gives a glimpse of the turmoil within. I would have liked to have learned more about the business side of the brewery, but this memoir was once removed from the board room.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Vick

    More like a 2.5 stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I mostly wanted to read this book to find out about the demise of Stroh's beer. Previously, I read about the Gallo brothers, the Mondavi brothers, the Coors family, and the rise and fall of the Busch family, and greatly enjoyed them. Not so much info about Strohs beer {although some]. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this read. As noted by many, the writing and editing are terrific. I did enjoy her struggle to break away from her dysfunctional family and make a life of her own as all of us must do. Stroh I mostly wanted to read this book to find out about the demise of Stroh's beer. Previously, I read about the Gallo brothers, the Mondavi brothers, the Coors family, and the rise and fall of the Busch family, and greatly enjoyed them. Not so much info about Strohs beer {although some]. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this read. As noted by many, the writing and editing are terrific. I did enjoy her struggle to break away from her dysfunctional family and make a life of her own as all of us must do. Stroh is very tough on her parents, both are portrayed in an unflattering light. She chose the details, so it is deliberate on her part, not just reporting the facts. But whose parents make mistakes with the raising of their children? flag 1 like · Like  · see review Jan 05, 2018 Megan Cashen rated it it was ok Shelves: book-club This book would have been better if every fifth word wasn't "Grosse Pointe," the wealthy Detroit suburb the author grew up in. I can understand that growing up with privilege, especially fading privilege, can be hard, but the author managed to be so self centered and self pitying that you feel no sympathy for her or her family. This book would have been better if every fifth word wasn't "Grosse Pointe," the wealthy Detroit suburb the author grew up in. I can understand that growing up with privilege, especially fading privilege, can be hard, but the author managed to be so self centered and self pitying that you feel no sympathy for her or her family. flag 1 like · Like  · see review May 26, 2016 Christina Dudley rated it really liked it A fast, sad, interesting memoir of a rich family's rather speedy decline. Good reason to make your kids get summer jobs and learn how to earn a living. The parallel decline of Detroit provides a fitting backdrop. A fast, sad, interesting memoir of a rich family's rather speedy decline. Good reason to make your kids get summer jobs and learn how to earn a living. The parallel decline of Detroit provides a fitting backdrop. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Jun 14, 2016 Joyce rated it it was ok Classic tale of the family business being frittered away by overly self-indulgent family with zero management skills and no feel for the market. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Feb 03, 2019 Lilvandeleur rated it really liked it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok I had to revisit this review because of something that stuck with me over the last few days since I finished it and ( spoilers) but That encounter with the Lehman brothers partner who seemed to have been invited to her art show with the sole purpose of recruiting her to work at his investment bank. She had no financial background, just a nice appearance, and connections. So he sought her out to recruit her thanks to a tip off from a friend. The next time you meet someone who thinks they are a Ok I had to revisit this review because of something that stuck with me over the last few days since I finished it and ( spoilers) but That encounter with the Lehman brothers partner who seemed to have been invited to her art show with the sole purpose of recruiting her to work at his investment bank. She had no financial background, just a nice appearance, and connections. So he sought her out to recruit her thanks to a tip off from a friend. The next time you meet someone who thinks they are awesome bc they work in i-banking remember that scene! This is how our banking system is so rigged. No way 1/2 of these people moving our money around have the credentials or intelligence to do it/ they are recruited for their connections only! To Francis’ credit she turns him down. And includes the anecdote that most of us missed but omg! How many people with much better experience and expertise would kill for that job?! And it is just handed to her- presented to her? Wow. Anyway. Francis is entitled and her story is not really that interesting but it is well written and I can relate to it personally which is why I liked it. I grew up in The North Shore of Chicago, and my family goes a few generations back so I can kind of see the old Midwest cities in their glory way before they faded in the last 50 years. More than one reviewer scoffed at it but I think they missed the point that in the early part of the 20th century these industrial Midwest cities really were the heart of wealth in the US. Hard to imagine but very true. Most of the wealthy families lit out for the west coast and the sunbelt and spent the next 50 or so years doing everything they could to denigrate this region. And for the most part theve been pretty successful. My mom summered in Michigan her whole childhood. and my grandmother was from Grosse Pointe so I loved hearing about the golden years living in Detroit in the 40s and 50s- it was really a wonderful place to live then/ the Silicon Valley of it’s era. I thought her memoir was very honest and heartfelt. As a kid my own mom constantly complained that her parents would t let her charge up her account at the country club, and how embarrassing that was. For the brief amount of time we belonged to the club we could order anything we wanted until surprise surprise we could no longer afford it! I don’t let my kids eat at the local country club that much either and I’m sure they will complain like Francis and my mom did but my grandparents still belong to their club! I laughed through that part. The cheapness of country club members. It’s real.The family did make mistakes