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.
The past isn’t past, of course, and Auder does good work of describing the world from a child’s point of view ... In addition to the moving portrayal of a sisterly bond, Don’t Call Me Home is also a portrait of New York City in the ′70s and ′80s ... Part of the book’s appeal is Auder’s ability to simultaneously worship Viva while she fantasizes about wringing her neck, making this book relatable to anyone, even for those without Warhol superstars for parents ... Not to say this is a sad book. 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.
It takes guts and a sense of humor to kick off your debut memoir with an insult from Andy Warhol ... Captivating ... In the acknowledgments, Auder, an actor and yoga instructor, says she has been writing versions of this story for over 25 years. You can tell. Her childhood memories sparkle.
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.