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Going All the Way Paperback – April 22, 1997

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is another title being reissued as a movie tie-in. The plot of this odd coming-of-age story follows army buddies Sonny Burns and Gunner Casselman, who return to their small hometown to find that life there is the pits. LJ's reviewer found the book flawed but noted that "the vacuous milieu and grubby, banal conversations are reproduced with fidelity, and the novel is depressingly believable" (LJ 7/70).
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

... a passionate and tormented novel about the summer of 1954 as it transpired in the lives of two young Korean War veterans returning to their Indianapolis homes.... it is possible that the current publishing season will produce no book more urgently felt.New York Times Book Review



"... a passionate and tormented novel about the summer of 1954 as it transpired in the lives of two young Korean War veterans returning to their Indianapolis homes...." ―New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (April 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253210909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253210906
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dana Carpender on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read Going All the Way in a lit class called "Growing Up In America" at prep school, in 1974. The book was only a few years old then, and it was assigned along with other fine works like The Sound and the Fury, Member of the Wedding, Red Sky at Morning, and The Car Thief. Going All the Way was my favorite, and remains one of my favorites today. I've reread it many times, and have greatly enjoyed reading the whole thing aloud to two different receptive audiences-of-one.

Going All the Way is funny, wise, and true. As a girl of 16, it also taught me a great deal about men, and particularly about the visceral fear most men have of women -- the degree to which they feel we have the power to define them. It is a book that entertains, educates, and enlightens, all at the same time. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

I went to a book signing when this edition came out, so I could meet Dan Wakefield, and tell him how much this book has meant to me. I was also very pleased with the movie, which came out literally decades after the book -- while it did, of necessity, pare the story down to the essentials, it portrayed the heart and soul of the story and the characters truly.

Don't miss Going All The Way. It may not be The Great American Novel, but it's certainly *A* Great American Novel.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DMacKBlack on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most pitilessly honest and funniest books you'll ever read about early adulthood -- late high school, college and just after. The sexual preoccupation. The social striving. The uncertainty about one's future. Along the way, Mr. Wakefield captures a time and a place (Indiana, early 1950s) perfectly. You could draw a straight line connecting the art of J.D. Salinger, Dan Wakefield and Nick Hornby. Thank you, Mr. Wakefield!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
What a book. A true depiction of the male mind, regardless of time period. I don't think I could thank Wakefield enough for writing this novel. It opened my eyes to the things I've been seeing all my life
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Medusa on February 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sonny and Gunner are two recently discharged Korean War veterans, who meet on their way back home. In his depiction of the growing friendship between the two young men and the inner world of Sonny, Wakefield playfully describes the two young men's journey in search of themselves, while hilariously describing the limited male mentality and overactive sex drive that is the primary focus of so many young men.
Like his friend Vonnegut; Wakefield is brilliantly sarcastic and funny. I can imagine him smiling the same sarcastic, smart smile that Vonnegut flashes.
Admittedly, I'm not a big fiction fan, but this novel is immensely entertaining and intriguing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This novel captures the underlying unease that two young men face when they return home from the Army in the early '50's. It sketches their growing perception of all the boxes and groups that they were in before they left, like the jocks, what today would called nerds, and the sorority girls.
As they go through their first summer of freedom they begin to realize that the old home town has gotten too small and confining for them, and that it is time to go see what's over the hill. They begin to realize that they do have many choices, and the freedom to pursue them, and they try to sort out what some of them are.
Along the way there are some pretty accurate and painful descriptions of the social and sexual hangups of your average Midwestern male at mid-century.
Good stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is alternately poignant and hilarious, adding up to a wonderful satisfying read. For anyone who lived through the 50s and 60s, it will evoke unforgettable memories; for those who didn't live through it, the book is the perfect time capsule. Dan Wakefield is a national treasure.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Ben Affleck is an excellent narrator of this already hilarious tale of sex in the 50s. With interesting plot twists, and fun romps, it's great for any Affleck OR Wakefield fan! AND, if you like the book (or book on tape) you should definitely check out the movie. It's great for anyone who's ever felt sexually frustrated!!
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