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$10.17 $6.20 list($14.95)
81. An Open Book: Chapters from a
$10.46 $0.73 list($13.95)
82. Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper
$15.61 $6.99 list($22.95)
83. The Color of Love : A Mother's
$10.17 $9.91 list($14.95)
84. A Taste of the Sweet Apple : A
$24.99 $19.57
85. Deja Views of an Aging Orphan
$0.55 list($13.00)
86. The Boy with the Thorn in His
$1.33 list($21.95)
87. Fathering Words: The Making of
$15.72 $11.23 list($24.95)
88. Cowboy Princess: Life With My
$11.56 $11.51 list($17.00)
89. Creeker: A Woman's Journey (Women
$19.80 $11.98 list($30.00)
90. The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir
$17.13 list($25.95)
91. Me and the Dead End Kid
$24.95 $19.50
92. The Body of Brooklyn (Sightline
$10.46 $4.95 list($13.95)
93. Slackjaw
$10.46 $3.47 list($13.95)
94. Ghost Light : A Memoir
$10.46 $4.90 list($13.95)
95. Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted
$19.80 list($30.00)
96. Hard Candy: Nobody Ever Flies
$13.57 $11.95 list($19.95)
97. Wayne: An Abused Child's Story
$11.53 $9.99 list($16.95)
98. A Hole in the World: An American
$16.80 $0.01 list($24.00)
99. Kitchen Privileges : A Memoir
$17.34 $13.69 list($25.50)
100. Eleven Stories High : Growing

81. An Open Book: Chapters from a Reader's Life
by Michael Dirda
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0393326144
Catlog: Book (2004-12-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 157747
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Book Description

"A love story, full of a passion for literature and marked by intellectual vigor."—Bernadette Murphy, Los Angeles Times

"All that kid wants to do is stick his nose in a book," Michael Dirda's steelworker father used to complain, worried about his son's passion for reading. In An Open Book, one of the most delightful memoirs to emerge in years, the acclaimed literary journalist Michael Dirda re-creates his boyhood in rust-belt Ohio, first in the working-class town of Lorain, then at Oberlin College. In addition to his colorful family and friends, An Open Book also features the great writers and fictional characters who fueled Dirda's imagination: from Green Lantern to Sherlock Holmes, from Candy to Proust. The result is an affectionate homage to small-town America—summer jobs, school fights, sweepstakes contests, and first dates—as well as a paean to what could arguably be called the last great age of reading. ... Read more


82. Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper
by Stephen J. Dubner
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0380733145
Catlog: Book (2004-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 281839
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As a boy, Stephen J. Dubner's hero was Franco Harris, the famed and mysterious running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Dubner's father died, he became obsessed -- he dreamed of his hero every night; he signed his school papers “Franco Dubner.” Though they never met, it was Franco Harris who shepherded Dubner through a fatherless boyhood.

Twenty years later, Dubner, an accomplished writer, sees Harris on a magazine cover. His long-dormant obsession comes roaring back. He journeys to Pittsburgh, certain that Harris will embrace him. And he is...well, wrong.

Told with the grit of a journalist and the grace of a memoirist, Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper is a breathtaking, heartbreaking, and often humorous story of astonishing developments. It is also a sparkling meditation on the nature of hero worship -- which, like religion and love, tells us as much about ourselves as about the object of our desire.

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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT read!
After reading Stephen Dubner's first book, Turbulent Souls, I couldn't wait to read his latest work. I thoroughly enjoyed Confessions of a Hero Worshiper. It is a poignant, beautifully-written story about Dubner, who as a ten-year-old boy, grasped on to his football hero to help him survive his loneliness and insecurity after his father died. Dubner's childhood hero was Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the "man of steel" becomes much more to the young, fatherless boy than anyone would ever imagine. In school Dubner even wrote his name as "Franco Dubner" on his papers. For the next 4 years, Dubner has the same dream every night of meeting Franco Harris, inviting him over to his house for dinner, and playing a game of football in the backyard with him afterwards. Every night in the dream, Franco breaks his ankle just as he's about to score a touchdown. He hands the ball to Dubner and tells him, "You gotta take it from here yourself, kid." The words end up being prophetic.

Fast forward about twenty-five years. Dubner is now a successful writer and former editor of the NY Times Magazine. When he spies a magazine cover sporting Franco Harris's picture, his long-buried feelings are rekindled. Dubner is overcome by a deep desire to meet his hero and let him know what an important part he played in Dubner's young life.

When Dubner finally gets to rubs elbows with Franco Harris, the time spent with him and his athlete buddies is both exhilerating and frustrating. What transpires between them over the next months enables Dubner to finally shed his childhood ghosts when he comes to an epiphany of sorts. The story is both a heartfelt and at times hilarious account of Dubner's trip back into his past as he comes to grips with the present and discovers the secret to his future.

The story is so engaging and well-written that I couldn't put it down...and me, a sports fan...NOT!

5-0 out of 5 stars A 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5-Very Moving, Very Poignant
I too worshipped a sports God in my youth-in my case, it was Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins. Thus, I could relate to Dubner's moving tribute to his hero, Franco Harris. I know what it is like to be a teenager and to think that this person really would be your good friend if only they knew you.
Dubner takes one small aspect of American society shared by many people-the worship of a sports hero at a young age-and explores it. He meets Harris as an adult and decides to write a book on him. Only the experience doesn't turn out to be the dream of a lifetime. In many ways, it is more of a nightmare.
The reader feels for both the author and Harris. Franco Harris clearly is an athlete who has moved on with his life, much to his credit. At times, the author seemed to almost stalk him. Yet you feel for the author also. No one should lose the image of a hero at any stage in his or her life.
I would recommend this book for sports lovers of all ages and both genders. If you're not into sports, then this would be a more challenging read. Yet most people have heroes in their youth in many arenas (sports, history, politics), so in that sense, the book's theme is universal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Confessions of an Author Worshipper
Having read, enjoyed and reviewed Mr. Dubner's first book, "TURBULENT SOULS", I was most anxious to read his latest book, "CONFESSIONS OF A HERO WORSHIPPER". I found the book to be full of entertaining humor as Mr. Dubner seeks out and finds his childhood hero, Franco Harris, star football player of the Pitttsburgh Steelers. It also explains the need of a hero to come into Mr. Dubner's life to help him deal with the loss of his own father when Stephen was a small boy.This is a most enjoyable easy read....a pleasant true story.

5-0 out of 5 stars How hero worship saved a fatherless boy's life
Stephen J. Dubner is the child of two first generation Brooklyn Jews, who had each converted to Catholicism during the second world war. They met, married, moved to Upstate New York and had eight children. Stephen was the youngest. When he was nine his father died, and Stephen began dreaming about a mysterious, black Italian, Pittsburgh Steelers football player named Franco Harris. Stephen signed his school papers Franco Dubner, and wore a Steelers Jersey. He fiercely followed Harris' life and career for all the years of his lonely childhood and adolescence. Twenty years later, a grown man, a published author, a New York Times magazine editor and writer, Dubner caught sight of his boyhood hero's picture on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine. He was seized by a strong desire to find his boyhood hero and try to understand the meaning of his long and passionate hero worship. Dubner's search is an extraordinary story of love, loss, and healing. The writing is beautiful and honest. I laughed and cried. Even the descriptions of Harris' football playing held my interest, and I am no sports fan. This is a tremendously moving, authentic story of how the human spirit can transcend the most terrible tragedy, with glorious grace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, not what I was expecting
It seemed like a simple story about a man who tracks down his childhood hero. Becomes much more than that, though. It's about life, love, football, fatherhood, sonhood, etc. Dubner is a great writer. Smart, funny, gentle, with an old-fashioned ear for storytelling. Couldn't put it down, was really sad when it ended. ... Read more


83. The Color of Love : A Mother's Choice in the Jim Crow South
by Gene Cheek
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 1592286267
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Sales Rank: 75686
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Nine years after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and only a year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a judge in the Forsyth County Courthouse of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wrenched twelve-year-old Gene Cheek from the security of his mother’s devotion. Here is a true story of love in a time afflicted by hatred, ignorance, and racism. At its core, this is a frank account of a love affair between a white woman and a black man that took mother from son and split a family forever.

In the early 1960s, the city of Winston-Salem struggled under the strict edicts of segregation, setting the tone of division that would plague Gene Cheek’s life. Raised by his alcoholic father and his earnestly loving mother, Gene learned about the power of hatred and the strength of love. Yet when his mother falls in love with Cornelius Tucker, an African-American man, and becomes pregnant with his child, their union is seen as morally and lawfully unfit, forcing the family to choose between the infant and Gene. From a distance of more than forty years, Gene Cheek recounts a life of constant struggle with his biological father. Briefly that tension dissolved with the warm guidance of Cornelius Tucker--but that would soon end.

The Color of Love is Gene Cheek’s story told in his singularly honest voice. Its sincerity and truth resonate with a plea for tolerance, and the irrevocable nature of the decisions and emotions of modern life.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Destruction caused by alcoholism and prejudice.
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever suffered due to circumstances beyond their control. This true story will reach into your heart and bring tears to your eyes. It is the heart-wrenching struggle of a young boy being forced to learn first hand the cruelty of alcoholism and prejudice. Gene relates his story with a frankness and sincerity so real that you almost hear his voice as you read. It is the story of the love-hate relationship that exists between an alcoholic father, his wife and son. At a time when his mother needs love and support, it comes from a forbidden source. Gene's life is changed forever because ofthe hate and prejudice that surrounds the relationship between his mother and a black man.



