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A Fistful of Fig Newtons Paperback – October 12, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of our great major humorists . . . [Shepherd] writes about our life and times, the ordinary bits and pieces that every American recognizes and that are loaded with meaning for us all.”
New York Times Book Review


“Shepherd has a style and a vision all of his own . . . A Fistful of Fig Newtons is as bright and pleasant a diversion as one is likely to encounter.”
Library Journal

“Certainly the greatest American humorist of the last twenty years, and arguably one of our best writers, period . . . A Fistful of Fig Newtons is an excellent introduction to those who know no Shepherd, and refreshment to those who do, and who would trade almost anything to be able to read him again for the first time.”
National Review

From the Publisher

From the wild and wacky world of a favorite funnyman, a dozen truer-than-life tales of tailgating on the Jersey Tumpike, infuriating infants, and other everyday catastrophes, defeats, and humiliations that are the familiar fate of Americans everywhere.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reissue edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385188439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385188432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Only the fertile mind of humorist Jean Shepherd could have thought of it. His Hoosier alter ego Ralph Parker reminisces on past events in his life once again, but this time against the backdrop of a rush-hour traffic jam in the famed Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. In "A Fistful of Fig Newtons", Ralph's memories are not limited to any particular period in his life, as was the case with "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash" (childhood) and "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters" (adolescence). Rather, he spans a wider field including summer camp, his first day of high school, Army life, and college. The reader will also enjoy a "critique" of the legendary Johnson Smith novelty catalog plus an amusing look at New Jersey. While still very witty and entertaining so as to earn a 9, "A Fistful of Fig Newtons" is more caustic and saltier than Shepherd's previous two books, mainly when Ralph's adult life is profiled. This book holds its own well as a work by a master satirist. Coming soon, my review of the fourth and last installment in the "tetralogy" of Shepherd books: "The Ferrari in the Bedroom".
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Format: Paperback
Four stars out of five? By what standard? Well, anything by Shepherd is a five star read, but when judged against "In God We Trust" and "Wanda Hickey", "A Fistful of Fig Newtons" doesn't quite rise to his own very high standards. Still, don't let this turn you off to this fine little book. While the stories (some are really essays) are not as consistantly good as some of his earlier efforts, "Lost at C" is as good (and funny!) a short story as has ever been written. All of us can identify with the poor slobs stuck in the back row of the classroom, (the "alphabetical ghetto") struggling to comprehend algebra. "The Whole Fun Cataloge of 1929" is a brilliant essay which nails American culture better than any Harvard sociologist ever has. Jean illustrated this book with his own excellent and charming line drawings...another talent not many people knew Jean had. So, for dedicated Shep fans, by all means read "Fig Newtons", and for anyone interested in a funny book, you won't be dissapointed.
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Format: Paperback
12 hilarious stories about common catastrophes, humiliating experiences, picking on toddlers and tailgating on the Jersey Turnpike. A testimonial for virtually every teen growing up in America today.

Not as good as Shepherd's first two books, but entertaining nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback
a review of early life while setting in a traffic jam. Not on the level of "In God We Trust" but a good lite read and a review of New York traffic and life in general
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Format: Paperback
Buy all of Jean Shepard's book and settle down to smiling, laughing and rolling around with a belly laugh. Jean Shepard captures pre-television life with all of the hilarious anecdotes of the time and his work brightens even the darkest of days...read them all!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jean Shepherd didn't just write "A Christmas Story"... Actually he wrote the short story from which the movie was made. But he was a lot more than that, a marvelous radio speaker, storyteller, and lover of Americana. And a hilarious critic of American life as well. Whether it's "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash", "The Ferrari in the Bedroom", or "A Fistful of Fig Newtons", Jean Shepherd is worth any American's time and money. You won't regret it!
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By leapin lizard on January 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put this collection of short stories down because it made me laugh so much. It is full of nostalgia at the same time some very relevant insights to today's world are in it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading this book last night, and stayed up late because every story was so engaging and so funny.

His writing style is... well... stylish. Not everyone will "hear" his sarcasm and dry humor. He also takes some time getting to the point. (The journey IS the adventure!)

And, oh yes, he's writing from a different era... one that's just a teensy bit politically incorrect, at times.

Once you're on his wavelength, you'll be hooked by his style, his stories, and his cleverness.

The Fig Newtons story... I didn't see that coming. Not for a second. It was a totally delicious, laugh-out-loud zinger when all was revealed.

The rest of the book is equally rich and evocative of a different time (but -- at the same time -- an Everyman experience), and ranges from guffaws to deep amusement.

But, to fully enjoy his writing, it's best to watch the movies with his narrative, such as "A Christmas Story," first.
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