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My Life and Hard Times

by James Thurber

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1,0381613,992 (4.11)35
In My Life and Hard Times, Thurber returns to his starting point--the delightful chaos and frustrations brought on by family, boyhood, youth, odd dogs, and recalcitrant machinery in the quiet university town of his birth. This is one of the most deeply humorous books of our century. Not only is it a "memoir" that takes into account the crumbling of empires, it talks "largely about small matters and smally about great affairs." Mostly it is about the widely incredible things people do when they think they are acting sensibly. Yet Thurber does more than just tickle your funny bone. He has quietly and unobtrusively, but permanently, deflated your false pride in the essential sanity and prudence of the human race.… (more)
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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
St. Barts 2020 #4 - Charming sweet little book that made me laugh out loud a few times. Humble, honest and spot on with descriptions of somewhat commonplace experiences he endured in his growing up period with his family. Clear sparse descriptions of his relatively slightly crazy family, but he merely sets the stage and tells the story....he leaves it up to you to discover the craziness. The opposite of In-your-face. I like that. And his simple cartoon drawings help tell the story. nice.... ( )
  jeffome | Jan 8, 2020 |
One of my all time favorites. I started reading this one night at a friends house when I wanted to read something boring to put me to sleep. It gave me such a case of giggles, that needless to say I didn't get to sleep and it has been one of favorites for years. I had such fun reading these stories outloud to my children when they were younger. ( )
  aliciadana | Jun 16, 2017 |
This is, in my opinion, the funniest book ever written. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
This is actually the first thing I've read by Thurber. Well, the first complete piece. I discovered halfway through that I had read a bit of this book as it was included in Eliot Aaronson's The Social Animal (excellent book). It's the bit from the "flood," where everybody starts running away from a completely non-existent flood. Aaronson used it as an example of conformity, as I recall.

Anyway, though, as I said, I'd never really read any Thurber. As I read this and talked to people about it, it seems that everyone I know has read quite a bit of his stuff. I can see why. It's funny, interesting, and light. Easy to read, gives you a little kick, and then you can move on. I'll probably read some of his other stuff at some point, I'd say. This one was fun. ( )
  spoko | Nov 14, 2013 |
A humourous book, but only mildly so. I expected much more from the author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. However, these quirky reminiscences are enjoyable, if only for Thurber's inimitable style.

Aristotle said: "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think." Seeing the past through the wrong side of the telescope, Thurber is is able to invest apparently distressing events with the patina of humour which brings out his delightfully eccentric family (including himself) into focus. Read it, and remember similar "hard times" from your childhood... ( )
  Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Thurberprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hutchens, John K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mary A. Thurber
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Benvenuto Cellini said that a man should be at least forty years old before he undertakes so fine an enterprise as that of setting down the story of his life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In My Life and Hard Times, Thurber returns to his starting point--the delightful chaos and frustrations brought on by family, boyhood, youth, odd dogs, and recalcitrant machinery in the quiet university town of his birth. This is one of the most deeply humorous books of our century. Not only is it a "memoir" that takes into account the crumbling of empires, it talks "largely about small matters and smally about great affairs." Mostly it is about the widely incredible things people do when they think they are acting sensibly. Yet Thurber does more than just tickle your funny bone. He has quietly and unobtrusively, but permanently, deflated your false pride in the essential sanity and prudence of the human race.

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