If you have never witnessed prejudice, this book will make it real. If you have never seen the destruction that alcoholism can bring to a family, you will feel the pain through the eyes of a young boy. You will "experience" Gene's desperation as he is forced to grow up at the tender age of 12 in the Jim Crow South!
... Read more


84. A Taste of the Sweet Apple : A Memoir (Woodford Reserve Series in Kentucky Literature)
by Jo Anna Holt-Watson
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1932511083
Catlog: Book (2004-11-15)
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Sales Rank: 112447
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Book Description

Jo Anna "Pee-Wee" Holt Watson is a charmer of a writer, her voice so vivid the reader is transported to a vanished rural culture intimately seen: mid-twentieth century, Woodford County, Kentucky. In A Taste of the Sweet Apple, Holt Watson documents one summer, her seventh, at Grassy Springs Farm in the heart of the Bluegrass. Here is a world of shadowy lanes, granddaddy's ice-cold artesian well, tobacco stripping rooms, a girl's pony barn, Ginnie Rae's Beauty Shoppe on the Main Street, and Ocean Frog's Grocery. Here, a grandfather clock in the hallway says did-not, did-not, and an oscillating "Anglican" fan plays Episcopal hymns.

In this memoir where emphasis is on character essential to the ethics of community, a young girl of robust curiosity keeps company with the spells her people cast. At the center of the book is a poetic and telling bond, an adoring friendship between this small white girl and a black foreman, Joe Collins. There's a tempestuous physician father, a beautiful powerful mother in powerless times, and the "wonderfully long-winded" Aunt Tott. We witness the travail of hired laborers as well as the beauties of craft and devotion in Holt Watson's sharp rendering of traditional tobacco culture.

A seven-year-old girl may set her buckteeth on fire or bite her pony, but never misses the silent rush of spring water deep within the greenest land, a land from which she, too, springs. Brimming with unsentimental innocence and the sensuality of furs, tobacco, her mother's lemon lily beds, she draws a tough-minded portrait of girlhood. In the rural tradition, Holt Watson is a conjuror of tales both hilarious and moving, mixed with temper and spirit.

"Pee-Wee" Holt Watson's voice is so vivid that the reader is transported to a vanished rural culture: mid-20th century Kentucky. This memoir documents one summer, her seventh, at Grassy Springs Farm in the Bluegrass region of Woodford County. At the center of the book is a poetic and telling bond, an adoring friendship between this small white girl and a black foreman, Joe Collins. There's a tempestuous country-physician father, a beautiful, powerful mother in powerless times and the "wonderfully long-winded" Aunt Sudie Louisa. We witness the travail of hired laborers as well as the beauties of craft and devotion in Holt Watson's sharp rendering of traditional tobacco culture.

Here is a world of shadowy lanes, granddaddy's ice-cold artesian well, tobacco stripping rooms, a girl's pony barn, Ginnie Rae's Beauty Shoppe on Main Street and Ocean Frog's Grocery. Brimming with unsentimental innocence, she draws a tough-minded, tomboy--accomplished portrait of girlhood. In the rural tradition, Holt Watson is a conjuror of tales both hilarious and moving, mixed with temper and spirit.

Jo Anna "Pee-Wee" Holt-Watson is a fourth-generation Kentuckian and self-proclaimed Yellow Dog Democrat. She is an amateur photographer, gardener, avid sports-person, former horse trials judge, and creator of Plumbline, a series of televised panel discussions regarding critical political and social issues. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

... Read more

85. Deja Views of an Aging Orphan
by Sam George Arcus
list price: $24.99
our price: $24.99
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Asin: 073881847X
Catlog: Book (2000-11-02)
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Sales Rank: 1060974
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

DEJA VIEWS OF AN AGING ORPHANis distinctive, if not unique, in its views and experiences of still alive HNOH alumni and its use of a variety of literary styles including the memoir, the essay, news articles, poems, history, short story and letters.Many provide first-person accounts of growing up in an orphanage in the 1920s and 30s and it is this first-person recounting that breaks new ground and casts new light on the subject of child-care --of such importance to society and its social policy-making. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Benchmark for the Genre
*Professor Roy Lachman reviews Deja Views of an Aging Orphan; Growing Up in the Hebrew National Orphan Home (Xlibris, Philadelphia) by Sam George Arcus.

For the first time in over 50 years, there is a resurgence of interest in a "faith-based" approach to social services, driven by the current administration in the White House. Sam George Arcus' book, a retrospective on his childhood and youth in a pre-WWII Hebrew orphan home, provides invaluable data and insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of the faith-based services delivered by these homes.

During the first half of the twentieth century, institutions dealt with several constituencies: orphans, criminals, and what were then called the "insane". The care of criminals and the insane was the province of government, except for a few private clinics serving the well to do mentally ill. The care of orphans, on the other hand, was almost exclusively the province of faith-based institutions such as the Hebrew National Orphan Home (chronicled by Arcus), Academies of the Sacred Heart, institutions sponsored by other denominations and the well-known Boys Town located in Nebraska.

Today, these roles are very different. The mentally ill are treated by private, for profit institutions providing they have insurance. Government handles the criminally insane. There are relatively few asylums for the uninsured mentally ill; these people make up a disproportionate number of what are now called "the homeless," who are served largely by faith-based, not-for-profit organizations. There are virtually no orphan homes any more; instead, orphaned children without family are usually assigned to foster homes under the auspices of the state. Criminals are still the province of government, with a prison population that has expanded beyond the wildest predictions that could have been made, say, in 1950. Into this milieu President Bush has declared his intention to invite faith-based institutions once again to deal with contemporary social problems. So how can a book like Deja Views of an Aging Orphan enlighten our approach to the social issues of today? Although the data presented are anecdotal, they are very rare. No controlled studies exist comparing the effectiveness of orphanages with that of foster care - there was limited temporal overlap, and the social contexts of the different historical periods in which they occurred rendered comparison futile. However, the anecdotal evidence, as well as some of the reflections offered by Arcus, suggests that group homes may well work better than foster care in terms of protecting the children from the type of abuse that contributes to the burgeoning prison population. If government funds are to be funneled to faith-based programs while foster care is still the primary method of serving orphaned or dependent children, and if some of these programs return to traditional group homes, a golden opportunity exists to equate many of the variables that affect outcomes, thus permitting a principled evaluation of foster care as opposed to congregate group care. Arcus' book provides a rich source of hypotheses for such work. In fact, it can be perceived as a benchmark for the genre labeled "Orphanology" by Dr. Stanley Friedland, co-author of an earlier work An Orphan Has Many parents (KTAV Publishers, NY) to which Arcus also contributed. Besides its value in support of research, Deja Views is an entertaining and often touching account of one man's journey to adulthood through a non-traditional path. Arcus has captured the flavor of the orphan homes in which he was placed, as well as their lasting influence on him as a person and the definition of himself as an "aging orphan." It is well worth reading.

*Dr. Roy Lachman, is Professor and Director of Graduate Training of the Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston TX,...

5-0 out of 5 stars Home Is Where The Heart Is!
Growing up in a family consisting of two loving parents, a sister and doting grandparents, it is hard to fathom that there are others in this world not as fortunate as you are. But Sam George Arcus's book, Deja Views Of An Aging Orphan will prove to anyone who reads this most wonderful descriptive book, that there still can be love and devotion and a sense of family with children bonding together to form a "brotherhood" of long lasting and loving relationships. Intertwined with the trials and tribulations of being designated as "orphans" or "inmates", these children searching for love and acceptance do come to find their Home does have some heart.

To anyone not familiar with orphanage or institutional life, and most are not, one must first understand what is an orphan? Not all orphans had two deceased parents. Some have/had one and were called half-orphans, others might even have/had both, but abandoned because of ill health, poverty or other reasons. These children were placed in institutions through no fault of their own. Many carrying resentment of other relatives, i.e. aunts, uncles and cousins who refused to "save" them from this new and scary life. For those lucky few that still had some family, their Sunday and holiday visits meant the world to them. The caring women's auxiliaries and other organizations that went out of their way to donate their time and monies to make life as pleasant and normal as possible for these children were to be commended.

Throughout the pages of Deja Views Of An Aging Orphan, Sam Arcus brings to us 50 to 60 years of memories, stories, columns and thoughts of what life was like and how it was lived at the Hebrew National Orphan Home on Tuckahoe Road, in Yonkers, NY. Laughter and tears are contained in "all the parts" of this book that makes it "whole".

