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Townie : a memoir by Andre Dubus
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Townie : a memoir (edition 2011)

by Andre Dubus

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4752121,755 (3.94)36
Member:gemfinch
Title:Townie : a memoir
Authors:Andre Dubus
Info:New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2011.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Townie by Andre Dubus III

Recently added byprivate library, meaghyn, PaDutchTravel, lunule, SarahKat84, etbm2003, suzabelle, KRaySaulis, KRoan
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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 |
This is the memoir of Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog. I have read none of his work, and I didn't know a single thing about him aside from the fact that he wrote that book. I approached the memoir with no expectations. Andre's father (obviously also named Andre Dubus) was a writer as well, and a college professor. His parents divorced when he was a kid, and his mother was left with four kids in a tough neighborhood in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His father was a loving but remote and somewhat oblivious figure in Andre's life. After years of feeling like he was weak and a coward as his family and he himself were victimized in various ways, Andre found his way to lifting weights and fighting. The solution created a problem of its own, however, which was that Andre began seeking out ways to exercise his new-found power, even when there was really no need for it.

The story is raw, and made more so in audio form, since it's read by the author. His voice is flat and matter-of-fact, but also expressive. I'm sure that the print version is powerful as well; Dubus' description of his father offering to play catch with him, only to realize that at age 14, young Andre doesn't know the first thing about baseball, or playing games at all, is poignant on both sides. All the same, I'd highly recommend the audio version if you're interested in the story. ( )
  ursula | Jan 20, 2014 |
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For Austin, Ariadne, and Elias
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I did not look into the mirror, not yet, not in the morning.
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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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