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Townie : a memoir by Andre Dubus

Townie : a memoir (edition 2011)

by Andre Dubus

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5993116,356 (3.88)47
Title:Townie : a memoir
Authors:Andre Dubus
Info:New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2011.
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Townie by Andre Dubus III



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This memoir is alternately disturbing and moving, as Andre Dubus, III, tells the story of his rough childhood and determination to get a grip on his life, first through physical strength and violence, and later through finding a way out of that trap into a more self-contained existence. Writing served as his escape route, and we are all the richer for that.
May 2012 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | May 14, 2017 |
This is an honest, gritty biography by Andre Dubus III, son of a much-loved author. The book also reveals much about the father's life. This is a hardscrabble book about the stark realities, fear, danger and general disarray of the author's life, and how his father's actions affected him and his 3 siblings. The book is full of run-on sentences and profanity. That's how it was, I suspect, so those things give the reader a feel for this family's day-to-day living and the people and things they encountered.

The writing style is spare, so the story moves along quickly. This is a guy book, in my estimation. It's about things guys worry about and care about. It's about a life different from many, and we should embrace that, understand it -- understand the realities of another's existence.

I can't say I liked the story very much. It was hard. The gist of the story was uplifting, though, which isn't apparent until later in the book. The story made me want to read something by Andre's father. And I hope he keeps writing. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
Another review where the half star would have been a more accurate rating.

This is a really powerful - almost overwhelming memoir at times. The most striking thing about it for me is that we are the same age and he grew up just a bit north of where I was but we might as well have been on different planets.

It was a bit long and too much of a muchness after a while but there are some really extraordinary passages about living with and perpetrating violence.

( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Now don't get me wrong this is not a bad book and I can see why there are so many 5 star reviews. It's a warts and all story about Andre Debus 111 and his somewhat chaotic, violent and erratic life from a skinny frightened youth to a violent drug induced teenager and finally an author and writer of some eloquence. His parents divorced at a very early age and it was left to his mother to raise four children in the depressed drug and crime atmosphere of a small Massachusetts town. Always in the shadows was the figure of his father (Andre Debus 11) who still retained a great influence and hold over his son even though he no longer resided at the family home and seemed to use his position as a Professor to entice and attract love and attention from his young students.

In order to obtain some recognition and respect in his community the young Andre embarks on a fanatical weight training programme and by so doing uses his new enhanced and almost psychotic strength to bully intimidate and violently attack those who might do him wrong. This forms the central point of this story and yet there comes a time when the fighting must stop and Andre must question the truth of the path he has chosen for to do otherwise would surely result in his violent demise. The answer and his salvation come in the form of discovering his gift as a writer and author.

This is a story about hope, love, and the strength and support of family. In that respect it is a good and exciting read, but I became somewhat disillusioned with the endless fighting fuelled with copious amounts of alcohol and drugs resulting in me becoming somewhat distracted and glad when I finally concluded. ( )
  runner56 | Sep 2, 2016 |
the first 1/3 of the book was pretty good. it's abut a kid growing up in a tough area of boston with an interesting family dynamic.

the other 2/3 was not believable (think james frey's 'a million little pieces') and terribly repetitive.

memoirs are great when they reveal truth and horrible when they inflate the ego with lies and exaggeration.

on so many levels, i kept asking where was dubus' editor??? ( )
  Joseph_W_Naus | Jul 20, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393064662, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: Rarely has the process of becoming a writer seemed as organic and--dare I say it--moral as it does in Andre Dubus III's clear-eyed and compassionate memoir, Townie. You might think that following his father's trade would have been natural and even obvious for the son and namesake of Andre Dubus, one of the most admired short story writers of his time, but it was anything but. His father left when he was 10, and as his mother worked long hours to keep them fed, her four children mostly raised themselves, stumbling through house parties and street fights in their Massachusetts mill town, so cut off from the larger world that when someone mentioned "Manhattan" when Andre was in college he didn't know what they were talking about. What he did know, and what he recalls with detailed intensity, were the battles in bars and front yards, brutal to men and women alike, that first gave him discipline, as he built himself from a fearful kid into a first-punch, hair-trigger bruiser, and then empathy, as, miraculously, he pulled himself back from the violence that threatened to define him. And it was out of that empathy that, wanting to understand the stories of the victims of brutality as well as those whose pain drove them to dish it out, he began to write, reconciling with his father and eventually giving us novels like House of Sand and Fog and now this powerful and big-hearted memoir. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:10 -0400)

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After their parents divorce in the 1970's, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed, or killing someone else, or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn't have been more stark or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself.… (more)

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