A wonderful read! "You Are There!"....just as Edward R. Murrow used to say.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Orphanology" Has a New Gem!"
In the genre of books by orphans about their respective orphanages, a new gem has just hit the market. "Deja Views" enables the reader to walk in the shoes of a fascinating man and re-live his development from an orphan in dire straits to that of an impact individual who has made strong contributions to our society. The author, Sam Arcus, details his childhood experiences of his life in the Hebrew National Orphans' Home and of its impact and influence on his entire life. His narrative is colorful, richly detailed and viewed from all sides. The reader is able to "feel" each experience, which gives rise to that enjoyable reading sensation of, "What's next?" The"Aging Orphan" in the title refers to the sequencing of the author's life. After leaving his own orphanage, he became a beloved supervisor in another one and then started a long and illustrious career in Jewish Community Centers where he developed a national reputation for creating some of the best Centers in the country. So, in a manner of speaking, he remained in related institutions all of his life and retained a good humored self concept as an "aging orphan." Given the width and breath of his total experiences, which are richly detailed in the book, the author is uniquely well qualified to add some new and valuable insights and observations to the emerging field of "orphanology".And he does so, eloquently, informatively and interestingly. Whether you are a scholar in this field, or just looking for a good read, I would recommend this book to you with great enthusiasm. It is, indeed, a gem!

Stan Friedland Syosset, N.Y. ... Read more


86. The Boy with the Thorn in His Side : A Memoir
by Keith Fleming
list price: $13.00
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Asin: 0060959304
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 204474
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At sixteen, Keith Fleming is so miserably defiant that he is locked in an adolescent mental hospital. Filled with despair, Keith's life is literally saved by his uncle, the writer Edmund White. Keith soon finds himself transformed as Uncle Ed arranges treatment for Keith's disfiguring acne, enrolls him in prep school, and instructs his nephew in a worldly view of life and love. Meanwhile, Uncle Ed is both strapped for cash and completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan.

By turns lyrical, funny, and poignant, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side is full of fascinating characters and unexpected twists -- at once an odyssey into the extremes of the American 1970s, a universal tale of star-crossed teenage love, and an account of a deeply sensitive young person's struggle to find his place in the world. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Ride
I still feel under the spell of Keith Fleming's wonderful memoir, The Boy with the Thorn in his Side. I read it over the weekend in 2 sittings. The opening pages grabbed me right away -- what an eccentric, fascinating family! Whether describing his first innocent sexual adventures, or his horrifying experience as the patient of a pyschiatrist/sadist, or his touching romance with an inner-city Latina, Fleming writes so well about what it feels like to be a teenager at the mercy of circumstances. And what circumstances! The book takes us through one extreme situation after another, always described with deep feeling and great sense of style. This book is so much more than a portrait of his uncle Edmund White. I recommend it to anyone interested in love, in families, in adolescence -- in life!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent: equal parts passion and discipline
I found myself admiring the narrative structures Mr Fleming has designed for his memoir, which reads more like a good novel. He never tells us more than we want to know, yet what he does tell us always sheds light on a most unusual adolescence and family. There's a wonderful grasp of character here, including the author's own younger self. His uncle Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story has long been one of the novels I most admire, and I think what his nephew Keith Fleming has accomplished here is a new Boy's Own Story, the next generation of it. The depiction of the young Edmund White, not yet famous, is priceless, yet I think the book would stand up just as well were the Uncle Ed of the book not a famous name. The relationship between uncle and nephew is one of the most complex and fascinating connections I can remember reading. The book leaves you wanting to know what transpired next between these two.

2-0 out of 5 stars Uncle Mame?
Keith Fleming is a pretty good storyteller. He really makes you picture the times, places and characters in his life. Especially strong is the evil Doctor at the hospital and his wonderful uncle in New York City. (Edmund White) These characters and moments really stand out.

However most of this book just rambles about and then ends with no purpose whatsoever. At the end I wondered "why did he write it" and "why did I read it?". I would not recommend this book because it just meanders and ends with no explanation. I need more of a story arc even from a biography.

The other thing that puzzled me was why he would paint such a wonderful loving tribute to his uncle and then ruin it by mentioning an offhand sexual advance by his uncle. It seemed out of place never explored his feelings behind it or why it was even mentioned. It was kind of unsavory without a reason for it.

Keith needed a good editor on this book and some guidance.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
This is one of the many memoirs / autobiographies, relating to the ubiquitous stories of 'troubled youth'. Flemmings emotional maturity and consistently strong writing has aloud him to tell the story of a turbulent adolescence akin to "Girl Interrupted", "Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius", etc. I was not drawn to this novel for Ed White, but rather found it in the bookstore Biography section by chance. I have seen criticisms of Flemming's dupe on the public as advertising this to be a memoir of Ed White, but it this really the case? At face value, this is a remarkable memoir of a troubled journey through adolescence devoid of all "poor me" sentiments that the other above-mentioned memoirs seem to convey. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone - it is a gem!

4-0 out of 5 stars Gets to the heart
I was going to buy this book as an anniversary present, but caught myself reading bits and pieces, until I had finished the whole thing. This is a well-written book that is very engaging. You laugh, cry, and wince as Fleming tells his story, and you close the book absolutely exhausted thinking about everything that happened within a relatively short time span. I recommend it for years to come. ... Read more


87. Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer
by E. Ethelbert Miller
list price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312241364
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 784445
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The poet's journey begins in the heart. Here is a memoir from a poet that reminds us to pursue writing as much as love.

Moving beyond the loss of both his father and brother, E. Ethelbert Miller tells the story of how love survived in his family.When Miller was about ten years old, his father told him how he could have left his mother.Years later, now a writer and a father, Miller looks back on that simple remark and how it shaped him.In Fathering Words, Miller explores his development as an African American writer, the responsibility of his chosen career, and his ambitions to raise the consciousness of black people.Gradually, Miller comes to see that when his father told him he could have left his mother that he was attempting to raise his consciousness.In his own way, his father was warning Miller not to tale things for granted, that one's own world could easily and quickly change.And in his quiet way that he loved him.

Miller's poetry often relies on the voices of women.Here in Fathering Words, Miller has chosen to write his memoir in two voices.He places his sister's voice on the page next to his own. The result is a wonderful duet that tells two stories woven together into one.

Fathering Words is Miller's moving tribute and a powerful memoir. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fathering Grief and Discovering Love
Fathering Words portrays the grief and loss one man feels when his father and brother suddenly die within two years of each other. Their deaths cause Miller to recall how seldom he and his father spoke, and yet, he always knows his father loves the family. That singular way one person cares for and remembers another is at the spiritual core of this book. What does a son inherit from the men in his family when there are few conversations? Miller compares his life and his dreams to that of his older brother, and maps out the goals for his own future as he marries, has his own children, and embarks on his career as a poet. He punctuates the story with the gracious voice of his older sister, Marie, as he imagines how the family might have looked to her. Marie carries the secrets and stories that filter down to the younger son as rumors and tales. She becomes a source of information and verification of the family history. Using a network of subtle references to religion, classical and jazz music, basketball and baseball, as well as motifs from literary works, Miller provides a number of avenues by which a broad spectrum of readers will be able to enter and inhabit his poignant text.

For those who want to write about their own lives, the book provides a model for creating scenes in small vignettes that become interconnected by the end of the chapter, as opposed to providing a direct narrative path from the beginning of a life to the present. For writers who aspire to become published, and perhaps even famous, Miller chronicles the encounters he has with a number of writers, revealing the history of African American literature in the past thirty years.

I teach Fathering Words in a senior-level college course on autobiography at the University of Southern Indiana. Readers who want more information about the author might start with his website ....

5-0 out of 5 stars A gift from heaven
If I had received this book five years ago, it would have saved me five years of pain and confusion. Fathering Words is the tangible witness of a man's journey into and through his writing life. Unlike many writing memoirs, it is not a how to, or even a how, but a detatched narrative of his life as a poet. He is eerily objective about the mistakes and choices he has made, and uses occasional passages from his sister to broaden the view he gives the reader.

I learned more about the writing process, more about the yearning that true writers feel, and more about the lack of understanding that non-artists have about the whys and wherefores. If you know an African-American man who yearns to "father words", buying this book for him will be the best show of support you can give him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
Fathering Words is a deeply moving memoir. Ethelbert Miller's description of his father will remain with the reader for a very long time. His decision to write the book using both his and his sister's voice is unique and it works.It's definitely a keeper.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetic Fathering
This book is so beautifully written, so touchingly direct that I called Howard University to search out the author and tell him what a compelling book he had written. Anyone who is a father, about to be a father or contemplating being a father (whether African-American or not) will find this book touching in what it says about the frequently mute love between fathers and their sons. African-Americans families are often love mutes like Mr. Miller's-- too busy working, too focused on the quotidien to express love outside provision of food and shelter. Out of such silent, seemingly fallow ground, E. Ethelbert Miller heaps up words of love and power, fathering not only his own father, but his whole family in some of the most poetic prose you will ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book
This is a beautiful memoir written by a writer with enourmous talent. An extraordinarily enjoyable read! ... Read more


88. Cowboy Princess: Life With My Parents, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
by Cheryl Rogers-Barnett, Frank Thompson
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 158979026X
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Sales Rank: 85987
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Cowboy Princess, the eldest daughter of the famous Hollywood couple tells the story of America's most famous cowboy and cowgirl like nobody else can. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for fans of Roy Rogers
Cowboy Princess: Life With My Parents Roy Rogers And Dale Evans is Cheryl Rogers-Barnett's true story of growing up as the daughter of "the King of Cowboys" and "the Queen of the West", whose popular exploits on movies and TV captivated the nation. Joy, the gruelling demands of the entertainment industry, the terrible loss of three siblings, and the lively personalities of those who shared their lives with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett fill this highly readable and personal account. Highly recommended for fans of Roy Rogers and the western movies of yesteryear. ... Read more


89. Creeker: A Woman's Journey (Women in Southern Culture)
by Linda Scott Derosier
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081319024X
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Sales Rank: 372773
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Mine was not the Kentucky of bluegrass, juleps, and cotillions; the Kentucky of my youth was one of coal banks, crawdads, and country music.”

