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Big Babies Paperback – November 1, 1996


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425154572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425154571
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,047,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this hilarious novel from the author of Diminished Capacity, narrator A.J. Fleger writes a letter to his biological mother describing his madcap adventures with his adopted brother, Sterling. A.J. quickly covers his less than idyllic childhood with a volatile father and Sterling, with whom he shares a love of television and classic movies. A.J. is a fairly aimless youth, but Sterling is determined to be an actor and so jumps at the chance to appear on a late-night comic skit program called Manhattan Live. Unfortunately, he flubs his big line and slinks away to live in obscurity. This is the frantically funny story of how the Fleger brothers evolve from that point to the one hinted at in the opening pages of the letter: "You don't know Sterling, but you may have seen him last week on CNN. He's the guy who went flying over the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve in the Little Spudge-Face Baby Safety Suit and got shot by his biological brother." A.J. meets his future wife at a meeting of Public Setback Support, a 12 step-type program for people who have made major mistakes in public. He later falls into a career in the baby-proofing business, selling protective gear like helmets for tots. Sterling has a role in a reenactment on the television show Open Cases, in which he plays the part of a man who committed a shoot-out in a library, and later is arrested when his neighbors?obviously not grasping the reenactment concept?call the show's 800 number and turn him in. Kiraly's latest is a brilliant satire, packed with coincidences and wry observations about contemporary American culture.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Kowinski on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
What kind of comic novel is this? Its modest hero reminisces about his first crush: "I would ride my bike down the hill, past her house, like Tom Sawyer showing off for Becky Thatcher. Now I guess it would be called stalking." That kind:in which every funny line says something about the character, and something about the world we live in. Think of a kinder, gentler Saturday Night Live. Can't do it? Then read this book, and see how a basically decent and sincere guy who never thought he'd amount to anything manages to survive the kind of chaotic childhood and addiction-endangered coming of age that's become all too normal, as well as an ensuing romp through our show biz/support group/merchandised- emotions society, while trying to keep up with his obsessed older brother and grabbing at the brass ring of true love. Sherwood Kiraly's narrator A.J. Fleger guides us in a fast-moving story of excess and coincidence with such irony and innocence that it all seems pretty realistic. (This only gets scary when you think about it later.) Along the way you'll learn a lot about southern California, the genius of Robert Lansing, and be introduced to a Gershwin tune called "Blah Blah Blah. " You might say that this is a book about how to find success on your own terms, in a culture that sets us all up for failure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on July 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sherwood Kiraly has a dynamite book. This is a coming of age story. AJ Fleger is adopted and has always known this. He writes to his birth mother for the same reason we read about in the press--medical information. He allows that possibly a reunion is a bad idea. AJ has an adopted brother Sterling. It was always clear they were not related by blood. They were persons in an ordinary family. Sadly by the time AJ, Adlai, was a teenager it was dysfunctional. There was an angry father who drank too much. Eventually AJ himself becomes a member of AA. For twelve years he was a sentimental drunk. He scraped paint and sold encyclopedias. The father died in 1983 after a third heart attack. He had mellowed by then. At his funeral AJ found out that Sterling was a job coach. Sobering up was the first accomplishment of AJ's life. His brother Sterling failed in his television debut in the 1970's. In 1990 AJ urged him to join a support group for people who had had public setbacks. AJ accompanies Sterling to a meeting and becomes interested in a singer. She will not commit to a date but tells him she is appearing in a lounge at a ski resort. He ends up falling down the intermediate slope at the resort and his failure to injure himself causes the singer to laugh. He decideds to stay in California to cement the relationship. In subsequent months he meets Abby's family and they marry. Not to soon afterwards there is a daughter, Maggie. Sterling goes back into acting, but mainly as a stunt man. Then Sterling has the misfortune to meet his real family, so-called, (I will not disclose the details of the plot here), and finally seeks to redeem his career and self-esteem by embarking upon a super stunt in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve. The author writes effectively in a plain and funny style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Blum on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, and I am not usually one to read humorous novels. The main characters are just the right mix of funny and real that I find myself thinking I'm probably related to some of them. I'll have to check at the next family reunion. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "skankdog" on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
From the first page until the very last this book satisfies. Hilarious chain of events brings these 2 adopted brothers to a reckoning with themselves during a funny showdown at the end involving Las Vegas, Charles Manson, a cannon, a gun-toting library loather, and some zoned out cult members. Intrigued? Buy the book and kick back.
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