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Closing Time: A Memoir Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 16, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Closing Time is not refreshing, nor is it delightful. Anyone who has had to deal with an alcoholic in the family can relate to the author's love-hate relationship with his father. Other reviews have chastized Queenan for being self-serving and of not seeing any good in his father. Quite the contrary, I think Queenen does a good job of trying to find some good to wrap around his father's memory. It is obvious that Queenan owes his love of language and reading to his father, and gives him credit for such. And in a perverse way, Queenan's retreating into books as an escape became, in part, his salvation.
The book holds a particular interest for me. I grew up in that neighborhood about 10 years before Joe. I left just as the neighborhood began to change, in the early 60's, but this book rang true to the personalities, the sounds, the catch-phrases, and the mind set of the place. As a Protestant, I remember being very jealous of the Catholic girls at St.Benedict's because they got to wear white dresses and veils for the May procession. I can also remember my mother chastising me for walking home from school with a "colored boy", and telling me to be carefule of Eye-talians". As appalling as that sounds now, it was what it was.
Some reviewers seem to take offense that Queenan is so hard on his father, only assigning blame. I wonder what book they were reading. I think the author gives quite a number of people in his life credit for having set him on a track other than the one he might have traveled. That includes his father. Is he bitter, and can he be scathing with respect to some of his father's peccadillos? You betcha, but having lived with an alcoholic parent, I can relate.Read more ›
I have been a devoted fan of Queenan's writing, most particularly his razor-edged and often mean-spirited cultural, sports and entertainment critiques, for a dozen years or more. In a more general sense I've taken a particular delight in his ability to construct sentences juxtaposing highly elevated concepts and terminology with the lowest quality crap culture cliches. I've even tried to mimic that skill in my own work, often at the cost of misunderstanding or offensiveness to sensitive readers. It's something of which I never tire and there's a more than a fair amount of it in Closing Time for regular Queenan fans.
What is also in Closing Time that is seldom seen anywhere else is an unflinching, unforgiving and unapologetic description of not only the conditions, but also the mindsets, of people moving back and forth in the vague area between the working class and the underclass.Read more ›
"MY FATHER GOT BROKEN WHEN HE WAS YOUNG, AND HE NEVER GOT FIXED. HE MAY HAVE WANTED TO BE A GOOD FATHER, A GOOD HUSBAND, A GOOD MAN, BUT HE WAS NOT CUT OUT FOR THE JOB. HE LIKED TO DRINK."
The author is at his best in two modes... when he summarizes a situation... and when he provides a character study that combines "street-sense" and humor. An example is his succinct summary through a poor families eyes foretelling soon-to-be trouble in paradise: "WE HATED TO SEE HIM START DRINKING, BECAUSE AS SOON AS HE OPENED THAT FIRST BOTTLE OF BEER WE REALIZED THAT HE HAD ALREADY GIVEN UP ON THE DAY." He makes it blatantly clear that his family did not mirror the idealistic families portrayed on TV. "OUR FIFTIES FAMILY LIFE BORE NO RESEMBLANCE TO THE WORLD OF LUCY AND RICKY RICARDO OR WARD AND JUNE CLEAVER. WARD DID NOT BEAT HIS CHILDREN WITH THE BUCKLE OF HIS LEATHER BELT.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is not worth reading. Google Queenan and Branagh and read his savaging of one of the greatest actors of his generation before spending a dime on anything Queenan writes.Published 5 months ago by Michael K. Cantwell
Gut wrenching tale of abusive alcoholic father and son and family. Shows the triumph of human resilience. Read morePublished 6 months ago by E Kyle StClaire jr
I 'discovered ' the author,Joe Queenan when I started to buy Saturday edition of Wall St. Journal 3 yrs ago. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Susan W. Adams
This book is a riveting read. I found it to be personally thought-provoking and enlightening in the sense of the author's reactions and conclusions to the situations he was placed... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kathleen Personius
Joe Qeenan has written a wonderful memoir, filled with humor, style and interesting events. It was hard to put the book down. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Writer/Reader
For anyone who grew up in household terrorized by a father in name only, or knew someone in similar circumstance this book will haunt you. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Chris Gargan
A great book about overcoming a rough childhood and about the joys of familial love. Very well written and very touching. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Barry Wolfe
A funny and beautifully written memoir. Queenan has a unique view on the events of his childhood, but then, it is his childhood. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Joe Gaspard