Now It’s the Mother’s Turn

By Carmen Comment

Sean Wilsey‘s 2005 memoir OH, THE GLORY OF IT ALL caused a stir within SF society for its warts-and-all description of the city’s movers and shakers – most of which were contained within his own family. Now his mother, Pat Montadon, has released her own memoir with the copycat title OH, THE HELL OF IT ALL. Not the original title, as the LA Times’ Robin Abcarian finds out. Montadon, who spend over a decade writing the book, originally called the book WHISPERS FROM GOD. But then her recollections landed with Judith Regan, who came up with the idea to steal borrow the cover concept and title from Wilsey’s book.

Montandon didn’t even know that HarperCollins (parent company of the Regan imprint) had changed her title until Wilsey called her with the news. “At first, Sean didn’t like it,” said Montandon. “He said, ‘Mom, they’ve ripped off my title!’ And I said, ‘Yes, they have Sean, and there’s nothing I can do about it.’ Then he became very accepting and said, ‘Well, it’s a good marketing ploy.’ ” But OH, THE HELL OF IT ALL, which details Montadon’s life, her marriage and divorce to Al Wilsey and her peace-promoting trips, is not a response to Wilsey’s account since Montandon had already written her memoir before her son wrote his. She allowed him to use her manuscript in the course of his research, and he quotes passages from her book in his. She did, however, make revisions after his book came out.

Wilsey, meanwhile, thinks his mother’s life is an apt topic for the big screen. “My total dream for my mom is that a really good documentary filmmaker will want to do her story and use all her material, some of which is mind-blowing, especially her meetings with world leaders,” said Wilsey. He even has a suggestion for a director. “Have you ever seen ‘Grizzly Man’? Werner Herzog would totally kick ass.”