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Balsamic Dreams: A Short But Self-Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation Paperback – June 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is a loose collection of essays that excoriate, dissect, and firmly pin to the dart board the stereotypical "Baby Boomer" (a term which, with his usual irony, Queenan capitalizes). For Queenan's purposes, the official definition of a Baby Boomer is slightly outside the officially recognized statistical boundaries and includes those born between 1943 and 1960 or 1962. In his "Disclaimer Chapter," Queenan humbly acknowledges his own membership in this group.Read more ›
Joe Queenan is a capable writer, but if he is capable of being funny Balsamic Dreams is not proof. The Baby Boomer generation is a huge clown faced target over ripe for lampooning, this book is not the lampoon to look for.
:( :( :( :( :( :(
I can just hear readers saying: "But I Know people like that". Ok so do I , that does not make this funny. I know people who are not like that, does that make anything funny?
When Martin Luther posted his indictment of the Roman Catholic Church, a lot of people said "I know Bishops like that!" and " I know Popes like that!" Yet Luther is never listed as a comedian. This is a guy who had Scheisse fights with the devil incarnate and no one reads his essays on the Comedy Channel.
I was really looking forward to Joe Queenan's Balsamic Dreams. I am from the trailing edge of the Boomer Generation. That means I got to watch free love turn to AIDS, before I could properly indulge. I got to observe the "mother nature's best" turn into addiction berore I could be a flower child. I watched as riots in Chicago ruined the election hopes of a democratic candidate just so we could have the Watergate hearings that would end a republican presidency and then have those same graduates of the flower power generation elect Ronald Reagan. Then having tuned out, they then tuned into Rush Limbaugh.
Never mind what your politics may be, this flow of events cries for biting satire. Queenan bites, but he does not understand how to make it funny. It does not help that he guarantees that this book has no future by running long lists of names, mostly of bands, without lifting a finger to explain why he fills pages with those rock musicians he anoints as cool while denying the musicality of those he rates as un-cool.Read more ›
Some of the jokes are out of date (particularly about 'four equal tranches with the first two splices reverting to the underwriter' and such- there's a lot of 'Chinese paper' under the bridge since then), and as the Boomers have aged fifteen years, some of them have 'gotten off the stage,' (some of them), so that a passage like this is less biting than it originally was:
Get off the stage. One of the things that Baby Boomers hated about their parents’ generation was the refusal of moldy icons like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to hit the showers. Our attitude back then was: You had your day in the sun; your day in the sun lasted a lot longer than it should have; now get thee hence. But Baby Boomers have done exactly the same thing. Keith refuses to go quietly. Cher still thinks she’s hot. John McEnroe has challenged the Williams sisters to a tennis match. Honestly, is this any way for impending retirees to behave?
What I still like about the book is that amid all the wisecracks, Queenan will deftly slip in some astute observations (I think of it as very Irish. One reason I like Joe Queenan is because he sounds like my friend Mike). Take this, for example, in a chapter about the 'negatively symbiotic' relationship Gen X-ers have with Boomers:
... Then, inevitably, Baby Boomers became mildly nostalgic for the detritus of their youth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Funny at first, but after a couple of chapters it was just more of the same and sometimes a bit mean-spirited; so I tossed it in the donate box. Read morePublished 2 months ago by EBK
Dull and self-centered as 94% of the generation he's writing about. I'd sell you my copy for under a cent if I hadn't already thrown it in the trash.Published 3 months ago by CityBoyInBurbs
wow! What a painful yet hilarious look at the Baby Boomer Generation. Genius.Published 6 months ago by David Gonzales
Very funny! I'm a baby boomer and I like his witty turn of phrases that described the baby boomers perceptions of the world at large and their role in it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Michael Francis
I read a Joe Queenan article in a magazine and couldn't stop laughing. The book was interesting, but not as amusing.Published 17 months ago by Sandra Cohen
It's encouraging to see so many reviews of this book. People must be desperate to escape TV. And let's not miss there are a decent number of positive reviews. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Stewart Nusbaumer
After picking up Joe Queenan's fine "One for the Books" a couple weeks ago, I vowed to read all his books. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Timothy R. Sullivan
This sad collection of disconnected essays about how Baby Boomers have failed to live up to their promise is a most disappointing series of insults and slurs against an entire... Read morePublished on October 16, 2013 by Donna Einhorn
Joe Queenan's devastating and hilarious book--"Balsamic Dreams" is one of the wittiest and most insightful books ever written on the second or really third rate secularist... Read morePublished on May 28, 2012 by Sycophants and Quislings Abound