A memoir of growing up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Creeker heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice. Linda Scott DeRosier’s humorous yet poignant autobiography is the story of an educated and cultured American woman who came of age in Appalachia and remains unabashedly honest about and proud of her mountain heritage.

Those who wax nostalgic about the beauty of the “old ways” probably never drew lye from ashes to produce a hunk of soap or hoed a hill of corn in a Kentucky August when the air was so wet and heavy you needed gills to breathe. DeRosier has, and she chronicles her life with honesty, wit, and insight.

A tale that begins and ends with family, this is a story not only of accomplishment but of acknowledgement—of self, relationships, the challenges and consequences of choice, and the impact of the past on the present. It describes an Appalachia of complexity and beauty rarely revealed to outsiders. ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writer!
Just before Christmas my husband and I saw this author speaking on BookTV and he called and ordered Creekers for me. I am glad I saw and listened to her before I read the book because I could clearly hear her cadences as I was reading. In a most unique writing voice she takes us along on her journey from an Appalachian Creek, to which she forever remains loyal, out into the wider world beyond. Though she speaks lovingly of her home in Appalachia, along the way this writer manages to show us the time and the place and the people without a hint of sentimentality or condescension. I particularly enjoyed her description of the metamorphosis brought about by her education. Her story is by turns funny and painful, sometimes simultaneously! Both my husband and I enjoyed this book, which is not the usual occurrence, though he liked the first half while I preferred the last half. We look forward to more work from this talented writer and we agree that she really should put this book on tape!

5-0 out of 5 stars Some books must be read, Creeker is one of them*****
If you've ever thought about the consequences and significance of your life, your family and your home, then you are like me. And, if you're like me, then chances are pretty good that you'll count Scott-DeRosier's "Creeker" among your favorites. This is an interesting and gripping autobiography of a woman who is living the kind of life we all hope to live; it made me laugh out loud, reflect on the choices in my own life, and it moved me to tears -- all qualities of a book to be read more than once. In addition to all these strengths, Scott-DeRosier shared her Appalachian Mountain memories lovingly and candidly. Through her you will see what you've never seen before, respect people you might not have thought about before, and find reasons to hope for renewed community in our own lives. There was so much familiar in Scott-DeRosier's life story that I recognized those universal questions and truths that resonate in my own life, in all our lives no matter where we come from.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Good Book
I loved this book. It really tells the story of my people.

5-0 out of 5 stars She Took Me Home
I was born in Paintsville (home of Loretta Lynn) and had to move away when I was 4. Reading this book took me back to my Grandma's front porch and the well outside. It reminded me of church outhouses and dinner on the ground. Made me want to throw rocks in the creek off the bridge at Grandma's and walk up to the family graveyard to wonder about my ancestor's lives. If you are from Eastern Kentucky, this book will make you proud to say "warsh" and "tard." If you aren't from there, read it anyway. It might make you appreciate us "hillbillies" a little more.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sad, but true...
As a long-time enthusiast of Appalachian literature, I was eagerly aniticipating reading 'Creeker'. Though I didn't care much for the stereotypical title, I thought I would be able to make it past it to enjoy a unique brand of literature.

Boy, was I wrong!

This book typifies the apologist mentality that premeates Appalachia and keeps the ignorant serfs on the proverbial feudal land.

If you're a true fan of Appalachian literature, stick with the true masters, Bobbie Ann Mason and Lee Smith. ... Read more


90. The Hooligan's Return: A Memoir
by Norman Manea
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374282560
Catlog: Book (2003-08-18)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 186180
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The long-awaited memoir by one of Romania’s greatest living authors

The Hooligan’s Return is a haunting memoir, vividly re-creating Norman Manea’s harrowing childhood in Fascist Romania while providing indelible portraits of Ceausescu’s dictatorship and the pre- and post-Communist eras.

Manea’s observations about his visit in 1997 are intertwined with his reflections on his return to Romania after four years in Transnistria, in the camps to which large numbers of Romanian Jews were transported in 1941. As the narrative utilizes one journey to illuminate the other, Manea’s friends and family tell their own stories, and the topic of departure and return proves to be an obsessive constant.

As the story of a writer who is anything but militant, a literary man more interested in moral and aesthetic questions than in politics, this compelling and beautifully executed memoir explores questions of identity, exile, and the conflict between life and literature, dream and reality, past and present.
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great autobiography
This is a wonderful, if difficult book. It cronicles the author's life. Norman Manea suffered from both the Holocaust and Communism. Being Jewish, he and his family were deported during the Second World War to a concentration camp set up by Romania's fascist regime (General Ion Antonescu, Hitler's ally) in Transnistria, where several hundred thousand Jews were imprisoned and died in horrible circumstances. Luckily he survived the KZ and returned to Romania. Later on, when he had become a writer, he was declared enemy of the state and a 'hooligan' by Romania's Communists, because he had dared criticize the antisemitic government in an article. (Another fascinating Romanian-Jewish writer, Mihail Sebastian (see his Jurnal) was described as a 'hooligan' by antisemits in a literary scandal back in the 30's - the term has deep connotations for Manea). His relationship to his homeland remained troubled even after he left Romania in the 80's, settling down in New York as a professor for literature (he teaches at Bard College). Although he is one of Romania's best writers, his country's literary elite treats him with a certain embarassment. He can be compared in this respect to Imre Kertesz's relationship with Hungary.
I liked this book not only because of all the detailed, multi-faceted and subtle description of these events, but also because it is an honest and selfironical autobiography. Manea is a reluctant autobiographer. My feeling is that he wrote this book out of duty; not to brag about his past, rather to pay tribute to those he loved and to remind the world of the terrible journey he has been through - a very typical journey for Jews and many East Europeans in the 20th century...

P.S. If this book is superfluous, then so are the books by e.g. Anne Frank, Primo Levy and Mihail Sebastian. Good luck in burning them! ... Read more


91. Me and the Dead End Kid
by Leo, Jr Gorcey, Leo Gorcey Jr.
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929753152
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Leo Gorcey Foundation
Sales Rank: 195138
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Leo Gorcey, The Hollywood Legend - Leo Gorcey, Jr., His Happy Ending: The son of a Hollywood legend takes you on a humorous and heartfelt journey of survival, strength, forgiveness, and hope. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars For anyone who has enjoyed one of those Dead End Kid films
Me And The Dead End Kid is an authoritative and informative biography of Leo Gorcey, a Hollywood star who's personal and domestic life was riddled with turmoil ultimately resulting his retirement from the motion picture business at the age of 39. Me And The Dead End Kid is a vividly presented memoir of an actor's life legacy to his son, Leo Gorcey, Jr. -- who pens this biography of his father with wit, memories, forgiveness, and an eye for the complex and tangled weave that all humans truly are. An all-embracing panorama of the good and the bad in a famous actor's life, Me And The Dead End Kid is "must" reading for anyone who has enjoyed one of those Dead End Kid films or the many other movies where he played supporting roles in company with such child stars as Bonita Granville, Jackie Cooghan, and Mickey Rooney -- and wondered what ever became of the leader of that group of young actors that became so popular and successful at portraying New York City poverty ghetto kids of the 1920s and 30s.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book you won't be able to put down!!!
If this isn't the very best celebrity biography, I can't even imagine what would be! The legendary Dead End Kid and Leader of the Bowery Boys is dissected by his very own son, who judging from this tome has inherited his fathers talent, or I should say.....talents. Leo Jr. has written a no hold barred account of his life with the pint sized rugged individualist who came to fame as a result of the play, and later the film; "Dead End". That life was not an easy one, by any means. I found myself often wondering how Leo jr. survived, let alone flourished. But he did both, and he pulls no punches as he recounts his dad"s foibles and furys and demons, as well as his own. This is a most painfully honest account of Leo jr.'s quest to understand his father's pain, and therefore his own. The story is chock full of fascinating anecdotes of "Slip Mahoney's" personel life, including his predilection for firearms and "firewater". Leo sr, was by turns innovative, witty, insightfull, alcoholic, violent,loveable, unlikeable, and finally tragic. But never boring. Leo jr's book does him full justice by revealing all his colors. And there were many of those. Ironically, as a boy, Leo Jr. behaved in life not unlike his famous dad in films. And probably for many of the same reasons, which are explored through the course of the book. The author has also painted a vivid picture of the movie industry during his father's days as a star, recreating many important moments with such diverse characters as Sam Goldwyn, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Cagney, Jack Warner, Anatole Litvak, and of course the Dead End Kids Themselves. And Leo Gorcey the actor emerges as perhaps the most fascinating of them all. He was a man who lived by his own judgement in all areas. Sometimes it was impeccable judgement. Sometimes not. But he truly did it his way. He didn't play it safe. He didn't straddle the fence. He "called 'em like he saw 'em".He wanted to either win big or lose big. And he was a national treasure to his fans. Leo Jr. has written a book that his father would have been proud of. Perhaps he wouldn't have been proud of the pain he caused his son(as well as other family members), but of the unflinching account he most definitely would have been proud. Not to mention the fact that another Gorcey makes the grade. In a big way.For that we can all be grateful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Dead End Kid
The Dead End Kids were a phenomena unto themselves. And Leo Gorcey was a curse unto himself. As the fame of the Kids rose, Gorcey's troubles increased, and as the fame of the Kids dwindled Leo Gorcey continued in his wild ways. "Me and the Dead End Kid" is the story of Leo Gorcey Jr., and his search for his famous father. As many children of famous fathers find, the life of Leo Jr. was no picnic. When Leo Sr. was 'on' he was funny, and had his friends rolling in the aisles. When he was 'off', he was unpredictable. Leo Sr. could be drunk, he could be in a fighting mood, or he could be agreeable.

