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If You Knew Then What I Know Now

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If You Knew Then What I Know Now Cover

ISBN13: 9781932511949
ISBN10: 1932511946
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

New York Magazine's The Year in Books pick

The Millions' A Year in Reading pick

Salon.com's Writers Choose Their Favorite Books

The middle American coming-of-age has found new life in Ryan Van Meter's coming-out, made as strange as it is familiar by acknowledging the role played by gender and sexuality. In fourteen linked essays, If You Knew Then What I Know Now reinvents the memoir with all-encompassing empathy—for bully and bullied alike. A father pitches baseballs at his hapless son and a grandmother watches with silent forbearance as the same slim, quiet boy sets the table dressed in a blue satin dress. Another essay explores origins of the word "faggot" and its etymological connection to "flaming queen." This deft collection maps the unremarkable landscapes of childhood with compassion and precision, allowing awkwardness its own beauty. This is essay as an argument for the intimate—not the sensational—and an embrace of all the skinned knees in our stumble toward adulthood.

Ryan Van Meter grew up in Missouri and studied English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduating, he lived in Chicago for ten years and worked in advertising. He holds an MA in creative writing from DePaul University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. His essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Arts and Letters, and Fourth Genre, among others, and selected for anthologies including Best American Essays 2009. In the summer of 2009, he was awarded a residency at the MacDowell Colony. He currently lives in California where he is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at the University of San Francisco.

Review:

"In this moving debut, a collection of 14 linked essays, Van Meter charts the repercussions of growing up in Missouri with a secret. He delicately charts episodes from his youth, such as baseball practice with his increasingly frustrated father, who couldn't hide his disappointment in his son's disinterest in sports, despite the promise of a new TV. 'Every time, I'm the small kid who slouches at the quiet corners of the action, stands still and tries not to be noticed.' A season of practice culminating in a painful injury allows a new perspective to emerge: 'This summer, we've been trying to be certain kinds of men we probably weren't ever meant to be.' Van Meter recalls, with sensitivity, finally coming out of the closet and the strain it put on his relationship with his best college friend. 'Before finally speaking those words, I had known I was gay but wasn't ready to admit it...before that, for almost all of my teenage years, I thought I might be gay and was afraid so I prayed every night for it to be taken away. And before that, I didn't know I was gay, but I knew I was different, and I didn't want to be that either.' Thanks to Van Meter's honesty, essays on his own childhood, identity, and love have a profoundly universal appeal. (Apr. 1)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Coming-of-age is complicated by coming-out in personal essays leavened with humor, generosity, and all the awkward indignities of growing up.

About the Author

Ryan Van Meter grew up in Missouri and studied English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduating, he lived in Chicago for ten years and worked in advertising. He holds an MA in creative writing from DePaul University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from The University of Iowa. His essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Arts and Letters, and Fourth Genre, among others, and selected for anthologies including Best American Essays 2009. In the summer of 2009, he was awarded a residency at the MacDowell Colony. He currently lives in California where he is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at The University of San Francisco.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

gerereryon, October 25, 2014 (view all comments by gerereryon)
Fantastic.
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smeppan, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by smeppan)
Wonderful
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GlassMinajerie, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by GlassMinajerie)
Moving, honest, thoughtful, lyrical. I read it in one sitting.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781932511949
Author:
Van Meter, Ryan
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Author:
Ryan Van Meter
Subject:
Gay men -- United States.
Subject:
Authors, American - 21st century
Subject:
General
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Essays
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20110431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Featured Titles » General
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
Gay and Lesbian » History and Social Science » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Gay Studies

If You Knew Then What I Know Now New Trade Paper
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$15.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Sarabande Books - English 9781932511949 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this moving debut, a collection of 14 linked essays, Van Meter charts the repercussions of growing up in Missouri with a secret. He delicately charts episodes from his youth, such as baseball practice with his increasingly frustrated father, who couldn't hide his disappointment in his son's disinterest in sports, despite the promise of a new TV. 'Every time, I'm the small kid who slouches at the quiet corners of the action, stands still and tries not to be noticed.' A season of practice culminating in a painful injury allows a new perspective to emerge: 'This summer, we've been trying to be certain kinds of men we probably weren't ever meant to be.' Van Meter recalls, with sensitivity, finally coming out of the closet and the strain it put on his relationship with his best college friend. 'Before finally speaking those words, I had known I was gay but wasn't ready to admit it...before that, for almost all of my teenage years, I thought I might be gay and was afraid so I prayed every night for it to be taken away. And before that, I didn't know I was gay, but I knew I was different, and I didn't want to be that either.' Thanks to Van Meter's honesty, essays on his own childhood, identity, and love have a profoundly universal appeal. (Apr. 1)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Coming-of-age is complicated by coming-out in personal essays leavened with humor, generosity, and all the awkward indignities of growing up.
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