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My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies Hardcover – May 10, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Allen Zadoff is a former theatrical director who now works as a writer, teacher, and magazine columnist.  His debut YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have was published by Egmont last fall and won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award given by the SCBWI.  He is also the author of an adult memoir, HUNGRY: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin.  He is a graduate of the  Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and currently lives in Los Angeles.  You can visit him online at www.allenzadoff.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606840363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606840368
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,510,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allen Zadoff is the author of the thriller series THE UNKNOWN ASSASSIN (I AM THE WEAPON #1, I AM THE MISSION #2, I AM THE TRAITOR #3) which debuted to starred reviews and was a YALSA Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers and winner of the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Award. It has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been optioned by Sony Pictures. A former stage director, Zadoff is a graduate of Cornell University, the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. His novel Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have received the Sid Fleishman Humor Award and was a YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults.

Visit Allen on the web at www.allenzadoff.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought this was a cute book. Quiet, interesting, and a good coming of age story. Nothing really new here, though. And it wasn't funny like Zadoff's first novel, which was a bit disappointing. I think I had really high expectations regarding the humor, though, so I felt the lack of it much more than if I'd read this book first. Newcomers to Zadoff's work may not feel the same way.

I got frustrated with Adam for letting everyone walk all over him, even though it was clear why he was withdrawing into himself. I think that, since this is a concept often used, and the way it's used here isn't really unique, I lost patience with it a little too soon. That's not to say Adam isn't an interesting character. He is. The reasoning in his head as he tries to figure out Derek was fantastic. I think that's exactly how a teenager thinks, and his reactions to the complexities of high school are wonderfully realistic.

The ending was a little over-the-top-tear-jerker for my taste, and the bow wrapping everything up was a bit too perfect. The story was still solid and enjoyable, but it didn't have that polished feel, where everything is connected from beginning to end. Again, I think I had such high expectations from his previous book that I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have. But I can see teens galore loving this story, boys and girls alike.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Adam Ziegler is a sophomore at Montclair High who has immersed himself in the technical side of theater since his artist father was killed in an accident two years ago. This semester, spring of his sophomore year, he is a lighting technician for the school production of "Midsummer Night's Dream," as redesigned by fellow student Derek Dunkirk.

During a break, Adam sees one of the bit actresses, Summer, dancing in the hall and finds himself attracted to her. This violates one of the Montclair drama students' cardinal rules: Techies and actors don't mix. This sticky situation is made even worse by the fact that the actress who had been given the lead part leaves the play -- three days before opening -- and Summer ends up the replacement.

The play does go on, but there is a major problem shortly after the play starts. Read on and see who saves the play -- and who really loves Adam.
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Format: Hardcover
Theater geek Adam Ziegler lives and breathes lighting design in his high school theater, which is large enough to have a catwalk for the lights, and filled with back-biting and intrigue between the actors and the techies. Lots of clever, snarky comments (the kind of one-up retorts I could never think of when I was in high school myself) and a teacher with a lax sense of boundaries, who shares his feeling of failure with the students and then basically abandons ship. On a serious note, Adam is dealing with frequent nightmares and he tries to work through his father's death in a car accident. A good mix of repartee and romance, with a side of seriousness. Pretty heavy on the "insider" theater talk and probably will be enjoyed most by those already a part of the high school show crowd.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read the summary for this book, I thought it would be interesting. I like theater. I like young adult novels. The title and cover looked good. What could go wrong?

This book is a case where the summary, title and cover are far more interesting than what's inside. Basically, Adam, a high school sophomore, is dealing with his dad's death and new love while working on a school show. I found the narrator very dull and the story extremely slow-moving with far too much detail about how high school theater works and far too little detail given to the narrator's personality. This just feels like it's climbing on the whole Glee bandwagon. Boring.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This backstage novel uses some conventional YA riffs to tell a story about a teenager in love with the theater -- particularly in lighting design -- who must prevail over depression (the result of his father's death), his mother's grief, high school cliques and love. The novel has something of a cardboard bad guy, and the line between techie and cast member is a little too neat -- certainly not my experience in high school. Zadoff's prose is serviceable, and the main character feels genuine pain. Also, I liked the chapter heading references to Shakespeare (it's four days to a potentially disastrous production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream").
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Format: Hardcover
I think I'm completely in love with Egmont USA. Their 2011 releases are absolutely fantastic and Allen Zadoff's latest is no exception. Filled with humor and insight into the experience of growing up, MLtTaOT (yep, that's the novel's super-long but oh-so-descriptive title condensed) tells the story of Adam Zeigler and his quest to regain control over his life. Ever since his artist father died in a car wreck, Adam's been plagued by nightmares and a crippling fear of the dark. Funny how his fear led him to a job in his high school theater group's lighting department. Of course, his best friend, Reach, might have had a hand in that decision, too.

Up on the catwalk with his precious lights, Adam can observe the world at work, without getting completely involved. Until he meets Grace, a techie who's fallen from grace (pun intended) since she dated actor-cum-student-production-designer Derek, and Summer, the actor who captures his heart. Suddenly, he's on the wrong side of Derek the Wannabe Director and his BFF. The actors think Adam's sabotaging the production but he knows it's Derek and his amazing ego that's blowing things up.

I can totally get behind Adam and his difficulties. He's so affable, so much an everyman that it's almost impossible not to root for him to get the girl, to defeat the bad guy (in this case, it's that arrogant arse, Derek, another great character), and save the entire production. In the beginning, Adam's such a doormat, just lying down and letting everyone, including his best friend, walk all over him. But once he starts to stand up for himself even just the littlest bit, I wanted to give him a standing ovation, just to encourage him.

MLtTaOT is a book you will not want to put down until you've absorbed every last drop of it. A fabulous read.
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