Don't Call Me Home: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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“Alexandra Auder’s Don’t Call Me Home is thrumming with life, in all its absurdity, vividness, and gunk. I literally laughed and cried, and cheered hard throughout for our intrepid narrator, who has gifted us an incomparable tale.”--Maggie Nelson author of The Argonauts and On Freedom
A moving and wickedly funny memoir about one woman’s life as the daughter of a Warhol superstar and the intimate bonds of mother-daughter relationships
Alexandra Auder’s life began at the Chelsea Hotel—New York City’s infamous bohemian hangout—when her mother, Viva, a longtime resident of the hotel and one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, went into labor in the lobby. These first moments of Alexandra’s life, documented by her filmmaker father, Michel Auder, portended the whirlwind childhood and teen years that she would go on to have.
At the center of it all is Viva: a glamorous, larger-than-life woman with mercurial moods, who brings Alexandra with her on the road from gig to gig, splitting time between a home in Connecticut and Alexandra’s father’s loft in 1980s Tribeca, then moving back again to the Chelsea Hotel and spending summers with Viva’s upper-middle-class, conservative, hyperpatriarchal family of origin.
In Don’t Call Me Home, Alexandra meditates on the seedy glory of being raised by two counterculture icons, from walking a pet goat around Chelsea and joining the Squat Theatre company to coparenting her younger sister, Gaby, with her mother and partying in East Village nightclubs. Flitting between this world and her present-day life as a yoga instructor, actress, mother, wife, and much-loved Instagram provocateur, Alexandra weaves a stunning, moving, and hilarious portrait of a family and what it means to move away from being your mother’s daughter into being a person of your own.
She resides in Philadelphia with her two children and husband, filmmaker Nick Nehez, with whom she co-produces and collaborates.
“Don’t Call Me Home is fully cooked, wicked in its humor and often heartbreaking.”— The New York Times
“Gutsy…impossible-to-put-down…[Auder’s] childhood memories sparkle.”--Associated Press
"Don’t Call Me Home is an ode to hard-won resilience, life in the margins, and a fraught, entangled, but deeply loving relationship between a mother and daughter.” -- Vulture
“[Auder’s] ability to hear her own voice through the noise of Viva’s is the key to this book’s charm and success…Don’t Call Me Home is very funny. Auder has the sense of humor of a person who became an adult as soon as they were born. In other words, she is a natural writer. And her honesty in not knowing the solution to a problem like Viva is comforting in its familiarity.” --The Washington Post
“Don’t Call Me Home is a love letter to an era of New York City that has since passed; but more importantly, it is a story of the messy and imperfect yet loving missteps that bond a mother and daughter over a lifetime.”—Vogue
“Don’t Call Me Home is about madness and love. Alexandra tells the best stories about her extraordinary childhood as she travels the world with her mother Viva. Wit and wisdom wrapped and bound with love.”
“Alexandra Auder’s Don’t Call Me Home is thrumming with life, in all its absurdity, vividness, and gunk. I literally laughed and cried, and cheered hard throughout for our intrepid narrator, who has gifted us an incomparable tale - one notable for its singular portrait of a place, sensibility, and time, and for its unruly contributions to the timeless problem of how we become ourselves, survive, and thrive.”
--Maggie Nelson author of The Argonauts and On Freedom
"I think this book is hearty and breathtaking. Life is a pure risk in this telling of growing up in an avant garde family. Alex Auder is the most natural organic page turner of a writer – because her visual memory feels flawless and as a kid she was already everywhere and the opportunities for experience endless and psychedelic and yet she was completely awake in it and grows up not sad. Kind of thrilled, in fact, and that’s the hearty and breathtaking part."
--Eileen Myles, poet and author of Chelsea Girls
“In Don’t Call Me Home, Auder renders her unique mother-daughter relationship with feeling, clarity, humor, and honesty. Through her adventures in the city and her unusual family, Auder also gives us a fascinating and vivid cultural history of New York in the 1970s and 1980s. Don’t Call Me Home is lively, wise, moving, and wonderful reading.
—Lynne Tillman, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare
"Gut-wrenching and gut-busting in equal measure, Don’t Call Me Home is a moving and hilarious memoir that portrays fascinating, unique people caught in circumstances and dynamics many of us might recognize. As Alexandra Auder demonstrates, you can’t pick your parents, but maybe after a lot of struggle you can choose to come to terms with who they were, what they passed onto you, and what else you might need to become."
—Sam Lipsyte, Author of No One Left to Come Looking for You
"There is much to envy in Alexandra Auder's wonderful, complicated, and vivid memoir, including the bohemianism that made her. In our increasingly corporatized world, Auder's portrait of her large extended family, primarily of her mother, the legendary performer and artist, Viva, makes one long for those days when art making wasn't so much about a career, as an aspect of self-expression. And joy. A book to be treasured."
—Hilton Als, author of The Women and My Pinup
"Vibrant.... Auder's vivid writing illuminates a deep and sparkling trove of storytelling riches.... Auder makes the most of her magnificent mess of material, celebrating her bohemian upbringing and her crazy mother in style."
—Kirkus, starred review
“Enthralling…Funny, bracing, and compulsively readable, Auder’s memoir resists juicy gossip in favor of hard-won truths. This story of fraught but unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters is a gem.”
“As the daughter of one of Andy Warhol's superstars, Alexandra Auder was born into a life of art, excitement, and exceedingly blurred boundaries. Here, she tells the incredible story of what it was like to grow up surrounded by some of the 20th century's most creative minds, and how a world that spawned a legendary moment in culture wasn't exactly designed to be child-friendly.” -Town and Country
“This memoir of [Alexandra’s] roller-coaster childhood, growing up at the Chelsea Hotel, making the scene as a teen in ’80s Manhattan, regularly visiting her mother’s wealthy, bickering family, is the best kind of train wreck.”
“Auder’s frustration comes through loud and clear, but so does a deep and abiding love, and she manages to reflect on her chaotic and unconventional upbringing with a refreshing lack of prejudice and judgment. In many ways, it seems, her mother raised her right.”
“In this sparkling debut, a grown-up Auder tells those million stories with delicious prose, sharp satirical humor, and cheeky whimsy. A seasoned raconteur, she has a way of plopping us into her life with a clear voice that relays the complex and sometimes heartbreaking travails of sharing a claustrophobic apartment within the walls of New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel with a much younger sister and a single, struggling-artist mother in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s a casually hilarious, decidedly feminist recounting of a family of women told with an unflinching eye” --Shondaland
“Don't Call Me Home reads acutely; Auder's descriptive account is visceral and not withholding. However, it is not a simple indictment of negligent parents or an airing of dirty laundry. Auder holds space for her mother as a woman in an era freshly one generation removed from women's traditional roles. The memoir is reflective, looking back at certain life events from the perspective of the girl who lived it, and has grown up to become a working mother and wife herself.” --New York Journal of Books