H Greeley, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by H Greeley)
This was by far the most memorable book of 2012 for me. It had me wondering whether it was truly a memoir or possibly fiction. To migrate from the author's experiences to a place where one would have either the inclination or ability to tell such a story is a remarkable evolution and achievement. Knowing the geography where the book takes place added additional color for me, but the author also brought forward a broader sense of directionless that permeated growing up in the 1970s in a way that was new to me but felt very real.
Jill Kinkade, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Jill Kinkade)
This is a great book by and about a "reformed thug." For anyone who loves a well written book, likes a good story, and is fascinated about the role the family plays in a child's development, this is an excellent read. For those of us who often ponder the "nature or nurture" question, we'll come away from the book understanding a little bit more. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Dubus' writing.
W. W. Norton & Company -
by Kim S.,
Townie is a riveting, intense, and compassionate memoir in which Andre Dubus III offers readers an intimate understanding of his life and the challenges he faced as a child and young adult. Despite the odds, you'll be cheering for Dubus to succeed with the turn of every page. Don't miss this unforgettable book!
by Kim S.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Long before he became the highly acclaimed author of House of Sand and Fog, Dubus shuffled and punched his way through a childhood and youth full of dysfunction, desperation, and determination. Just after he turned 12, Dubus's family fell rapidly into shambles after his father — the prominent writer Andre Dubus — not only left his wife for a younger woman but also left the family in distressing poverty on the violent and drug-infested side of their Massachusetts mill town. For a few years, Dubus escaped into drugs, embracing the apathetic 'no-way-out' attitude of his friends. After having his bike stolen, being slapped around by some of the town's bullies, and watching his brother and mother humiliated by some of the town's thugs, Dubus started lifting weights at home and boxing at the local gym. Modeling himself on the Walking Tall sheriff, Buford Pusser, Dubus paid back acts of physical violence with physical violence. Ultimately, he decided to take up his pen and write his way up from the bottom and into a new relationship with his father. In this gritty and gripping memoir, Dubus bares his soul in stunning and page-turning prose. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"Dubus chronicles each traumatic incident and realization in stabbing detail. So chiseled are his dramatic memories, his shocking yet redemptive memoir of self-transformation feels like testimony under oath as well as hard-hammered therapy, coalescing, ultimately, in a generous, penetrating, and cathartic dissection of misery and fury, creativity and forgiveness, responsibility and compassion."
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"[P]owerful, haunting....[Dubus III's] compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving. A striking, eloquent account of growing up poor and of the making of a writer."
by Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls,
"I've never read a better or more serious meditation on violence, its sources, consequences, and, especially, its terrifying pleasures, than Townie. It's a brutal and, yes, thrilling memoir that sheds real light on the creative process of two of our best writers, Andre Dubus III and his famous, much revered father. You'll never read the work of either man in quite the same way afterward. You may not view the world in quite the same way, either."
by James Lee Burke, author of the Dave Robicheaux novels,
"The best first-person account of an author's life I have ever read. The violence that is described is the kind that is with us every day, whether we recognize it or not. The characters are wonderful and compassionately drawn. I sincerely believe Andre Dubus may be the best writer in America. His talent is enormous. No one who reads this book will ever forget it."
by Hold All,
An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him — until he was saved by writing.
Won Book of the Year Adult Non-Fiction--2012 Indie Choice Awards Amazon Best Book of the Month February 2011 An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him--until he was saved by writing.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquezs Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCalls Makes Me Wanna Holler—an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male
A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.
A memoir of the haunting and redemptive events of the acclaimed writer's life—the betrayal of a con-man father; a murder-suicide in his family's house; the presence of an oystercatcher—each one, as the saying goes, stranger than fiction.
Monica Wood's moving memoir of the season in 1963 Mexico, Maine, as she, her mother, and her three sisters healed after the loss of their mill-worker father and then the nation's loss of its handsome young Catholic president.
1963, Mexico, Maine. The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on a fathers wages from the Oxford Paper Company. Until the sudden death of Dad, when Mum and the four closely connected Wood girls are set adrift. Funny and to-the-bone moving, When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how this family saves itself, at first by depending on Father Bob, Mums youngest brother, a charismatic Catholic priest who feels his new responsibilities deeply. And then, as the nation is shocked by the loss of its handsome Catholic president, the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy—she too a Catholic widow with young children—galvanizes Mum to set off on an unprecedented family road trip to Washington, D.C., to do some rescuing of her own. An indelible story of how family and nation, each shocked by the unimaginable, exchange one identity for another.
“Monica Wood has written a gorgeous, gripping memoir. I dont know that Ive ever pulled so hard for a family.”—Michael Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert
“A bracing and no-nonsense memoir, infused with fresh takes on love, death, and human nature.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
As with many of us, the life of acclaimed novelist Howard Norman has had its share of incidents of “arresting strangeness.” Yet few of us connect these moments, as Norman has done in this spellbinding memoir, to show how life tangles with the psyche to become art. Norman’s story begins with a portrait, both harrowing and hilarious, of a Midwest boyhood summer working in a bookmobile, in the shadow of a grifter father and under the erotic tutelage of his brother’s girlfriend. His life story continues in places as far-flung as the Arctic, where he spends part of a decade as a translator of Inuit tales—including the story of a soapstone carver turned into a goose whose migration-time lament is “I hate to leave this beautiful place”—and in his beloved Point Reyes, California, as a student of birds. In the Arctic, he receives news over the radio that “John Lennon was murdered tonight in the city of New York in the USA.” And years later, in Washington, D.C., another act of deeply felt violence occurs in the form of a murder-suicide when Norman and his wife loan their home to a poet and her young son. Norman’s story is also stitched together with moments of uncanny solace. Of life in his Vermont farmhouse Norman writes, “Everything I love most happens most every day.”
In the hands of Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and What Is Left the Daughter, life’s arresting strangeness is made into a profound, creative, and redemptive memoir.
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