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Stay Hungry Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345319664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345319661
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,971,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on March 6, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I imagine most people who pick up this novel today are doing so after seeing the film of the same name with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I did. And sorry I am. While the book is surprisingly better than I expected (ah, the writer is a southerner, I realized), it is a traumatic experience to discover that the lovable characters do not meet the happy ending portrayed in the film.

The novel is better art than the film and accounts for some of the eccentricities. Arnold's character, Joe Santo the bodybuilder, is incongruous in the film, while in the novel we find that the be-sandled Saint Joe with long black hair moves through the book like a messiah figure, or at least a prophet, spreading the gospel of staying hungry: "Being comfortable's like a profession or a religion, or uh, a philosophy. You get in there and you can't get out. You get fat." In a scene entirely left out from the film, the characters attend a rodeo where they participate in sacrament-like activities. Joe then helps one of the characters fulfill his dream of riding a rodeo bull, rewarding him for "staying hungry". However, the character is almost killed. Likewise, Mary Tate and the protagonist's lives fall apart in their own ways after briefly experiencing an ecstatic life together. Santo references Keats' poem Ode to Melancholy, from which we learn that pleasure and pain are inextricably linked, and that only those who are prepared to experience Melancholy can take Joy to the limit.

In the end, the protagonist does not sell his inherited family home over the mountain as in the film, but retreats into it, too weak to do what's necessary to stay hungry and experience the cycles of joy and sorrow that the Romantics make into the meaning of life. What are we, the reader, to make of this?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L on March 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book better when I first read it years ago. It didn't make much sense to me this time around. What did Craig do that was so bad to make Santo and Franklin and Mary Tate hate him? He got a bit drunk at the big party and was bragging about Joe Santo, that's all. And then Joe Santo was helping Thor at the end, even after Thor was convicted and sent to prison for murdering Mary Tate - but he disliked Craig? Huh? What am I missing here? And then Franklin was complaining that Santo might have married Mary T if it wasn't for Craig? Then why did Santo fix them up in the first place?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tozer on April 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charles Gaines brings the reader into a world mostly unknown, the seemy underworld of body building in the sixties. This was before Arnold made body building popular in the culture. In fact, Arnold played Joe Santo in the excellent movie made from this novel. The novel is beautifully written. Gaines approaches this truly unique world with a proper sense of wonder and amazement. The characters are strong and rich. Gaines has a unique ability to make us care about this world that most folks barely knew existed. He is a wonderfully talented writer. We really wonder why he has not been much heard since the original publication of this excellent novel. In any case, this novel is hugely entertaining and well worth the time. The message itself, "Stay Hungry - - for life!" is well worth the price.
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