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The Boys of My Youth

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The Boys of My Youth Cover

ISBN13: 9780316085250
ISBN10: 0316085251
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Existing somewhere between a memoir and an essay collection, The Boys of My Youth lives in a genre all its own. It is so addicting, and if you didn't know it was nonfiction, you'd assume it was a book of short stories. The best book I've read in years.
Recommended by Joshua A., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jo Ann Beard grew up amid a tightly knit clan of mothers, aunts, sisters, and girlfriends. Her steadfast family and its culture of women somehow made the prospect of dangerous neighborhood boys, friendly barflies, and potential romance all the more irresistible. But in these wonderfully engaging memory pieces, the boys of Beard's youth — and the men who eventually replace them — are elusive characters. Beloved boy dolls disintegrate, grade school crushes dissipate, and husbands disappear. The relationships that endure are the ones between women. Childhood dramas are balanced by actual tragedies and adult betrayals, and Beard captures the collision of youthful longing and the hard intransigences of time and fate like no other writer. In the title story, two old friends, stumbling away from ruined marriages, remember the darkest moments of abandonment, but also the thrilling momentum of a car doing ninety and the strange allure of teenage basketball players. In the end, they realize that in matters of the heart, nothing much, yet somehow everything, has changed.

Review:

"Reading Jo Ann Beard's prose feels as comfortable as falling into step beside an old, intimate friend. She's the sort of writer whose charm lies in the voice...with which she relates the events of a mostly ordinary life.... Beard remembers (or imagines) her childhood self with an uncanny lucidity that startles." Laura Miller, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Beard is companionable, casual, serious about the things that matter without ever being self-serious, sharp without being cruel, compassionate without going soft. She accomplishes something with the personal essay that's similar to what Lee Smith or Jill McCorkle do in their fiction. Reading The Boys of My Youth is like going to a party or a barbecue where you hardly know a soul and winding up spending the entire time having a great conversation with someone you just met." Charles Taylor, Salon

Review:

"These one-dimensional autobiographical fragments of girlhood, young adulthood, and a crumbling marriage are exercises in mere recollection, mostly lacking the narrative drive to make them worthwhile." Kirkus

Synopsis:

Rarely does the debut of a new writer garner such attention and acclaim. The excitement began the moment "The Fourth State of Matter," one of the fourteen extraordinary personal narratives in this book, appeared in the pages of the New Yorker. It increased when the author received a prestigious Whiting Foundation Award in November 1997, and it continued as the hardcover edition of The Boys of My Youth sold out its first printing even before publication. The author writes with perfect pitch as she takes us through one woman's life - from childhood to marriage and beyond - and memorably captures the collision of youthful longing and the hard intransigences of time and fate.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Sorry Gnat, October 10, 2006 (view all comments by Sorry Gnat)
Where is Jo Ann Beard? I fell into verbal enchantment upon reading the preface to The Boys of My Youth, her pre-verbal memories, little, a boy doll named Hal with blue eyes and lickable hands and feet made of vinyl," lovable to her more than humans and the adventures that followed; a must and whimsied read causing a lot of chortles; great writing! I have been waiting for her next book!
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(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316085250
Author:
Beard, Jo Ann
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Authors
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Beard, Jo Ann
Subject:
Biography-Women
Subject:
Women Authors
Subject:
Childhood; Family relationships
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Back Bay Pbk
Publication Date:
19990129
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25x5.46x.61 in. .45 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Biography » Women
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The Boys of My Youth Used Trade Paper
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316085250 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Existing somewhere between a memoir and an essay collection, The Boys of My Youth lives in a genre all its own. It is so addicting, and if you didn't know it was nonfiction, you'd assume it was a book of short stories. The best book I've read in years.

"Review" by , "Reading Jo Ann Beard's prose feels as comfortable as falling into step beside an old, intimate friend. She's the sort of writer whose charm lies in the voice...with which she relates the events of a mostly ordinary life.... Beard remembers (or imagines) her childhood self with an uncanny lucidity that startles."
"Review" by , "Beard is companionable, casual, serious about the things that matter without ever being self-serious, sharp without being cruel, compassionate without going soft. She accomplishes something with the personal essay that's similar to what Lee Smith or Jill McCorkle do in their fiction. Reading The Boys of My Youth is like going to a party or a barbecue where you hardly know a soul and winding up spending the entire time having a great conversation with someone you just met."
"Review" by , "These one-dimensional autobiographical fragments of girlhood, young adulthood, and a crumbling marriage are exercises in mere recollection, mostly lacking the narrative drive to make them worthwhile."
"Synopsis" by , Rarely does the debut of a new writer garner such attention and acclaim. The excitement began the moment "The Fourth State of Matter," one of the fourteen extraordinary personal narratives in this book, appeared in the pages of the New Yorker. It increased when the author received a prestigious Whiting Foundation Award in November 1997, and it continued as the hardcover edition of The Boys of My Youth sold out its first printing even before publication. The author writes with perfect pitch as she takes us through one woman's life - from childhood to marriage and beyond - and memorably captures the collision of youthful longing and the hard intransigences of time and fate.
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