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Townie : a memoir by Andre Dubus

Townie : a memoir (edition 2011)

by Andre Dubus

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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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I liked the cover, so I bought the book. I am that shallow. This memoir is not shallow in the slightest. I can't believe the life of this man has been laid so bare, for anyone to just pick up and read about. It is so personal, and so reflective and so emotional. Yet the life it describes is so rough and violent and difficult.

This book takes in all the grey-areas, nuances and half-truths that face us in modern society (and inside our own heads) and spits them out as a cohesive and rounded memoir. The conflict of loving parents who do a best that is not enough, of seeing your loved ones hurt and in pain and delivering a retribution that is made of the same, of needing to learn and to write but wondering what good it can really do the world. The big themes are treated like the tangled mess that they are, with the knowledge that there is no single solution.
I read the last third until past midnight, knowing full well I would be awake before 6am by way of a three year-old barrelling into my room at full speed. I read because I could not stop. ( )
1 vote Ireadthereforeiam | Nov 2, 2014 |

The audio book read by the author himself is a great way to experience this gritty memoir. ( )
  lunule | Aug 22, 2014 |
Gritty. At times I found it hard to get through the violence that Dubus and his family were inflicted upon and inflicted upon others. Also, found his parents to be totally into their own worlds. Amazing that Alex turned out to be as nice and good looking as he appeared on his book jacket considering his tough upbringing. ( )
  suzabelle | Aug 14, 2014 |
Dubus spoke directly to the writer in me. He understands the reason I write, the drive and necessity. I feel like portions of this were a little drawn out, but it was good. It made me want to read his books and his father's. So out of one book I found two new authors to read... ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
From the beginning I thought I would hate this book. I picked it up because it was on sale and because I recalled liking the House of Sand and Fog by the same author. I didn't realize in my haste that this was the authors memoir. How boring! Add in the fact that as an audio book the narrator was pretty monotone. Doubly boring. But something happened as I continued listening because it was a long drive and I had nothing else. I became engrossed in the story of his unusual upbringing in a variety of South Boston neighborhoods which almost seem more non-fiction and fiction and that Southy accent of the reader became less monotone and more meditative I didn't not realize until the very end of the book that the reader was Andre Dubus himself. I normally have a rule about no books read by the author, it never turns out well, but I think an exception needs to be made when it's the author's memoir. This is simply an amazing story of what can rise from the ashes of poverty and neglect and the love of a family as nontraditional a form that it came. It worked for them. I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. I loved it and it came at the right time for me in my life, listening to this boy becoming a man and the struggle he had with his father and figuring out their relationship together. It can be pretty violent at times which also may not appeal to some. But for a book I swore I was going to hate in the first hour, I couldn't stop listening too by the end and now I have to read everything Andre Dubus III has ever written. ( )
  she_climber | Jan 26, 2014 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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