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My Misspent Youth

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My Misspent Youth Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

An essayist in the tradition of Joan Didion, Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers of her generation, widely recognized for her fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths the hidden fault lines in the American landscape. From her well-remembered New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber-relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. She speaks to questions at the root of the contemporary experience, from the search for authenticity and interpersonal connection in a society defined by consumerism and media; to the disenchantment of working in a "glamour profession"; to the catastrophic effects of living among New York City's terminal hipsters. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her. In a review of The KGB Bar Reader, in which Daphne Merkin singled out Daum's essay about the inability to mourn a friend's death, Merkin wrote; "It's brutally quick, the way this happens, this falling in love with a writer's style. Daum's story hooked me by the second line. Hmm, I thought, this is a writer worth suspending my routines for."

Review:

"For several years now, I've kept copies of some of these essays in a manila folder by my desk. When friends or colleagues ask if I know of any especially interesting new writers, I pull out the folder and head for the photocopier. Meghan Daum's essay 'Variations on Grief' is one of the most stunningly honest things I've ever read. And throughout this book, there are a surprising number of moments when your jaw just drops in amazement at what she's saying. Even when she's being funny, her writing has a clarity and intensity that just makes you feel awake." Ira Glass, host of This American Life

Review:

"Full of honesty, insight, and wicked wit....A wonderful debut....My Misspent Youth marks the arrival of a brave new writer." BookPage

Review:

"Pretty damn irresistible." Newsday

Review:

"Essay lovers take heart. There's a new voice in the fray, and it belongs to a talented young writer. In this collection of on-target analyses of American culture, Daum offers the disapproval of youth, leavened with pithy humor and harsh self-appraisal...An edgy read." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review:

"An empathic reporter and a provocative autobiographer....I finished it in a single afternoon, mesmerized and spluttering." The Nation

Review:

"Caustic and amusing...Sublime musings on modern life." Us Weekly

Review:

"[Daum writes] bravely and with heart...Hilarious, lyrical..." The Village Voice

Review:

"A provocative and refreshing new voice." Library Journal

Review:

"A Joan Didion for the new millennium, Meghan Daum brings grace, wit, and insight to contemporary life." Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties

Synopsis:

Cultural Writing. An essayist in the tradition of Joan Didion, Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers of her generation, widely recognized for her fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths the hidden fault lines in the American landscape. From her well-remember New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big-city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber-relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her. "An empathic reporter and a provocative autobiographer . . . I finished it in a single afternoon, mesmerized and spluttering"-The Nation.

About the Author

Meghan Daum's essays and articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times Book Review, Harper's Bazaar, GQ, Nerve, Self, and Vogue, among other publications. She has contributed to NPR's This American Life and is a commentator for Morning Edition. Born in 1970, Meghan holds an M.F.A. from Columbia. She recently moved from New York City to rural Nebraska.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

OneMansView, November 2, 2008 (view all comments by OneMansView)
In this highly autobiographical and entertaining collection of essays, the author offers insight into American culture that both informs and questions. From a Gen-X perspective, she focuses on the changing cultural realities of the 80s and 90s that undermine long-held beliefs. In addition, she turns a critical eye on her affluent adolescence in suburban New Jersey.

While it may be off-putting to some readers, it quickly becomes evident that the author approaches her subjects from a cultural elitist standpoint. She readily admits that she sought admission to Vassar to rub elbows with NYC elites to gain their cultural sophistication, as well as a sense of self-entitlement. In “Toy Children” she found the insistence that she play with dolls to be no more than an attempt to keep her in perpetual childhood. Forced by her musician parents to play the oboe, in “Music is My Bag” she grew to immensely dislike the nerdiness of the music culture. In an essay that overreaches, “Carpet is Mungers,” wall-to-wall carpet, for the author, symbolizes everything ordinary – hence to be rejected. For her it is oak floors and Oriental rugs – or nothing.

In a more practical offering, “My Misspent Youth,” the author decries the fact that NYC has become virtually unaffordable for an aspiring cultural worker – editorial assistant, writer, etc. Yet, she admits that her feelings of entitlement led to her assuming a sixty-thousand dollar debt for a three year MFA program at Columbia. “Inside the Tube” captures the diminished status of airline attendants, yet, they are “in a sense, quintessential Americans. They are at once rootless souls and permanent fixtures, vagabonds who can’t stay anywhere too long.”

Love and relationships are represented. She finds the members of the California-based Ravenheart polyamorous commune to be self-deluding to think that their multi-partner lifestyle verifies their self-proclaimed outsider status, being hardly different than common activities under other names. The author profiles the needy quest of the bland American blonde for Jewish men in “American Shiksa.”

In the most interesting essay of the collection, “On the Fringes of the Physical World,” the author details her intense multi-month email romance that transcended any real-world relationships, only to have it all suddenly collapse after meeting. She sees that “our need to worship fuses with our need to be worhsipped.”

As the author claims, these essays are commentary on the authenticity of American life, on the degree to which we live fictional narratives. The essays strike an idealistic tone, perhaps are a bit arrogant, but they are perceptive, entertaining, and even unsettling. They are easy to read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781890447267
Subtitle:
Essays
Author:
Daum, Meghan
Publisher:
Grove Press, Open City Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Sociology - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
106-599
Publication Date:
March 2001
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
200
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in 9 lb

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Related Subjects

» Children's » Activities » General
» Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
» History and Social Science » American Studies » General
» History and Social Science » Sociology » General
» History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

My Misspent Youth Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.00 In Stock
Product details 200 pages Open City Books - English 9781890447267 Reviews:
"Review" by , "For several years now, I've kept copies of some of these essays in a manila folder by my desk. When friends or colleagues ask if I know of any especially interesting new writers, I pull out the folder and head for the photocopier. Meghan Daum's essay 'Variations on Grief' is one of the most stunningly honest things I've ever read. And throughout this book, there are a surprising number of moments when your jaw just drops in amazement at what she's saying. Even when she's being funny, her writing has a clarity and intensity that just makes you feel awake."
"Review" by , "Full of honesty, insight, and wicked wit....A wonderful debut....My Misspent Youth marks the arrival of a brave new writer."
"Review" by , "Pretty damn irresistible."
"Review" by , "Essay lovers take heart. There's a new voice in the fray, and it belongs to a talented young writer. In this collection of on-target analyses of American culture, Daum offers the disapproval of youth, leavened with pithy humor and harsh self-appraisal...An edgy read."
"Review" by , "An empathic reporter and a provocative autobiographer....I finished it in a single afternoon, mesmerized and spluttering."
"Review" by , "Caustic and amusing...Sublime musings on modern life."
"Review" by , "[Daum writes] bravely and with heart...Hilarious, lyrical..."
"Review" by , "A provocative and refreshing new voice."
"Review" by , "A Joan Didion for the new millennium, Meghan Daum brings grace, wit, and insight to contemporary life."
"Synopsis" by , Cultural Writing. An essayist in the tradition of Joan Didion, Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers of her generation, widely recognized for her fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths the hidden fault lines in the American landscape. From her well-remember New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big-city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber-relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her. "An empathic reporter and a provocative autobiographer . . . I finished it in a single afternoon, mesmerized and spluttering"-The Nation.
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