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Kick In the Head: Stories Hardcover – April 4, 2000


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Hardcover, April 4, 2000
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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

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (April 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385498535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385498531
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,646,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From childhood days at camp to barhopping nights as adults, men who do not want to grow up and women at least as peculiar find inventive ways to hurt each other in this quirky, affecting debut collection. "On the sixth day of her hunger strike," the first of 12 short stories begins, "Lydia Martinez entered my dreams and immediately died there." The narrator of "Make Me," Chris Bergman, is a high school science teacher torn between his ex-girlfriend, Pearl, an English teacher in love with a student named Gabriel, and Lydia, an alluring girl also pining away for Gabriel, her ex-boyfriend. As the alleged adults are drawn into the teenagers' hormonal crisis, Chris desperately tries to avoid disaster. In brittle language, alternately painful and humorous, Rinehart continues to feel out the blurred territory between innocence and precocious sexuality. In "The Order of the Arrow," Bergman is a Boy Scout mesmerized by his tentmate, an outcast named Heitman, who sneaks out after curfew, proudly breaking the rules until the night he crashes the camp's great Indian initiation ceremony. Traditional symbols of manhood in this tale are transformed into emblems of modern ambiguity about male identity and authority. Returning in "LeSabre" to the theme of the adult child toddling precariously through life, Rinehart describes an insurance representative assuring a panicked customer that she can drive her car, addressing both her fears and his. "There's no such thing as life insurance," the representative admits. For Rinehart's heroes, failure is familiar, almost comfortable. His stark prose is marked by understated humor, moments of drama, slapstick, satiric sketches of daily routine and precise detailing of internal distress. In applying chaos theory to the emotional life of modern men, he reveals with striking clarity their lingering failures and small triumphs. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In Rinehart's engaging debut collection of short stories, men seek to make connections with women, often without welcome and rarely with much introspection or insight. But the stories ring true because the characters and situations seem real. Many of them feature the hapless Chris Bergman, who appears variously as a high school teacher, an insurance agent, and an unemployed slacker. Several of Rinehart's characters seem to drift through life without goals or direction; some have even darker sides. Two stories about adolescents, "The Order of the Arrow" and "Another Pyramid Scheme," are especially poignant, and the latter, the lone tale in the collection with a female narrator, is heartbreaking. Recommended for public and academic libraries.DChristine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chris g on August 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I went to school with the author, so I felt the need to read it. I have only read the first two chapters so far, and I can't wait to read the rest. This writing is quirky and unusual. I laughed out loud when I read about the butter patties on the cafeteria ceiling, because in my mind I can still see them in the High School cafeteria. Congratulations to Steven- his hard work is paying off!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Rinehart does an excellent job of exploring what it is to be male. His stories accurately descibe life in the midwest, and contain a variety of plots which are incredibly engaging. I found this book exceptional and recommend it to all!
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read such a magnetic, entertaining, unnerving, and thoroughly enjoyable collection in years. Kick in the Head explores the raw, delicate territory of the human condition that is the common ground between the strange and the universal. Every element of this collection is breathtakingly unique, and yet none of it feels arbitrary or gratuitious. A rare debut, Kick in the Head is a bonafide kick in the head!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles H. Jones on April 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is crystal clear sharp stuff. "The Order of the Arrow" is one of the greatest stories ever about the screwed up crap that goes with a being a boy. Nothing sweet about it. Most recent short fiction from guys is either macho crap or is fuzzy and stupid. Kick in the Head has none of that. If other fiction, especially by men, has pissed you off some much that now you only read biographies about scientists, Kick in the Head will restore your hopes for fiction. Really.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I only got through half the book so far and don't really want to read anymore. It is interesting but nothing seems to ever get resolved. I am sure he is probably going somewhere with the stories but I am not interested in waiting until the end to find out.
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