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Lunch Bucket Paradise: A True-Life Novel Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Heyday (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597141666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597141666
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,089,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Pre-Publication Praise
"The prose is deliciously generous, precise, and evocative. The voice is wonderful, too, and it pulls the reader deeply into organic, metaphorical territory that gracefully illuminates, among other things, the psychic minefield the American family can be. I love this story!"
--Andre Dubus III, House of Sand and Fog

"...a rare find, a book that in so many scenes and shades of story has a eerie prescience for the future of California, even as Fred Setterberg helps us to remember the state's time of innocence and boom....  He's funny, wry, and watchtful - a great tour guide to his own place."

--Susan Straight,  author of Take One Candle Light a Room

"This is a growing-up story, a family story, and an American story, part banishment from Eden, part escape: a wonderful, wonderful read."

--Mark Greenside, author of I'll Never Be French and I Saw a Man Hit His Wife

"In electric prose, Lunch Bucket Paradise gives us such a sure, detailed sense of what it was to grow up in the late fifties and early sixties--from the music to the name brands to the carbon-copy houses--that we live and breathe the suburban air."

    --Judith Kitchen, author of The House on Eccles Road

"This darkly humorous and affectionate but utterly unsentimental, look at the world of the 'Greatest Generation' recreates a time as lost to us today as our own youth. Fred Setterberg is a storyteller with incisive talent and a large heart."

--John Raeside, founding editor of Oakland's East Bay Express

''Smart, funny, endearing.''--Minneapolis Star Tribune

''A wonderful book.''--Beyond Chron

''An excellent debut. One of the best new novels of 2011.''--San Jose Mercury News

''The prose is deliciously generous, precise, and evocative. The voice is wonderful, too, and it pulls the reader deeply into organic, metaphorical territory that gracefully illuminates, among other things, the psychic minefield the American family can be. I love this story!''--Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog and Townie

''Lunch Bucket Paradise is a rare find, a book that in so many scenes and shades of story has a eerie prescience for the future of California, even as Fred Setterberg helps us to remember the state's time of innocence and boom and new asphalt and post-war, all laid over the landscape of possibility. It's the narrator's voice, watching his parents--classic American characters!--navigate their lives as Californians, and Americans, in this place. He's funny, wry, and watchful--a great tour guide to his own place.''--Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and Take One Candle Light a Room

''This darkly humorous and affectionate but utterly unsentimental, look at the world of the 'Greatest Generation' recreates a time as lost to us today as our own youth. Fred Setterberg is a storyteller with incisive talent and a large heart.''--John Raeside, founding editor of Oakland's East Bay Express

''More than an autobiographical novel, Lunch Bucket Paradise is a lyrical probing into the passion and history of the working class California myth, the American dream.''--Lee Hope, editor, Solstice

''This is a growing-up story, a family story, and an American story, part banishment from Eden, part escape: a wonderful, wonderful read.''--Mark Greenside, author of I'll Never Be French and I Saw a Man Hit His Wife

''In electric prose, Lunch Bucket Paradise gives us such a sure, detailed sense of what it was to grow up in the late fifties and early sixties--from the music to the name brands to the carbon-copy houses--that we live and breathe the suburban air.''--Judith Kitchen, author of The House on Eccles Road

''A brilliantly clear window onto a world that seems alternately seductive, threatening, and intensely nostalgic (and often all three). I love his storytelling and admire his language. But I have no desire to visit to Frog Island with him.'' --Jeff Greenwald, author of Snake Lake

''Smart, funny, endearing.''--Minneapolis Star Tribune

''A wonderful book.''--Beyond Chron

''An excellent [fiction] debut.'' --San Jose Mercury News

From the Back Cover



Here are the postwar dreams of a working-class California suburb, and the struggles -- comic, tragic, and triumphant -- of those who came of age in that time and place.  With wit, tenderness, and masterful storytelling, Fred Setterberg evokes that time when cake mixes, washer-drier combos, and a patch of lawn could inspire hope of even better things to come.

"More than an autobiographical novel, Lunch Bucket Paradise is a lyrical probing into the passion and history of the working class California myth, the American dream."
--Lee Hope, editor, Solstice

"A truly absorbing read: the miracle and the horror of America's post-World War II growth, in parallel with the tumult and hilarity of coming of age in California during a time of fantastically clashing ideals."

--Kristen J. Tsetsi, author of Pretty Much True...

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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His characters are vivid, funny, and raw.
Martha S.
I love how he captures the awkwardness in our different stages of growing up and he perfectly describes the aromas that engulfed our little slice of the world.
R. Fletcher
This book covers Bay Area suburban life from the mid-fifties through the late sixties.
Tommy Traddles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Traddles on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel grabbed attention shortly into the first chapter "Children of Ike". The descriptions of the characters playing war and honing their acting skills at being shot brought back memories of doing the same.

This book covers Bay Area suburban life from the mid-fifties through the late sixties. With real 'characters' for a father and an uncle the main character grows, puzzles and matures through elementary, middles and high school; through yard work, boy scouts and garage bands.