Leo Jr. relates the story of his father's rise in Hollywood starting from his early childhood in New York working at his Uncle's plumbing shop, to his first Broadway and Hollywood success with the Bowery Boys. 'Dead End Kids' with Humphrey Bogart was a big success in 1937, and it parlayed into a string of movies for Warner, Monogram, and MGM. By the time he was finished with his movie career in 1966, he had acted in 81 movies, the majority of them as Muggs, Terrence Aloysius 'Slip' Mahoney, or Terrence J. Montgomery Mahoney.

His on stage personna as the leader of the Dead End Kids was not so far from reality. The explosive, irreverent, disrespectful, quarrelsome characters he portrayed were very much Leo Gorcey. His five marriages were not quiet, they were confrontational and filled with drunken rages and mental/physical abuse. However, the characters he portrayed clicked with his viewers. Inside the psyche of everyone of us, we wanted to lash out, just like the Boys. That quality which made him popular, was also his downfall.

Fast forward.

Leo Gorcey Jr. stood by his father's gravesite. He struggled with his emotions. Would he mourn his famous father? Or would he be thankful his torment was over? Fast forward again.

Therapy. Leo Gorcey Jr. had found the strength to seek professional help with his problems. He soon realized that through his own life he had inadvertently lived out his father's. He had abused alcohol, he had controlled women with anger and fear, and he had to stop. His struggle to learn about his father, to learn who his father was, was his therapy and the turning point in his life came when he was able to forgive his father. With the help of God, he did, and he was free.

He wrote a letter to his father, and it went: "Dear Dad:

Where do I begin? How do I describe the pain I buried deep in my heart when they lowered you into the ground that day in Los Molinos?...."

It is amazing the depth of pain that Leo Jr. endured at the hands of his father, most of it unknowingly planted. It is even a greater miracle that he has been able to grow out of his pain and share his story with us. This book is amazing. Not just from the first person perspective of Leo Gorcey Jr., or the rare photographs that dot the pages, not from the rarely heard story of a Kid, but from the deeply personal, deeply reaching consequences for NOT dealing with our pasts, and our hurts. All I can say, as I put down the book, and finish this review, is "Thanks." Thanks for your memories, and your honesty, and your not so pleasant memories of your father. Thanks for your candor and courage to tell the truth about the Dead End Kid, and his son who came back from the Dead End, and took a U-turn into a life worth living.

'Me and the Dead End Kid' is available directly from the author online at www.leogorcey.com or from www.amazon.com.

5-0 out of 5 stars It will humor you and melt you!
Leo Gorcey, Jr. is an incredible writer and his passion grabs you. His humor and wit will amuse you. For all who have ever enjoyed the "Dead End Kids," "East Side Kids," and the "Bowry Boys," you will go back to a place in your life when you looked forward to tuning in for fun and the mischievous antics of the "Kids." It was the one and only thing in my entire childhood that I did with "my dad" - hence, the meaning of going back for me was powerful!

It will take you from a young Leo Gorcey, Sr. and his happenstance into the world of Hollywood and the "Kids," his own family and the illness that ultimately destroyed him. The author writes from his heart - the anger of a young boy and the tears of a man. It truly touched my heart...

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book, *filled* with honesty and heart
"Me and the Dead End Kid" by Leo Gorcey, Jr was just great! It answered all the questions I had about Leo Sr.--from his teen years as a plummers assistant in the family business, to his time as the theatre and movie star of "Dead End", through his later years, retired, and living on a ranch about as far away from the Hollywood life as you can get. The book also details what life was like as the Dead End Kid's Kid. Leo Jr. does a wonderful job of showing that life in the spotlight isnt always what its cracked up to be, for father or son; And he shows us how as we get older, our past mistakes, and especially mistakes of those we love, sometimes become a lot more understandable. A great book. ... Read more


92. The Body of Brooklyn (Sightline Books)
by David Lazar
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0877458456
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Sales Rank: 500122
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In The Body of Brooklyn David Lazar, an acclaimed essayist and prose stylist, offers a vividly detailed, hilarious, and touching recollection of his Brooklyn upbringing in the 1960s and 70s. His immigrant Jewish heritage and his bodily history—from the travails of childhood obesity to the sexual triumphs of post-adolescent leanness—form the core of this series of essays, all of which will win the interest and admiration of readers. More-over, this film-flavored confection is so infused with Lazar's fascinating turn of mind and memory, forever digressing and reflecting upon his digressions, without ever losing the thread of his story, that his essays will give the reader the distinctive pleasure of witnessing an extraordinary mental performance.

Lazar's essays vary in their focus as much as each meanders within itself: he recalls, for example, the “melon man” of his childhood, grottoes in Brooklyn, his extensive wardrobe, and his father's “pragmatically crafty alter ego.” Constantly expanding the boundaries of his writing style, Lazar also includes a unique photo-essay that provides a series of brilliant verbal riffs on old family photographs.

The voice found within The Body of Brooklyn—unrepentantly literary, funny, digressive, and centered on Brooklyn—is quite unlike any other in contemporary literature. It will fascinate and intrigue all who listen. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking as fast as you laugh
This is a truly wonderful and unique book. Lazar's voice--conversational but concentrated, self-aware but entirely un-coy, and often just plain out funny-is unlike the voice of any other nonfiction writer I know, and his approach to his subjects is never hackneyed. He can write about such familiar topics as family, sexuality, culture and how they inform his sense of his own identity and identity in general and line by line, paragraph by paragraph, you never get that sense of "oh, he's taking X familiar line" that almost every writer gives. That's what I think the one of the blurbs means by describing Lazar as a writer's writer's writer: people who have read deeply and widely will perhaps appreciate this collection most, since they are most likely to understand the subtle brilliance that illuminates every page. ... Read more


93. Slackjaw
by Jim Knipfel
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425173305
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 215471
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Who would have thought a memoir about going blind and suffering from severe depression could be so funny? From the opening scene, when an uncle who has the same degenerative eye disease warns 12-year-old Jim, "You better start learning Braille now," Knipfel defies all the conventional responses to adversity. You can't help but laugh when a doctor "who had obviously been playing hooky when they were teaching sensitivity in medical school" tells a wailing woman who has just learned her son is dying, "Please sit down... [he] has a good two or three weeks yet." The hard-edged humor comes naturally to a guy who as a grad student formed a band called the Pain Amplifiers; we're not exactly surprised to learn that his column for an alternative newspaper prompted hate mail as well as fan letters. Knipfel's complete lack of self-pity conveys the particulars of failing vision with blunt immediacy (he wears a wide-brimmed hat so he'll feel impending lampposts before he knocks himself senseless against them). His zest for the world's absurdities makes this book an exhilarating guide to "the weirdness parade I have been marching in my whole life." --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sometime depressing, often hilarious look at an unusual life
I had read a lot of this book already when its pieces were originally published in the NY Press, but Knipfel ties it all together nicely with some new notes that really illuminate his truly interesting life experiences. I often wonder how much of his storytelling is true and how much is embellishment, but in the end I don't really care because his stories are intriguing and his sense of humor is a strong and important respite from the struggles with his various ailments (retinitis pigmentosa, a brain lesion that induces "rage seizures" if he misses his meds, etc.). I highly recommend this book, not as a story of "one man's struggle with blindness," I think that would insult the author. Look at it more as a compelling series of anecdotes from a man who's been through more than anyone really deserves.

3-0 out of 5 stars Grad Student Drunk Goes Blind In An Entertaining Way
Although I rarely read Knipfel's columns in the New York Press, I read this book in one sitting. As an oft-suicidal drunk I certainly related to much of what Knipfel wrote in this blackly comic memoir. He certainly does seem to be a bad-luck magnet. And I personally don't care if his stories are embellished--what writer doesn't, after all? (To Knipfel's neighbor: he makes it quite clear that he is not entirely blind and often does not use the cane. And he is extremely detailed, both about the retinitis pigmentosa and the brain lesions...WHY would he make that stuff up??) The writing is that of a smart, under-employed dude who prefers living on the dark side. We all know lots of folks like that. My only cavil is that Knipfel would probably feel a lot less depressed if he addressed his alcoholism frontally, but at this point it seems too interwoven into his world view and self-characterization for him to attempt that. (Believe me, I've been there.) Perhaps when he's older and the body stops being able to tolerate it. In any event, I recommend this book highly.

