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Adventures in Nowhere Hardcover – February 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Pineapple Press; 1ST edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561644846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561644841
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,017,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Ames has written a splendid coming-of-age novel in the tradition of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. With the Hillsborough River as his trusted companion, the imaginative Danny plunges into adventures, some life-threatening, that force him to change, creating a narrative that is dark and delightful at the same time.”—Bill Maxwell, syndicated Tampa Bay Times correspondent, author of Maximum Insight

 
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Before Disney and far from the palm-lined Florida beaches, ten-year-old Danny Ryan is transplanted to a tiny community on the hyacinth-choked Hillsborough River outside Tampa, a place his older sister calls Nowhere. But for Danny and his best friend, the irrepressible Alfred Bagley, whose fondest desire is to grow up to be a junk dealer, Nowhere is where adventures lurk and lure them into more trouble than they can handle. More trouble is not what Danny needs as he copes with a family that includes a father sinking into schizophrenia; two sisters, one very ill and the other ready to run away with a shady boyfriend; and a mother trying her best to hold it all together. Adventures in Nowhere paints a compelling, imaginative, and often humorous vision of a time, a place, and a way of growing up, allowing a reader to live for a while in the mind of a remarkably thoughtful and intense boy caught at the final edge of childhood. 

 

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I found much to reflect on in this book, and highly recommend it to other readers.
mrsleshan
Overcoming his own insecurities, he's able to reach out to those who prompt his salvation and offer him hope for the future.
hrowland
The author's vivid imagination and deft handling of his story make this book difficult to put down.
tootsie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hrowland on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The cover of the book Adventures in Nowhere features what appears to be a triumphant boy standing on top of a spooky dilapidated old house on the far shore of a river. The story of how the boy came to be there is fascinating. It harkens back to a time when innocence was the norm and conquering childhood fears the rocky road to maturity. In mid-fifties Tampa, a boy is living with his dysfunctional family and dealing with problems beyond the capacity of any young child's understanding...illness, decay, and primal uncertainty. With a few friends and some mysterious new acquaintances, the young boy slowly overcomes the constraints of his narrow existence to crack open a window on the immense possibilities a wider world has to offer. Overcoming his own insecurities, he's able to reach out to those who prompt his salvation and offer him hope for the future. What a great read. It has everything: adventure, hope & despair, family, friends...even burgeoning sexual awareness...all laid out in a marvelously measured cadence. Anyone who enjoyed Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms will appreciate this book. It's a tale set in a special place at a certain time. Beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mduke on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not equipped to do justice praising this book, but this adventure gave me the most indelible reading experience in decades. As if in time travel I was drawn to the Fifties, to an out of the way part of Tampa, to the Hillsborough river, and into the troubled mind of a ten-year-old boy. This fellow contends with hard times, a loving sister slowly dying, and a father gone mad and seeming always on the brink of twisted violence. He further fears regularly for his soul since the pressure to keep his dad from that brink has led him to become an adroit and frequent lier, at odds with his well-drilled Catholic conscience. Within this conflict the author weaves a well-paced narrative among vividly drawn places and people, in which pressures mount to a point the boy finds himself falling into madness. Along the way, a wonderful assemblage of beautifully real characters divert and edify, helping him cope with the mystifying, often terrifying, adult world, and nurturing hope that for him things possibly could turn out okay. Throughout, the author concisely conveys the magical within the ordinary. This is a book I'm sure to remember.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mrsleshan on January 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
John Ames's prose is exquisite--he perfectly captures the Florida landscape, the attitudes of the mid-fifties, and the voice and humor of a young boy, Danny. The water imagery throughout the book is compelling--the river really does run through it, and at times drags Danny down. There is darkness and danger in the story, balanced by adventure and wry observation. Alfred is a delightful character, and I laughed out loud at some of the exchanges between him and his friend Danny.

In a poignant scene, Danny seeks and fails to find help from a Catholic priest with whom he tries to discuss his fear of his father.

"It was clear to Danny that he was beyond help by the church. To seek such help was to be drawn into a vortex at the bottom of which waited his father, unchained and enraged."

This passage was really powerful in the way it related to the near-drowning of Danny.

I found much to reflect on in this book, and highly recommend it to other readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Jane on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I felt that I was truly experiencing the life of this young boy Danny, that I was right inside his head. He is a creative thinker, a smart and funny character whose problems became my problems and in whose world I became immersed. That, to me, is great writing.

The setting is interesting and evocative, Florida in the 1950s. Danny's sense of humor is a great help to him (and to the reader) as he navigates his way through the curious, mundane, and profound dilemmas of living a life. There are several other engaging characters in the book as well, but Danny is the one who elevates this book into my pantheon of the books I will never forget. He made me wish that I really knew him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read an advance copy of "Adventures in Nowhere",and it is a gem, magical yet at the same time intensely real,a lyrical and beautiful reflection of the usual and unusual in American life. Sure, some of it is unique to those of of us who grew up with a crazy parent, wild sister, oddball kids on the block, and neighbors from another planet, but it is also full of authentic Americana. " Nowhere" is also Everywhere. This charming book is a walk down memory lane for us children of the 1950s and a revelation to the younger set, recalling as it does so many oddities of the past, like pant stretchers! I wonder if they still make them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By msayles on January 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book that will resonant with both those who have emerged from a traumatic childhood to become a resilient adult and with those who can appreciate the normal angst of childhood from a young boy's perspective. This well-written novel offers both insight into growing up in the 50s in Florida as well as insight into how family dynamics shape us for the future. Through well-drawn characters we are immersed into their lives as if they were our own. I give it 4 stars. I reserve 5 stars for novels like Cold Sassy Tree and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

I grew up in an environment much like the one inhabited by the central character in Adventures in Nowhere, a place of beauty and dread. In response, I learned to be light on my feet, and I developed a sense of humor to combat the trials of life.

As a young man, I wanted to be an actor and was good enough to be invited to join a summer stock company. During the season, one actor threw his leading lady against the wall for upstaging him, and another told me to stay away from his wife, a woman I had hardly looked at. Later, a stage designer got drunk and painted obscenities on the side of the theater. To cap it off, the director in chief accused me of trying to undermine the whole summer schedule. To my young mind, there was only one conclusion: theater people are crazy. I changed my college major to English.

After graduating from college, I built a pole house and lived in the woods for several years on the edge of a spiritual community. I was looking for enough solitude to allow me to figure out the world, but the yogi next door built a 200-seat church and started holding frequent services. His enterprise was a great success. One day, I woke up and found a blue Buick parked ten paces from my bedroom window, put there by someone who thought my land was parking for the church. That ended my quest for enlightenment. I moved back to town and taught English and film at a local college.

Over the years, I have tried my hand at producing short films and videos, stand-up comedy, film reviewing, and lamp designing, all with moderate success. I am told , however, that the thing I do best is writing.

I am interested in people's internal lives, how what they think and feel is reflected in their actions. I have tried to get at this in my work as a coauthor, and now as a novelist. Adventures in Nowhere is founded in the people and things I saw as a kid in Florida and my experiences in dealing with them. Growing up, I always thought I was in the middle of nowhere. In later life I realized I was really somewhere unique.

My work:

Second Serve: The Renée Richards Story (Stein and Day, 1983) and its sequel No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life (Simon & Schuster, 2007), Process and Perception--photographs by Jerry Uelsmann and essay by John Ames (University Presses of Florida, 1985), Speaking of Florida (University Presses of Florida, 1993), and Adventures in Nowhere (Pineapple Press, 2011).

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