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Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir Paperback – January 28, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (January 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803282419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803282414
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,169,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

"A compellingly written, often moving memoir about growing up in the American West," said LJ's reviewer (LJ 4/1/86) of McFadden's remembrances, which focus mainly on her love-hate relationship with her rodeo-champion father and the harshness of that life.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"The considerable power of this book and of these lives [is] burned permanently into the reader’s memory."—Thomas McGuane, New York Times Book Review
(New York Times Book Review)

"This funny, affecting memoir achieves a series of satisfying reconciliations. Author McFadden not only portrays and then patches up the quarrels and estrangements that raged between her and her father, she captures the tawdry colors of the Old West and mourns their fading. . . . McFadden has the rare skill of stripping away pretensions without making the people exposed seem ridiculous."—Time

"She tells a strong story well, tuning in to the sadness and the humor of it with equal accuracy."—New Yorker
(New Yorker)

"To make sense of her parents and herself, to unpeel them without fury or sentiment and also without turning everyone into fictional characters, a writer would need to go beyond autobiography into art. And this is what Cyra McFadden has done in her dazzling Rain or Shine."—Ms.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
He loved her and she adored him.
I've read many memoirs and enjoyed them while I read them, then forgot them a week or a month later.
A Customer
It's also an entertaining story told by an author with a gift for both sentiment and satire.
Ronald Scheer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jill Van Vliet on January 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Yay! Cyra McFadden's memoir is back in print! I had snapped up all the used hardcover editions I could find a few years ago when I heard it was out of print. But why?
Because this slim memoir is the kind of story that unfolds in the reader's head like a gorgeously-shot film, one that's perfectly cast and shot on locations that evoke the internal emotions of its characters to stunning effect. Cher once actually owned the movie rights on this book, then I heard nothing more of it. Her instincts were right on. If there was ever a book that cried out to be adapted into a film or a play, this is it.
McFadden grew up in the West, the daughter of Cy Taillon, a legendary rodeo announcer and his wife Pat, a one-time showgirl with charisma enough to match her husband's. Cyra grew up a little cowgirl gypsy, as the family roamed the Western rodeo circuit together by car in the 1940's.
McFadden's eye for detail in regard to smells, sounds and her childhood consciousness is extaordinary, as is her realistic depiction of her parents' tumultuous love for one another that is the basis of the story and McFadden's adult questing. The smell of cattle, the sonorous voice of her father, the taste of all-hours road food and the touch of sequins on her mother's old costume gowns....this book is filled with details that will linger in your imagination for years. Old family photos accompany the text and they are intimate and haunting. All is told in a voice that is unsparingly honest, as well as sympathetic. McFadden cherishes her vagabond childhood and gives us a technicolor look at the richness of its place and time.
Buy this book if you love a well-written memoir. Or buy it because you love the West.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Author on April 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's about time this book was back in print. In my opinion, "Rain or Shine" is the gold standard for memoir writing. I read it back in 1986 when it was first published (and a finalist for the Pulitzer that year) and reread it again just recently. Even though I have little or no interest in rodeo announcing, trick-riding, or the old (or even recent) west, I have an addiction to good writing. "Rain or Shine" is so luminous (and humorous) that it immediately captured my attention. And held it. This one's a sleeper. It would make a great movie. It reads like one already.

The story of Ms. McFadden's parents, Cy and Pat Taillon, comes to life immediately and everything they do seems fraught with such passion and abandon that we know, before they even realize it themselves, that this couple will not end up in rockers at 80 talking about the good old days together. He's a rodeo announcer who likes a drink. She sublimates her own ambitions and becomes a trick rider to be with him. Early on, we are told by members of the supporting cast (chiefly, Pat's sister, Ila Mae, and Cy's best friend, Roy) that Cy and Pat Taillon are starcrossed and mismatched, recklessly piloting their Packard down Satan's driveway and taking their vulnerable little girl with them. However, we don't quite see it that way, as young Cyra is always in her backseat bedroom (they live in the car on the road), humorously showing us that there may be a little envy involved as Cy rises to the top of his game early and stays there. Slowly, the family begins to enjoy some measure of success. Inevitably, setbacks occur.

The couple's eventual flameout is a shock, even though it isn't particularly unexpected or spectacular.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on June 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
The reference in the title is to the dedication of the author's father, a celebrity rodeo announcer, who never missed a day's work because of the weather. It's also a shorthand reference to the old song "I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you. . ." Her book is not only a tribute to her famous father but an account of a difficult father-daughter relationship that soured from worshipful love to bitterness and eventually to a kind of grudging respect in his last years before dying in 1980.
The book is also a family memoir, characterizing the lives of those awkwardly related to her by blood or marriage: the author's mother and stepfather, an older aunt and her husband, and her father's second wife. Each of them is as vividly drawn as the larger-than-life Western luminary at the center of the story - Cy Taillon, whose golden voice and gentlemanly manner won the devotion of rodeo cowboys and fans from San Francisco's Cow Palace to Madison Square Garden from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Not surprisingly, what the author's story reveals casts her father in a somewhat different light, first as the hard drinking, gambling, womanizing ne'er-do-well who married the author's singer-dancer mother after a one-day courtship. Following the rodeo circuit out of a home base in Montana, they fought and loved each other passionately, a Scott and Zelda of the Western plains, and then broke up. Following a spectacular crash at an air show in Great Falls in 1946, at which Cy used the microphone to calm the startled crowd, he became the hero he was destined to become. Assuming a life of rectitude with a new devoted wife and two new sons, he was finally launched in the career rodeo people will always remember him for.
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