2-0 out of 5 stars Like reading a fifteen-year-old's journal
Jim Knipfel is an idiot, truly. He's the type of person that delivers stories on characters like Werner Herzog and Ed Gein, very self-aggrandising, and, most significant to his idiot status, fails to understand anything at all. Want to be like Jim Knipfel? Quickly read a story in the newspaper, spend the next ten years watching The Nanny, then write a story based on what you read in the newspaper, and then assume the role of expert on the whole thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inheritor of the Beats?
I like this book. I like Jim Knipfel's writing in general. He's quite good, and seems to be a naturally gifted author who's learned the ropes from his years as a columnist. In a strange sort of way, I consider him to be yet another link in the line of writers first described in the 1950s as the Beats. He measures up to many of those great truthsayers, and I always look forward to more work from Mr. Knipfel.

Long may he linger.

4-0 out of 5 stars HURRY - BUY SLACKJAW, YOU WON'T REGRET IT
Slackjaw is an entertaining memoir about the author's past. Jim writes with raw honesty and the book has a contagious personal quality that makes it hard to stop reading. Even though people may go through different hardships than the author, he writes in a way in which all people can relate. Through all the hard times, Jim takes the time to look at the ironic, hilarious details that make life, life.
This book is highly recommended... ... Read more


94. Ghost Light : A Memoir
by FRANK RICH
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758240
Catlog: Book (2001-10-09)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 221285
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There is a superstition that if an emptied theater is ever left completely dark, a ghost will take up residence. To prevent this, a single "ghost light" is left burning at center stage after the audience and all of the actors and musicians have gone home. Frank Rich's eloquent and moving boyhood memoir reveals how theater itself became a ghost light and a beacon of security for a child finding his way in a tumultuous world.

Rich grew up in the small-townish Washington, D.C., of the 1950s and early '60s, a place where conformity seemed the key to happiness for a young boy who always felt different. When Rich was seven years old, his parents separated--at a time when divorce was still tantamount to scandal--and thereafter he and his younger sister were labeled "children from a broken home." Bouncing from school to school and increasingly lonely, Rich became terrified of the dark and the uncertainty of his future. But there was one thing in his life that made him sublimely happy: the Broadway theater.

Rich's parents were avid theatergoers, and in happier times they would listen to the brand-new recordings of South Pacific, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game over and over in their living room. When his mother's remarriage brought about turbulent changes, Rich took refuge in these same records, re-creating the shows in his imagination, scene by scene. He started collecting Playbills, studied fanatically the theater listings in The New York Times and Variety, and cut out ads to create his own miniature marquees. He never imagined that one day he would be the Times's chief theater critic.

Eventually Rich found a second home at Wash-ington's National Theatre, where as a teenager he was a ticket-taker and was introduced not only to the backstage magic he had dreamed of for so long but to a real-life cast of charismatic and eccentric players who would become his mentors and friends. With humor and eloquence, Rich tells the triumphant story of how the aspirations of a stagestruck young boy became a lifeline, propelling him toward the itinerant family of theater, whose romantic denizens welcomed him into the colorful fringes of Broadway during its last glamorous era.

Every once in a while, a grand spectacle comes along that introduces its audiences to characters and scenes that will resound in their memories long after the curtain has gone down. Ghost Light, Frank Rich's beautifully crafted childhood memoir, is just such an event.
... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ghost Light Shimmers!
Fifty years ago, legendary playwright and director Moss Hart published an authobiography entitled Act One that instantly became a classic and held its place among the greatest theatrical memoirs ever written. This month, former New York Times Chief Drama Critic Frank Rich published his own story, full of passion, literacy, and wonder, that at once pays homage to Act One and transcends it. Rich has crafted the definitive stagestruck story, and there is no more significant book on growing up in the theatre. Rich's boyhood becomes a spellbinding play, a story that is joyous, crushing, funny, moving, and indelible. Anyone who cares for the American theatre, who has ever been shaken by the pulse of an orchestra begining an overture, who can find in himself even a glimmer of the passion bursting from Rich on every page, must read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the memories
Frank Rich's memoir "Ghost Light" is a painful reenactment of a lonely childhood. His parents divorced and he found solace in the wonderful world of the theatre. His stepfather shared his passion for this although he was abusive and difficult to live with. Personally, it was painful for me to read but I understood so much about my own childhood. Like Mr. Rich I found comfort in the wonderful world of cast albums, dreaming of seeing a Broadway show,keeping a vast collection of programs, etc. Mr. Rich proved to me that there were other kids like me and he had the guts to write about it. My one criticism of the book is that it tends to plod in places. Particularly in the beginning. He describes his bucolic childhood before his parents divorced with a little too much detail. Mr. Rich I salute you. Thanks for the memories

3-0 out of 5 stars yawn.
I used to live in Washington, DC so this book held some intrigue for me. But because I did not grow up in the 1950s, but rather in a time when divorced parents could be found anywhere, I was not that into this memoir about a boy from a broken home who loved the theater. Perhaps that's because I just finished a really great memoir (The War At Home by Nora Eisenberg) about something similar where the girl and boy have to help each other survive because the parents were so violent .... this seemed like the watered-down version of that. I know it's a memoir, so I don't like critiquing it, but I found it to be just boring and could not get through it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A poignant memoir
Frank Rich's boyhood story was touching, and I found I couldn't put it down! He gave a very good account of how the theatre saved him from a very loney and confusing childhood. I was fascinated with the parallels he saw in his own life and the characters in the plays he enjoyed so much. The story is told through the eyes of a child. Mr. Rich does an excellent job of providing details of life in Washington during the late 60's and the people he met along the way, and the influence they had in his life, good or bad. I look forward to his next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly engrossing memoir
I heard this book on audio tape in my car and found myself longing to go to work or do an errand so that I could get to the next chapter of Frank Rich's fabulous memoir.He remembered so many details of his life and presented them in such a candid way, that he endeared himelf to me. We listen to his feelings intenetly because he doesn't hide a thing. His joys and fears are all there and we experience them with him. I felt like I really got to watch him grow up, and I could feel his passion for the theatre grow along the way. I greatly identified with Mr. Rich because I also came from a divorced family with a very difficult stepfather. My only regret with this book is that it ended! I can't wait for the sequel. ... Read more


95. Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter
by Betty Jean Lifton
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312187661
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 389138
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The classic memior of Betty Jean Lifton's search for her secret past that helped open the way for so many others.

Betty Jean Lifton, acclaimed author of several books on the psychology of the adtoped that have helped open the field, tells her own story of growing up adtoped in the closed adoption system. Calling Twice Born both an autobiography and a psychological journey into the past, Lifton takes the reader with her as she describes the loneliness and islolation of an adopted child cut off from the knowledge of her heritage.She explores the ambivalence and guilt that she feels toward her adoptive parents when she awakens as an adult to her need to ask: Who am I?

With the mounting suspense of a detective novel, Twice Born explores not only the difficulty of searching for one's past when one's records are sealed, but also the complexity of trying to reunite with the birth mother from whom one has been separated by social taboos--and by time.

More than a vivid and poinant memior, Lifton has given hs a story of mothering and mother-loss attachment and bonding, secrets and lies, and the human need for origins.Important reading for anyone touched by these issues and by the experience of adoption--which is everyone.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A powerful memoir that should not be generalized
This is a truly moving book with poignant descriptions of Lifton's suffering as a child. She was adopted at age 2-1/2, told of her adoption at age 7 and warned by her harsh and controlling adoptive mother never to tell anyone, especially her father, that she knew the secret. Lifton grew up with the poisonous idea that an adopted child is the product of an "evil deed that hangs over most adoptions." The little girl was told that her natural parents were dead, which was a lie. It is easy to see how the adult author of Twice Born came to the view that a person is "fragmented" as long as she lacks a link with biological kin, that an adoptee is forced out of the natural flow of generational continuity, as others know it, and feels as if having been forced out of nature itself. Seen in these terms, adoptees become impotent creatures who have been denied free will. I am very moved by the story but want to say that this is the voice of one adoptee whose experience we should take careful note of but at the same time refrain from universalizing. Not all adoptees are raised by such harsh and emotionally vacant parents and also never had adopted friends with whom to discuss things. I am an adoptive mother of a daughter whom we adopted at age 4 days and who grew up into a contented, strong-willed and self-reliant young lady. Of course, we told her of her adoption, but she was not interested in searching for her natural parents. Unlike Lifton who as a toddler had experienced separation, loss, grief, mourning...going from mother to Infant's Home to Foster Home to Adoptive Home, our daughter and the other adoptees in our neighborhood were spared such miseries. Luckily, our birthmother looked for us and today we have a wonderful relationship with her and her family. Our daughter, however, does not feel she changed since meeting her birthmother, or that she became "whole" as if she had been fragmented before. Several of her neighborhood adoptee friends are also not interested in searching and consider themselves well-adjusted adults and parents. I wonder whether Lifton would have become a happy adoptee if she had been raised by loving and honest adoptive parents. Unhappily, when she found her natural mother and the link with biological kin was made, she discovered that now she "had two mothers instead of one, but since both had disappointed me, I had none." Yes, the bitter search for one's roots may take one to an empty place. It seems that the impulse of the adoptee to find the original mother, an urge traceable through the ages, exists as a force independent of the desired object, and continues even when the object has been found. Gisela Gasper Fitzgerald, author of ADOPTION: An Open, Semi-Open or Closed Practice?