The story is so right on I feel like it was about me.

I think you will find this an entertaining.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
It was a simpler, more innocent, time - a time when people were as enthusiastically optimistic about their own futures as they were about the future of the country. Most would also argue that it was a better period in America's social history than the one we find ourselves enduring today. But whichever side of the argument one might come down on, those of us who came of age in the 1960s will certainly find a lot to like about Fred Setterberg's Lunch Bucket Paradise.

Lunch Bucket Paradise is Setterberg's novelization of his childhood days in California suburbia. This was a period during which whole neighborhoods were being carved from the open spaces surrounding America's cities and towns, a time when carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other craftsmen worked hard just to keep up with the demand for new housing and schools. World War II and Korean War veterans were ready to get on with life. These men and women were well acquainted with what sacrifice and persistent effort could achieve, two habits that would serve them well for the rest of their lives.

It was their children, however, who reaped the most immediate benefits of all that hard work. Slick (as his uncle most often calls him) and his buddies grew up very differently than their parents had grown up only one generation earlier. Their days were spent playing "war" as they fought their way from one green lawn to the next firing rubber bands from the elaborate wooden pistols they created. Their bicycles, combined with what seemed to them to be an endless length of newly paved surfaces, gave them the kind of freedom boys their age only dream about today. They explored the world together and probably knew more about each other than they would ever know about another human being.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SFGY on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I experienced frequent bouts of hearty out-loud laughter at the accurate depictions of my generation's absurd comedic outbursts, its solipsism's and naïve wonder as they unfold so vividly in Lunch Bucket Paradise. Apart from experiencing fond memories of boyish pranks and rambunctiousness, this book brought home to me the significance of how as World War II receded something unprecedented emerged in the suburban, middle-class enclaves of America. It seems right to reflect now on where and why the urge for material comfort fed off a desire to replace what had been lost forever with something never seen before. And also to look deeper and detect how that still lingering sense of liberation from a horrific past allowed us to break-away from some of the dead-end strictures and darker aspects in the collective inheritance our parent's generation endured, espoused and at times even venerated. Lunch Bucket Paradise presents flesh-and-blood, recognizable people navigating these changes with humor and great empathy. Instead of heroic cutouts slipping self-consciously into memory and sacrosanct coinage, Mr. Setterberg offers the so-called "Greatest Generation" their postwar actions and those of their children as they actually played out. No culture or generations legacy has or likely ever will be been uniformly great and this book contains more than a suggestion that understanding the deep conflicts in present day America depend to some degree on appreciating and not forgetting what an extremely mixed historic bag we actually have come from.

Self-denial, the avoidance of all vulgarity and excess, self-evidently were never going to be the story or major legacy of the immediate post war generation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anne Fox on September 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Everything is so on the mark in "Lunch Bucket Paradise," Fred Setterberg's rich novel about the tipping-point generation of 1950 to 1970 in evolving West Coast suburbia--the voices, the characters, the setting, the grit and gumption, the heart, of postwar blue-collar America. You will want to own this novel to highlight and savor Setterberg's stunning prose style, to appreciate the voices moving through time with intimacy and humor. Alongside the narrator, you will be both participant and observer in these authentic connected stories of unusual breadth. By the time you turn the last page and wish the novel would continue, you will know that you are holding a classic-to-be in your hands.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MacInTax Alum on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This coming-of-age novel is a terrific book. It's easy to read (perfect for bedtime or public transit chunks), charming and funny. Nevertheless, Mr. Setterberg serves up a hearty helping of American life and mores between the Great Depression and the Viet Nam War. The characters can't be forgotten. Lunch Bucket Paradise left me wanting to see a sequel soon! I hope the book will be available on Kindle, too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

ABOUT FRED
Fred Setterberg is the author of Lunch Bucket Paradise (Heyday Books) and The Roads Taken, the coauthor with Lonny Shavelson of Under the Dragon and Toxic Nation, and the editor of Travelers' Tales America.

His essays, stories, and journalism have appeared in The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, The Nation, The Utne Reader, The Chicago Reader, The Boston Phoenix, and scores of other national and regional magazines. Fred earned his B.A. in English at the University of California at Berkeley and his M.A. in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. He is a former staff writer for the East Bay Express and has been a visiting writer with the Chautauqua Writers Center. He lives in Oakland, California.

WEBSITE:
http://www.fredsetterberg.com
FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/Fred.Setterberg
https://www.facebook.com/GivingWithConfidence
TWITTER:
https://twitter.com/FredSetterberg
https://twitter.com/SavvyGiving


AWARDS
Fred's writing has won an NEA fellowship; the Faulkner-Wisdom Essay Prize; fiction awards from Solstice Literary Magazine, The Florida Review, and Literal Latte; the national arts writing prize from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies; feature-writing awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association; and a citation from Project Censor for one of the year's best "under-reported" stories for his coverage of U.S. military policy in Central America in Mother Jones.

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Lunch Bucket Paradise: A True-Life Novel
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Price: $15.95 $13.29
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