The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Blake Bailey

Narrated By: Jim Meskimen

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: March 2014

Duration: 8 hours 11 minutes


The renowned biographer’s unforgettable portrait of a family in ruins—his own

Meet the Baileys: Burck, a prosperous lawyer once voted the American Legion’s “Citizen of the Year” in his tiny hometown of Vinita, Oklahoma; his wife Marlies, who longs to recapture her festive life in Greenwich Village as a pretty young German immigrant, fresh off the boat; their addled son Scott, who repeatedly crashes the family Porsche; and Blake, the younger son, trying to find a way through the storm. “You’re gonna be just like me,” a drunken Scott taunts him. “You’re gonna be worse.”

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey has been hailed as “addictively readable” (New York Times) and praised for his ability to capture lives “compellingly and in harrowing detail” (Time). The Splendid Things We Planned is his darkly funny account of growing up in the shadow of an erratic and increasingly dangerous brother, an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing story that culminates in one unforgettable Christmas.

“This fine and haunting memoir touches the spot where family, responsibility, and helplessness converge. It’s not a pretty place, but boy has Blake Bailey made it memorable. The Splendid Things We Planned is as forceful and revealing as any of the author’s excellent biographies, and that’s really saying something.”—David Sedaris


  • Julie Ciaccia

    I just finished this book and was so surprised to hear that it wasn't the author himself doing the reading. The family members are so well expressed. This is a painful story that is not so uncommonly told but rarely heard from the sibling perspective. It is particularly moving if you care to look up what the author goes on to accomplish in his career.

Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait

by Blake Bailey

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Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait, Blake Bailey