5-0 out of 5 stars Twice Born
Excellent! Betty Jean Lifton has provided a realistic look inside the mind of the adoptee. She has taken us on a journey of search, reunion and all the joys and disappointments one may find along the way. The style of this book made it easy to read. Its more like a fictional novel then a clinical study.
As a Louise Wise adoptee on the path to reunion, it was nice to see that others have come through this journey in one piece and with a deeper understanding of the human condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking enough to prompt me to write my own story!
Twice Born is a wonderful and thought-provoking account of one adoptee's journey. I related on so many levels that it prompted me to write my own story.

Happiness is truly found in healing.

Kasey Hamner, Author of "Whose Child?:An Adoptee's Healing Journey from Relinquishment through Reunion and Beyond"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing in an adoptee's view of adoption
One thing's for sure: BJ Lifton can write. And she understands adoption intimately. This book really tells it like it is, from relinquishment to long after the reunion. As a birthmother, I found "Twice Born" an extremely valuable look into the mind of the adopted person. ... Read more


96. Hard Candy: Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Charles A. Carroll
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932783245
Catlog: Book (2005-06-02)
Publisher: Champion Press (WI)
Sales Rank: 296037
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97. Wayne: An Abused Child's Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope
by Wayne Theodore, Leslie A. Horvitz
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0936197455
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Harbor Press
Sales Rank: 32934
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars RIVETING
I hate to start with a cliche like, "You won't be able to put it down", but from its very first words,this book kept my eyes riveted to the page. Fortunately, you can easily read it in one or two sittings. From the time he was born until he ran away from home as a teenager, Wayne Theodore's life was nightmare of unimaginable abuse and neglect at the hands of his violent father. But this story isn't a downer. Wayne's courage and will to survive make his book an inspiring and uplifting read. In its dramatic climax, sparks fly when Wayne and his siblings confront their mother and father on the Sally Jessy Raphael TV show. At the end of the book, Wayne breaks the cycle of abuse and makes a success of his life, but continues to struggle with the emotional scars. This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a dramatically charged and inspiring story, especially if you care about children. It has special meaning and insight for anyone who has ever struggled with issues of self-esteem.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure of Hope For All
I write this inspired beyond belief! I am a survivor and am always looking for positive ways in healing. Wayne's story will forever be a gift! I read almost nonstop and after a reading marathon, I was literally speechless! I think it's best to share what I wrote:

What an inspiration!
Awe-struck by a unique spirit!
Years of survival bravely endured!
Never will I remain silent after reading!
Endless courage in facing reality!

Thankful for others' sharing inner strength!
Helping many who remain in terror!
Endurance of a Massachusetts message!
October has more color due to this book!
Decisions made that are truly heroic!
Ongoing daily struggles better than giving up!
Reaching through what I call "black blood."
Everlasting gratitude for your presence, Wayne!!!

Dedicated to and inspired by Wayne Theodore!
John C. Ireland
October 2, 2003

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Touching and Inspirational Story!
Wayne's story touched my heart deeply and made me realize how life-altering and psychologically destructive child abuse is. We are never really free from the pain of abuse although, as in Wayne's case we can rise above the pain and reach out to others. He determined to share his story with the world and he has done so in beautiful prose and with a striking humility and gentleness of spirit. What a Hero! God bless you Wayne for telling your story.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of The Best books about child abuse out there
This is an excellent book about severe child abuse and neglect. Once I started this book I could not put it down. This is a must read for anyone who likes true crime books and it is very detailed about the abuse. I loved the writing style Another good book is child abuse trauma a book that I felt was a waste of time was Wednesday's child a book about child abuse and adult depression it was too vague Another good one is death from child abuse and noone heard. That is very detailed also

5-0 out of 5 stars Wayne
I was assigned to read Wayne for my Sophomore Health class, and I was dumbstruck. This book was amazing and I strongly encourage students and parents alike to read this amazing story of Wayne Theodore's life. His trials and tribulations of his life are ever so inspiring. At times I wanted to put it down, but at the same time I couldn't let myself. Its would be a shame to give away any of the details but I can truly say after reading this book I've been given a new outlook on life. ... Read more


98. A Hole in the World: An American Boyhood
by Richard Rhodes
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0700610383
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Sales Rank: 365936
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When he first published A Hole in the World in 1990, Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes helped launch and legitimate a decade-long publishing phenomenon--the memoir of abused childhood. In this tenth anniversary edition, Rhodes offers new reflections on the abuse he and his older brother endured at the hands of their terrorizing stepmother and negligent father. He also describes readers' powerful and moving responses to his book, considers his changing sentiments as the years have passed, and provides additional details on his brother Stanley, who remains the author's true hero in this moving memoir. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars powerful autobio of abuse and growth
This is a moving memoire of Rhodes' abusive childhood and how he grew out of it but still carries much of it with him. He is such an exquisite writer that every page aches with anger and regret. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand what some foster children go through. One of America's best writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a drink of purest water
Mr Rhodes' writing is clear as a pristine lake, to the bottom of which one can see, with all stones, underwater plants, fish and monsters visible in sharp outline. I could not put the book down; it made me weep; following his story made me feel both tenderness and horror, and led me to both healing of brokenness, and deeper sorrow for brokenness that can never heal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Rhodes is a fine writer--but this exceeds writing
Some books excite you; some bore you; some interest you. This book embraces and engulfs you. It is impossible to imagine anyone reading it without both raging and exhulting. A wonderful, beautiful, searing book. The first paragraph (which I read to my students as an example of 'The Event That Most Changed My Life') will suck you in so far you'll read it with fury, passion, and an intensity that makes both most autobiography seem limp and most writing seem pale. Richard Rhodes is a fine writer, but this book is more than written. It is bled.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brutal, honest, heart-breaking. It made me angry.
I read Hole in the World while writing the story of my own dismal childhood. It made me realize that mine wasn't as bad as I had thought, even though it was pretty bad. This is a shocking book, one that causes tears to fall thinking about this boy suffering at the hands of a stepmother while his father did nothing, abandoning his responsibilities as a father. It is shocking that school officials and neighbors didn't intervene. Hurray for Stanley's courage in going to the police. Most shocking of all is to know, from volunteer work I do now as a retiree, that this kind of abuse continues and, if anything, society is even less able now to stop it or cope with the effects on its victims.

5-0 out of 5 stars I felt the pains of the children turn to trust and healing.
I did not read this myself, but heard it read on a local FM station by Dick Estell - the "RADIO READER". I could hardly wait for each day's half hour installment. As the heart-wrenching sorrow and confusion of abuse and abandonment of the author and his brother turned into rescue, trust and healing, this story kept me glued to the radio. Though out of print, it will be inspiring to anyone who loves to see the wonder of human helping human, and the spirit's ability to heal and overcome adversity. ... Read more


99. Kitchen Privileges : A Memoir
by Mary Higgins Clark
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743206053
Catlog: Book (2002-11-19)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 152013
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In her long-awaited memoir, Mary Higgins Clark, America's beloved and bestselling Queen of Suspense, recounts the early experiences that shaped her as a person and influenced her as a writer.


Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories about the people and things she observed.

Along with all Americans, those who lived in New York City's borough of the Bronx suffered during the Depression. So it followed that when Mary's father died, her mother, deciding to open the family home to boarders, placed a discreet sign next to the front door that read, FURNISHED ROOMS. KITCHEN PRIVILEGES. Very shortly the first in a succession of tenants arrived: a couple dodging bankruptcy who moved in with their wild-eyed boxer; a teacher who wept endlessly over her lost love; a deadbeat who tripped over a lamp while trying to sneak out in the middle of the night...

The family's struggle to make ends meet; her days as a scholarship student in an exclusive girls' academy; her after-school employment as a hotel switchboard operator (happily listening in on the guests' conversations); the death of her beloved older brother in World War II; her brief career as a flight attendant for Pan Am (a job taken after a friend who flew with the airline said ever so casually, "God, it was beastly hot in Calcutta"); her marriage to Warren Clark, on whom she'd had a crush for many years; sitting at the kitchen table, writing stories, and finally selling the first one for one hundred dollars (after six years and some forty rejections!) -- all these experiences figure into Kitchen Privileges, as does her husband's untimely death, which left her a widowed mother of five young children.

Determined to care for her family and to make a career for herself, she went to work writing scripts for a radio show, but in her spare time she began writing novels. Her first, a biographical novel about the life of George Washington titled Aspire to the Heavens, found a publisher but disappeared without a trace when the publisher folded. (Recently it was rediscovered by a descendant of the Washington family and was reissued under the title Mount Vernon Love Story.) The experience, however, gave her the background and the preparation for writing Where Are the Children? which went on to become an international bestseller. That novel launched her career and was the first of twenty-seven (and still counting!) bestselling books of suspense.

