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A Boy From Bethesda Paperback – April 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (April 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475985916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475985917
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Had me from beginning to end.

McKay's new novel follows a group of young men who come of age in Bethesda, Maryland. Starting as 10-year-olds meeting at the local ballfield, it continues through high school, college and beyond. From first loves, madcap adventures, to parents deaths and for some, their own, the author captures it all in a can't put down style. If you're a baby-boomer you've shared many of these experiences yourself. It's like it really was starting in 1956. Captivating for all.

From the Author

The setting for the book is the town I grew up in, Bethesda Maryland, and some of the scenes are based on events that actually occurred. It took me a year and a half to write the manuscript and I realized I needed a cover that brings to mind the old days. A friend had a picture from 1958 of his Pop Warner football team - the Bethesda Colts that are in the story - that I thought perfect.

Customer Reviews

Great story, unexpected ending and an easy read.
Rick Reed
Bethesda was a great place to grow up - playing outside until all hours of the night with the neighborhood kids.
ourives
The book is well plotted and filled with complex and credible characters.
M. Gidding

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven T. Newby on April 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McKay's new novel follows a group of young men and women who come of age in affluent Bethesda, MD. Starting as 10-year-olds meeting at the local ball field, it continues through high school, college and beyond. From first loves, madcap adventures, to parents deaths and for some, their own, the author captures it all in a can't put down style. If you're a baby-boomer you've shared many of these experiences yourself. It's like it really was starting in 1956. Captivating for all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phil C on June 4, 2013
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If you grew up in Bethesda as I did, in the 1960's, you did every thing that Dennis McKay's lead character, Johnny O'Brien, does in this sensitive but not soppy novel, "A Boy From Bethesda." When tragedy strikes at a young age and one has an entire life to live, there are going to be successes and failures. However, with two strikes against you, because of life's unfairness, looking forward to getting married, raising a family and living to old age can be challenging. Such is the case in this nifty little account of growing up in a suburb of Washington, DC with your buddies, playing baseball, meeting girls and trying to make a living. Even though people who hail from Bethesda will recognize the names of places in the book, such as Ayrlawn Recreation Center, Walter Johnson High School and Ocean City, Maryland, if you grew up in any similar suburb in the US you probably had many of the same experiences, but not with the kind of black cloud hanging over your head that Johnny O'Brien has.

This is a casually written, breezy kind of novel that you will want to read quickly, put it down, and then read again and say to yourself, yeah! I remember those feelings growing up and now that I'm 60, flashbacks are wonderful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B -Town Boy on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
There have already been many well written and appropriate reviews submitted. I whole heartedly agree with them all. As a boy that grew up in Bethesda, the book's story, time, and place references evoke many palpable emotions and fond recollections. This sleepy little town that was my home during the story's 50's and '60's earlier period, was a perfect setting for a young person to develop ever lasting friendships and character. You did kid things on your own or with your friends, all day long. You organized your own activities, you fought your own fights, and got yourself out of trouble. You made your own fun, as someone else commented - how true.

This story is especially enjoyable and poignant for those of us from this town. The landmarks are so real today; the schools, Arylawn baseball football and basketball, Suburban Hospital, Hot Shoppes, etc., and of course, Brown's store. I had to have set foot on its' old wooden floor several hundred times to buy a creme soda or return used coke bottles for a couple of cents each. Just for the fun of it, I stopped by one day in the late 80's. I bought a creme soda, and thought I recognized the old man behind the counter, but thought I was just imagining that. But then he said, "you look familiar". I couldn't believe he said that. I shared my connection, and after a brief reminiscing and a few laughs I felt my eyes swell with tears - he had a few too. Since most those my age lived in similar communities in their youth, I think this story will have great appeal to them. But to all others as well, because in the end, this is a story about the happenings of the closest of young friends, their paths taken, and their aging together - nostalgia to be enjoyed by anyone. Happy reading from just another boy from B - Town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Jager on March 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writing is not particularly polished. It drags a bit now and then. But I enjoyed it because I grew up in Bethesda back in the day and I actually know some of the people the characters were fashioned after.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SJA on August 1, 2013
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Although I didn't grow up in Bethesda (nor am I a boy), I still found myself connecting with A Boy in Bethesda. If you're a boomer, you've likely had similar experiences. So many of us enjoy looking back at that easier time of life when we were free to roam and play, when we had favorite hang-out spots, and when our friends were all in and out of each other's homes. I know I felt like I had many moms. And just like in the story, those bonds of friendship have lasted through the years and are still there! A Boy from Bethesda brought all those good memories rushing back. It reminded me of how lucky I was to grow up when & where I did! A Boy from Bethesda is a heartwarming story of friendship that is guaranteed to make you smile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Adrianse on June 6, 2013
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Having moved to Bethesda in the summer of 1960 as a 13yr old and living just up from Ayrlawn on Oak Place, Johnny's story transported me back to a time when kids entertained themselves and all you had to do was walk to the park with a ball. While the book is a well written story about how a personal secret can have a significant impact on one's life, Mac's description of Johnny's early to mid teens was so "real" that even after 2 weeks I'm still having flashbacks.
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Dennis McKay has written a charming and genuine story about growing up in Bethesda, MD, in the 1950's and 60's, containing equal parts of charm and pathos. Heartwarming and nicely written, it inspires memories of a reader's own youth, high school, and early adult days.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Dennis McKay was born in 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in Bethesda, Maryland where he joined the Writer's Center in 1998. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife Christina. They have one grown child, a son, Brendan. For thirty years he was a concrete contractor and after retirement turned to his attention full-time to storytelling. On writing fiction McKay says, "An idea comes to me and I pursue it where it leads me. Fiction writing is funny that way."
A Boy From Bethesda is his third novel and is based on his experiences growing up in Bethesda.