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Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir Hardcover – October 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Biblioasis; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926845315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926845319
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A great comic actor, if he or she sticks around long enough, might win not an actual Oscar but a consolation prize: a lifetime achievement award. The National Book Award needs something similar for America’s comic writers. Among the first I’d nominate is Bruce Jay Friedman, whose prose, over the past five decades, has mostly been a pure pleasure machine. . . . There’s a bit of Larry David in Mr. Friedman . . . There’s a bit of Joseph Heller and Nora Ephron and Peter De Vries and Calvin Trillin and early Philip Roth in him too. . . . Mr. Friedman returns now with Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir, a buoyant book . . . about a kid from the Bronx who finds early literary fame; fritters away some of his prime years, dabbling in movies and theater; makes and loses a load of money; eats very well; has close and funny friends; sleeps with more than his allotment of beautiful women; and, agreeably for his readers, has a way with anecdotes.”—DWIGHT GARNER, New York Times

"Jaunty, dishy ... Highly readable."—New York Times

"Delightful ... one of those memoirs that's a large, refreshing pleasure, and worth pushing aside everything else to read."—The Longest Chapter

"A literary star, frequently mentioned alongside Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth ... In Lucky Bruce, readers get fresh, amusing stories from Friedman's life in letters."—New York Times Style Magazine

"Friedman tempers hot remarks with humor (often hilarious), and affection for friends and foes alike ... refreshingly candid ... never mere dish."—WSHU Public Radio

"Lucky Bruce is no ordinary self-story; it's a delightful addition to the catalogue of the last Mark Twain Leviathans—writers like Mario Puzo, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonnegut."—Brooklyn Rail

"In this rousing memoir, [Friedman] relates taking on Natalie Wood as a secretary, helping Barbra Streisand in from the rain, and gaining Mario Puzo as a close friend. yet Friedman is refreshingly down to earth. He shares his journey from the Bronx to Broadway with wit, charm, and a distinctive voice ... Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"A terrific memoir, informative and invigorating. As I was reading it, I found myself going slower and slower because I began savoring the humor, wit, and pathos." —Ha Jin

Lucky Bruce is a deeply funny memoir from one of the most deeply funny writers in American literature. Bruce Jay Friedman has written yet another masterpiece. —Andy Borowitz

[A] hilariously juicy memoir... A life story that consistently charms with candor and the seasoned wit of a master storyteller who’s certainly been around the block... [T]here are plenty of stories here to solidify Friedman’s ranking as a supreme satirist.—Kirkus

"A true testament to decades of hard work ... in true Don Quixote fashion, Friedman is fascinated by everything going on around him."—East Hampton Star

About the Author

Bruce Jay Friedman: Novelist, playwright, short story writer and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman was born in New York City. Friedman published his first novel Stern in 1962 and established himself as a writer and playwright, most famously known for his off-Broadway hit Steambath (1973) (TV) and his 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. In addition to short stories and plays, Friedman has also published another seven novels, and has written numerous screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated Splash (1984). He resides in New York City with his second wife, educator Patricia J. O’Donohue.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
"Lucky Bruce" is _very_ good.
Chris Ward
Very highly recommended as a work of history and reading pleasure.
Cary B. Barad
A perfect title for his memoir.
Paul Beckman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Ward VINE VOICE on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Friedman writes like nobody else. I read "The Dick" when I was 15 and turned into a lifetime BJF fan. That impossible-to-replicate voice of his, deadpan, conflicted, simultaneously droopy and defiant, makes him one of the stand-out humorists of the late 20th century. His short stories: brilliant. Plus he's a snappy dresser. And does it hurt that his son Josh writes like an angel and his son Drew is a world-class caricaturist?

I guess you could say I'm a fan. And for me, this memoir is a delight from start to finish. Friedman talks about his early days in magazine publishing, cranking out copy for the Men's Adventure rags whose covers used to make my eyes bulge out of their sockets when I was too short to reach the top row where they were exhibited. Friedman seems to drift effortlessly from the cheesy cheesecake milieu of SWANK Magazine into literary respectability with his novel "Stern," an instant hit, followed shortly thereafter by "A Mother's Kisses," another hit. Hit plays and novels and movies followed-- and some flops. Don't forget the flops-- Bruce doesn't. Along the way he shares hundreds of little stories about the famous people he's worked with and clashed with and fallen in love with. And what about the short stories-- did I mention they're brilliant? After reading "Lucky Bruce" I went back and reread "Brazzaville Teenager" and "When You're Excused" just to remember how good he can be.

He can be _very_ good. "Lucky Bruce" is _very_ good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cary B. Barad on December 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A really funny autobiography written in a breezy and intelligent style. Most notably, the author recounts his early childhood, complete with hilarious anecdotes about various family members and quirky characters in his Bronx neighborhood. His rise to fame was apparently a combination of raw talent and luck. His recollections of his airforce days are equally entertaining. Along the way, we are treated to side splitting asides, incidents, comments and run-ins with such luminaries as Norman Mailer, "Jerry" Salinger. Phillip Roth, Marlene Dietrich and even Hemingway's brother. Very highly recommended as a work of history and reading pleasure. Very good photos are included.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Jay Friedman on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
wonderful book, couldn't put it down. One of the best I've ever written. Buy it if you can. Bruce Jay Friedman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Reilly on November 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the play STEAMBATH and read a good review of this autobiography in The New York Times so I decided to order it. As terrific as the review in The Times was, I must say the book is even better. Not only did I laugh out loud as I read about the author's life, but I also felt I understood how to live better. Bruce Jay Friedman's self-deprecating wit made me grasp the importance of facing life with wit, honesty, and energy.

Some autobiographies and biographies show us great people but leave us thinking, "How in the world could I ever be like that?" This amazing book makes us think, "I could find a way to enjoy life, to use my talents, to struggle with humor like this incredible author. I want to live like this man. I want to be like this man."

I fell in love with the author as I read the book. What better recommendation is there than to say you wish you knew the man, you wish you could BE the man? Order it for yourself, your friend, your dad, your brother, your husband. Order it for somebody. It will make the person happy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Derman on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many years ago I read A Mother's Kisses and laughed out loud. The only other books I ever did that with were Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim and Donleavy's "The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners".

The latter is devilishly funny. Lucky Jim is funny but also perceptive. A Mother's Kisses is funny too, but much more perceptive about adolescence, trying to grow up and break away from parental ties and from a fascinating womanly but ultimately suffocating mother whom he's loyal to. Everything in the book is psychologically plausible and yet unexpected and surprising and elliptical. The character is alive, some sort of cross between Holden Caulfield and Woody Allen and Alexander Portnoy, Jewish, with a strong urge for survival at all costs. But mostly it's astonishingly funny and psychologically deep.

I read some of Friedman's other books -- Stern and the play Scuba Duba -- and saw the PBS production of Steambath in 1973, which I intend to regretfully download off some illegal website tonight if I can't find it any other place.

I remembered all this when I saw a review of Bruce Jay Friedman's new memoir Lucky Bruce, whose title makes reference to Lucky Jim itself, one of my favorites, and so I bought Lucky Bruce. I'm half way thru and it has the the throwaway comic style of A Mother's Kisses, but admittedly more contrived and self-indulgent. It's the disingenuously frank memoir of an old guy who still feels young, trying to make a point and remind you who he was in the literary hey-day of NYC in the 50s 60s 70s, when he was the discoverer of Mario Puzo, friend of James Salter, boxer against Norman Mailer, etc etc etc. Lots of self-acknowledged name-dropping. Nothing deep.
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