Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself

January 9, 2014
BY Pamela Steinik

011014_mishmash_bookby Eileen Rockefeller
Blue Rider Press 2013, 336 pages

Eileen Rockefeller comes from a large, influential family. As part of American royalty, you would expect Eileen to be spoiled. Surprisingly however, Eileen was grounded. Nevertheless, her family’s inability to express emotions and her mother’s dark moods, as well as rivalry and competition as the youngest of six, hampered her emotional maturity.

Rather than one continuous life story, this book is a series of anecdotes about her life — from her childhood with her parents to her days at boarding school to her life as an adult with her twochildren. It was interesting to read how Eileen naturally became a leader both in school and beyond. Even though she could have relied on her trust fund, her goal was always to make a difference. Even at a young age, Eileen went to help women in Africa and aspired to clean up the Hudson River; she convinced her influential uncles to help her.

Parts of the book were emotional, such as when Eileen talked about her mother and how her mother would rarely give her praise. Some parts were fun, such as when Eileen mentioned how she and her siblings, as adults, would put on the play “Oklahoma.” Some were sad. And parts were inspiring, such as reading how Eileen was influential in an emotional intelligence program that was taught in schools, and how she founded the Institute for Advancement of Mind and Health.

I wanted to like this book but felt it was tough to get through; the stories were out of order,
and there was no central focus. It was too many different stories trying to be one.

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