in running Strohs but not the kind that you would think would lead to disaster, more of a series of small missteps that added up. . Her writing was honest and very authentic, and I appreciated her story. I felt for her getting kicked out of boarding school as it was obvious she wasn’t even close to the worst kid there- a donation or some groveling on her parents part would’ve preserved her place but her parents were not particularly supportive. Having been given everything they were exceptionally distant and felt little or no compunction to truly help out their kids. Her father was absolutely awful- I think he was one of the most monstprous characters I’ve read about in a long time. She treated him gingerly but he made my blood boil. Perfect example of someone who had been given so much he really felt justified in withholding any love or support from nearly anyone around him- save the comically slovenly piece of trash he ended his days with. flag Like  · see review Jul 17, 2017 V. Goethals rated it really liked it Certainly not a happy story, but pretty riveting and probably more so because it happened so very close both in proximity and along the same timeline as my own adulthood was coming about. Written by the daughter of the fifth generation of Stroh family members, this story takes place when Detroit was struggling under Mayor Coleman Young, Stroh's the family owned brewer in Detroit was going through some major changes in ownership, and during my early adult years. I was well aware of the difficult Certainly not a happy story, but pretty riveting and probably more so because it happened so very close both in proximity and along the same timeline as my own adulthood was coming about. Written by the daughter of the fifth generation of Stroh family members, this story takes place when Detroit was struggling under Mayor Coleman Young, Stroh's the family owned brewer in Detroit was going through some major changes in ownership, and during my early adult years. I was well aware of the difficulties our major large city was suffering from, the abandoned neighborhoods, crime and the fears of going into the bad areas of Detroit, auto industry woes, the building of the Stroh Place property, the legacy of corruption from the leadership of Coleman Young, and the hopeful entry of Kwame Kilpatrick which had it's own ultimate corruption.Frances Stroh led a life of privelege, and gave a glimpse into her family life in Grosse Pointe while the family business was going through some difficult financial times. The Stroh generations had become used to having money, using family members to manage their business which grew larger, supported more and earned less as the years caught up with the poor decisions and unfortunate economic times. Hard to imagine that kind of wealth, but it sure helps me to understand that money cannot and will not take care of everything. The book narrates the lives of this family that had to deal with their large family business along with alcoholism, foolish spending to keep up appearances (or to be used to cope with guilt, show love and try to find that elusive happiness), anger issues, denial, lack of communication, drug addiction, divorces and more. Sometimes I found it frustrating that Detroit was the place the Stroh family blamed for it's misfortunes. Bad decisions, poor investments and too many families counting on the profits were as much to blame, but there is always a tone that Detroit was that dead end place that caused so much of their troubles. The contrast between the decayed inner city and the beautiful neighborhoods of the Grosse Pointes is constantly in view. In the end you can only feel sad that a family legacy dies and was taken apart as it was sold off, cheaply. The lives that were ruined, and the ones that escaped and found a way to achieve a more stable and happy life are all here. Fascinating and even more intriguing because the Stroh's beer brand is still around and actually making a noticeable comeback around here. flag Like  · see review May 29, 2017 Cynthia Harrison rated it it was amazing I'm from Detroit, have toured the Stroh factory (before it fell) and knew a guy who worked at their waterfront development with offices, apartments and a hotel. He said there was free beer all day and nobody cared how much you imbibed. He worked in IT so perhaps a hint of losses to come...Ah, those were the good old days but Detroit and the Stroh family fortunes have changed. I read this page turner of a book in one night -- the Stroh non-heiress who wrote it knows her way around words. The tale I'm from Detroit, have toured the Stroh factory (before it fell) and knew a guy who worked at their waterfront development with offices, apartments and a hotel. He said there was free beer all day and nobody cared how much you imbibed. He worked in IT so perhaps a hint of losses to come...Ah, those were the good old days but Detroit and the Stroh family fortunes have changed. I read this page turner of a book in one night -- the Stroh non-heiress who wrote it knows her way around words. The tale of her life living in big $$$ Grosse Pointe , having a trust fund, then in mid-life losing it is paralleled cleverly with Detroit's heyday and slow fall to ruin. (Stroh' beer started in Fetroit in 1850). As someone who didn't have any of the opportunity (prep school, top college, etc) she had I noticed her feeling of entitlement, marveled at her whining about not having as many millions as her friends (most kids got cheeseburgers at the country club after swimming, she had to settle for PBJ) and felt more than a twinge of envy that despite her "deprivation" she was able to pursue art without ever really having a job. At least not one she mentioned. Yep Daddy was a drunk and married a classmate of hers, and there was that brother with endless trouble with drugs (let's just skip over Mom and those PBJs). I felt like she wanted sympathy for those hardships but I didn't. Although she told a good story, my final feeling was she never knew how lucky a life she led (and that goes right up to her publishing luck). Okay maybe sour grapes but check it out and see if you don't want to shake her shoulders and say "wake up!" flag Like  · see review « previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 next »

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...