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Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New…
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Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York

by Adam Gopnik

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J. P. Donleavy once wrote a hilarious novel titled A Fairy Tale of New York. Adam Gopnik's masterpiece could be just as aptly titled. He has, however, chosen a somewhat more prosaic title while letting the content of his non-fiction work read very much like the title of Donleavy's opus.

While Gopnik's story is solidly a New York story (of both the people and the place), it's equally a story about bringing up children in "the city that never sleeps" (even if they do). Whether the city itself contributes in a measurable way to their development is, of course, anyone's guess. It could well be that with their privileged genetic inheritance, they were simply meant to become the extraordinary children the author makes them out to be. But Adam Gopnik, himself, has no doubt played a critical role in their development, and we have him to thank and admire for the end result.

As a parent, myself, of two rather creative children, I felt (and feel) a certain kinship with Adam Gopnik and fully expect our progeny to one day share a communal spotlight.

In the meantime, I thank him for an extraordinary read. It has been a long time since I could honestly say of a book that I didn't want it to end. I say that now without qualification about Through the Children's Gate and urge not only would-be parents, but also appreciative readers to open their eyes, minds and hearts to this gift of a book.

RRB
10/11/12
( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Through the Children’s Gate continues the author’s story of his family which began with Paris to the Moon where the NYC-based writer and wife moved to raise their toddler son in the surrounds of Luxembourg Gardens. Now, five years later and just prior to 9/11, the family has relocated back to New York City, and to be specific, Manhattan. However, unlike the first book, the precocious children (a daughter had since been born) seem more peripheral than central to this memoir. Nonetheless, the LOL imbroglio with his son encapsulates the author’s experience on parenting and his poignant coda on that situation exemplifies optimism in the face of life’s misunderstandings. Like the earlier work, Gopnik’s perceptive and lucid writing offers an accessible intellectuality that leaves the reader feeling clever for having read the book. ( )
  lukespapa | Aug 31, 2011 |
Some of the essays, especially the first one, are a little hard going, but overall, a very nice book about New York and raising children there. You will especially love the stories about Olivia and her imaginary friend. ( )
  Marliesd | Mar 27, 2011 |
Gopnik and his wife decide to move with their family from Paris back home to New York City. The chapters of the book consist of little stories about Gopnik’s kids, about life in New York City after living in Paris, about New York after 9-11. The subject of the chapters is not important. Gopnik has a way of writing so well, so thoughtfully, that the real subject is clearly living itself. Trying to battle what Gopnik calls “the screens,” the video and computer and game screens that have taken over the lives of Gopnik’s children and all American children, was the chapter that hit closest to my heart. ( )
  debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
Light, Shadows, and the Rambles: Adam Gopnik's flashes of elucidation are brilliant and memorable, but his self-indulgent ruminations puncture the mood he's so able to evoke so poignantly. "Through the Children's Gate" needs a ruthless editor (his young daughter, Olivia?) to urge Gopnik to rethink his ramblings and perhaps combine them as a single, diaristic whole--and leave the pristine quality of the best essays--on Varnadoe, Peter Pan, the goldfish--to stand briilliantly on their own.
1 vote mugwump2 | Nov 29, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0676978266, Hardcover)

Following Adam Gopnik’s best-selling Paris to the Moon, the adventure continues against the panorama of another storied city.

Autumn, 2000: the Gopnik family moves back to a New York that seems, at first, safer and shinier than ever. Here are the triumphs and travails of father, mother, son and daughter; and of the teachers, coaches, therapists, adversaries and friends who round out the extended urban family. From Bluie, a goldfish fated to meet a Hitchcockian end, to Charlie Ravioli, an imaginary playmate who, being a New Yorker, is too busy to play, Gopnik’s New York is charmed by the civilization of childhood. It is a fabric of living, which, though rent by the events of 9/11, will reweave itself, reviving a world where Jewish jokes mingle with debates about the problem of consciousness, the price of real estate and the meaning of modern art. By turns elegant and exultant, written with a signature mix of mind and heart, Through the Children’s Gate is at once a celebration of a newly fragile city and a poignant study of a family trying to find its way, and joy, within it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Following Gopnik's Paris to the Moon, the adventure continues against the panorama of another storied city. Autumn, 2000: the Gopnik family moves back to a New York that seems, at first, safer and shinier than ever. Here are the triumphs and travails of father, mother, son and daughter; and of the teachers, coaches, therapists, adversaries and friends who round out the extended urban family. From Bluie, a goldfish fated to meet a Hitchcockian end, to Charlie Ravioli, an imaginary playmate who, being a New Yorker, is too busy to play, Gopnik's New York is charmed by the civilization of childhood. It is a fabric of living, which, though rent by the events of 9/11, will reweave itself, reviving a world where Jewish jokes mingle with debates about the problem of consciousness, the price of real estate and the meaning of modern art.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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