As Mary Higgins Clark has said when asked if she might consider giving up writing for a life of leisure, "Never! To be happy for a year, win the lottery. To be happy for life, love what you do."

In Kitchen Privileges, she reflects on the joy that her life as a writer has brought her, and shares with readers the love that she has found. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mary Higgins Clark
Kitchen Privileges is a very interesting biography.
I love Mary Higgins Clark novels, she's my favourite author, so It was interesting to read her life.
It's well writing and you never get bored.
She tells us about her youth and when she got married and had children.
I was cheering for her with the beautiful courtship and marriage and the births of her children. And saddened by the pain of losing her loved ones .
If you like memoirs, this book is an excellent choice to pick up!

5-0 out of 5 stars You will want to cheer Clark's resilience and success!
When an author achieves the success of Mary Higgins Clark, readers might assume her own personal story came wrapped in a neat package like one of her mysteries. But as all of Mary Higgins Clark's devoted fans know, she was not published till long after she was widowed with five young children. In KITCHEN PRIVILEGES, her memoir, she tells her remarkable story. We are often skeptical (and rightly so) about success stories; they can be a little too good to be true. But when confronted with Mary Higgins Clark's resilience, drive and determination, you will want to jump up from your chair --- and cheer her success.

Clark's writing here has the same honest, breezy style that makes her books such fun to read. Mary grew up in an Irish neighborhood in the Bronx where family was everything. Her dad died when she was still in grammar school, forcing the family to change its lifestyle quickly. Her mom took in boarders, offering them "Kitchen Privileges," which is where the book got its title. Life in the Bronx for Mary meant hours at the kitchen table listening to her aunts talk about family stories. Many of these became the characters and grist for her later stories.

Later in life she moved to New Jersey with her husband and young family. Both the Bronx and New Jersey have given comedians and jokesters plenty of material. As Mary says, "It has always amused me that I've had to defend the two places where I've spent most of my life, the Bronx and New Jersey."

Mary loved to write and she loved to read, and she approached life with a jaunty style that kept her striving for success --- and achieving it.

She also loved to act and, for a while, subsidized her family's income with appearances in television commercials. The highlight was a commercial for Fab laundry detergent that ran on I Love Lucy and several daytime soap operas. It was quite an achievement for the girl who never got a speaking part in the grammar school school play! Wouldn't you love to see that commercial today?

Her husband Warren was a man with whom she shared both love and laughter. Though they had known each other their entire childhood, their courtship was nothing short of whirlwind. Their first date came soon after Pan Am hired her as a stewardess. Hungry for travel, she knew this was a way to see the world. On their first date he told her he knew they were going to be married, "Fly for a year. Get it out of your system. I'll take my mother to drive-in movies when you're away. We'll get married at Christmas."

Mary and Warren bottled up a lot of wonderful times into their short years together. Sadly he died of a heart condition in his early 40s, leaving her with five small children. The love and respect they had for one another got her through many a dark day in the years ahead. Working at a job writing radio shows, commuting, attending night school at Fordham and trying to keep her young family happy and worry-free required a lot of energy.

Recognizing that writing was something she always wanted to pursue, she began to rise at 5AM to write before her children awoke. Her first book, ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS, which was re-published earlier this year as MOUNT VERNON LOVE STORY earned her $1,500, less the 10% commission. Her next book WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN brought her success --- the paperback was published and landed on The New York Times bestseller list. Her career as a novelist was on her way.

My favorite story in the book came the day her second book deal was made. I am not going to share it here lest I spoil it for readers. I read those pages and imagined how she felt when she finally hit the place she had hoped to get to. For anyone who has ever worked hard for success, I dare you to read that section dry-eyed.

I have had the pleasure to meet Mary Higgins Clark on more than one occasion. Each time she has been wonderful company and our conversation has been filled with her great humor. She is as good as listener as she is a storyteller, a skill honed at the kitchen table so many years ago. She is the kind of person to whom you wish endless good things and happiness for all that she has given to people.

--- Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald

5-0 out of 5 stars Clark's voice comes through clearly
The voice of Mary Higgins Clark comes through clearly to her many readers in "Kitchen Privileges." Her story-telling skills are on display as she relates the events through the decades of her life. Populating the story are family and friends, dear to her, and a theme throughout (though understated) is her warm Irish pluck, that courage that enabled her to raise five children when she was left on her own as a young widow. Clark is modest about her highly-honed writing ability; also, she never overplays her unfolding story. Instead she carries the reader along in a highly competent, yet matter-of-fact style---it's like she's
refusing to take the role of heroine. The woman we meet in these pages is modest, immensely likable, and still young in spirit after all these years and all these best sellers. Clark's memoir deserves the highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching book by a wonderful author
I've been reading Mary Higgins Clark's well-woven tales of mystery since I was a little girl. I long admired and enjoyed Mrs. Higgins Clark's gift for writing entertaining mysteries with characters that still seemed like "real people". When I saw her memoir available I scooped it up immediately and read it in one afternoon. Several times I laughed out loud and cried tears of sorrow reading about her life from its humble, beautiful beginnings in the Bronx to her struggle as a young widow with five small children. I had no idea that the author had undergone such a road in her life to reach the success and fame she now well deserves. I highly reccomend this book to any Mary Higgins Clark fan, or anyone who would like to read an account of a resourceful, tender on the inside, tough as nails on the outside lady. Bravo!

3-0 out of 5 stars cut too short
i enjoyed learning about her youth and how she got into writing but she cut it off way too soon . i would have liked to have read about after she got published and became so successful. ... Read more


100. Eleven Stories High : Growing Up in Stuyvesant Town, 1948-1968
by Corinne Demas
list price: $25.50
our price: $17.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791446298
Catlog: Book (2000-07-07)
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Sales Rank: 424609
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Eleven Stories High is a memoir of a middle class childhood, the perceptions of a girl growing up in a New York City housing project that the author deemed “a utopia of the fifties.” The story follows the process of memory, rather than the conventions of chronology, and explores the concept of "home," how a place like Stuyvesant Town--impersonal, symmetrical, utilitarian--shapes a childhood. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
This book is wonderfully written. It tells a great story in amusing and moving detail of normal family life- the family life most of us had. The description of Stuyvesant Town is mostly accurate. I grew up there in the '70s and '80s and my family and many friends are still there. There are some details that are just wrong (or at least are wrong about the Stuyvesant Town of the '70s and '80s)and keep me from rating this a 5--the author's one sentence slam against Republicans notwithstanding. The residents of Stuyvesant Town mostly were Catholic , not Jewish as claimed by the author. ... I knew none who did. Overall, a good book about the relationship among a child and her parents. Stuyvesant Town residents, past and present, will appreciate discussions such as the longing for a dog in a place where cats weren't even allowed in apartments. Males who grew up in Stuyvesant Town will certainly wish they could read about Little League and playing sports in playgrounds 9 and 11, which is not discussed in this book. A good book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Another Stuyvesant Kid
I was excited to read this as I too grew up in Stuyvesant Town. It was disappointing. The author presented her experiences as indicative of all, and actually made some factual errors. For example she stated "the majority of residents were Jewish". It not only is untrue, but on the face of it would seem highly unlikely. Why would this development be so out of kilter with the population at large? She also indicated that most of the residents had cleaning women. Not to my knowledge, though I bet my mother and the mothers of my friends (and those of my 6 siblings) wished that were true. I may be nit-picking, but since I found the writing less than engrossing, I found the inaccuracies hard to excuse. It may have taken me back, but I kept wanting to ask the author what in heavens name she was talking about. It was unfortunate that the author didn't present this as her reminiscences rather than "the" story of growing up in Stuvesant Town. I suppose any of the many Stuy Town kids (or former residents) would enjoy a quick read of this, but it probably wouldn't be of much interest to anyone else.

5-0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL
What an absolutely delightful book! THIS is what the childhoods were really like for most of us who grew up in the 40s and 50s. I grew up in suburban California but I still identified with the author in almost every emotion, every situation she describes, even though I had always thought those poor kids who grew up in the high rise apartments in New York were really missing out. Not true! I read a lot of memoirs, and I have to say I am so tired of DYSfunctional parents, DYSfunctional situations, etc. This book is like a breath of fresh air. I don't mean to imply that all was peachy keen, but the upsetting situations the author faced were not built into huge life happenings that she was going to take a lifetime to deal with. She had a good childhood. She made a good childhood for herself. She should be very proud of this book and I hope it gets more publicity so it won't be lost in the deluge of memoirs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Revisited
As an ex-New Yorker whose first apartment as a married woman was in Stuyvesant Town, this lovely memoir brought me back 28 years. The descriptions of life there matched and echoed what my husband and sister-in-law always told me, and reflected my experiences as well. The added attraction for me was that the author graduated from Hunter High School, my alma mater, her mother taught at Stuyvesant High School, where my husband attended, and the vignettes of my education at Hunter brought me back to Lexington Avenue and 68th Street in a way that only my own year book could. This is a beautiful piece of writing and I would encourage all with ties to New York and the places of Demas' youth to spend the time reading. ... Read more


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