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Thank You for the Music: Stories Paperback – January 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060564539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060564537
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,204,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like a favorite old mix tape, McCafferty's collection of 14 stories tugs at the heartstrings and illuminates life's pivotal moments. In "Family on Ice," a spunky X-ray technician longs for a divorced man who's smitten with their mutual friend; at a Christmas party, she - a self-proclaimed "third wheel" - finds quiet companionship with a self-proclaimed "family bum." In "Guiding Light," a young girl convinces her seemingly closed-minded mother (whose musical taste stops at Burt Bacharach) to let her take piano lessons with their new neighbor, "a mixture of a nun and an artsy-fartsy." Twenty-five-year-old Griffin shocks his parents by bringing home a 60-year-old veterinarian bride in "Berna's Place"; as his parents slowly warm up to Berna, they also begin to reassess their own marriage. Under the influence of loneliness (and some newly prescribed Paxil), the father in "Light of Lucy" contemplates shouting to a parking lot full of parents waiting for their children, "Do you not grasp that life could be more like the movies if only you got out of your stupid car and opened your heart?" Before long, he finds himself sharing the front seat with a vibrant woman who bears a striking resemblance to the late, great Lucille Ball. Though some character types seem a bit overplayed, McCafferty (One Heart) offers tales as down-to-earth as the Bruce Springsteen tunes that unite a lonely woman with a young boy from the other side of the tracks in "Dear Mr. Springsteen," and as irresistible as any pop song.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

McCafferty (One Heart, 1999) has a wicked sense of humor and a whimsical way with a plot. In the 14 stories collected here, the spiky humor is omnipresent, and the outcomes are never predictable. In "Family on Ice," a lonely X-ray technician is invited by her elegant friend to a family outing ("Did I mention that the very idea of a family that goes ice skating together is beyond my ken?"). There she meets the "family bum," who reminds her how big life can be, how the world is "lit with grace." In "Bernie's Place," a 25-year-old man brings home his 60-year-old wife to meet his folks, improving the family dynamics in an unexpected but welcome way. Elsewhere, a Paxil-popping divorced father drinks hot chocolate with Lucille Ball. Loneliness and the unexpected, life-affirming connections that people are capable of forging with strangers are favorite themes. Music is ever-present, sometimes in the background, sometimes more prominently, serving as a cue to both mood and meaning. These are funny and uplifting stories for fans of the form. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Selvaggio on April 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Thank You for the Music" is McCafferty's third major published work and her second collection of short stories. This is a collection that celebrates the contradictions and mysteries of our lives and shows us why we're worth writing about, worth reading about, worth thinking about, and, ultimately why our lives are worth living. Few people are able to find the sacred in the ordinary as well as McCafferty does. So while many of these stories begin with our very mundane selves - the jealous brother and husband, recent empty-nesters (who have only themselves and their "achievements" left to live with-or to avoid), insomniacs who are moved to graced risk by misapportioned devotion to pop stars, the family misfit, the suburban father, frustrated by the life he seems to have gotten painted into, and others - McCafferty perseveres and penetrates each protagonist deeply and keenly for more, faithful to her belief that there is more, lots more. Often, we can't see beyond what we think her characters should be; neither can most others in her stories. But it's because she's able to expose what lies beneath all our foibles so respectfully, so artfully, subtle but important epiphanies emerge. And in being witness to them, we get all that blessed residue.
McCafferty's writing is both visionary and clear, both mystical and well grounded, both spontaneous and well organized. Reading this book, her first collection of stories, and her wonderful novel, "One Heart," I'm reminded of Richard Yates, both for his writing ability and, unfortunately, for the fact that he wasn't aptly appreciated during his time. If this collection doesn't move McCafferty out where she deserves to be, it's not going to be for want of a solid achievement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By avidreader on January 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now that 2004 has ended, I can say with confidence that this is the best story collection of 2004. It's one of the best collections I've read in years -- and woefully ignored. Whenever I direct someone to this collection, I get this response: WOW! Please discover this writer.
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Format: Paperback
What a treat! I've discovered a new short story favorite. This collection is worth reading if only for one story in particular, "The Dog That Saved Her." Well, also, "Dear Mr. Springsteen." Two of my very favorite short stories ever, up there with the best of Lorrie Moore and Amy Bloom. Please pick up this slim, moving, surprising gem of a book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Jane McCafferty has captured the quiet suffering, the individual pain, the shared longing that so characterizes so many of our lives. I ached for those longings young people feel for each other. I listened in on a late-night conversation over chocolate milk and fried potatoes and felt the loneliness the wanted to share. Thanks for the music and the truth.
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Format: Paperback
Jane McCafferty's compilations are like musical selections from a favorite cd. You can feel the characters and setting, and find yourself getting caught up in the outcome of each short story, hoping the next selection is just as lyrical. Filled with bittersweet hope, this book does not disappoint. Thank you-Jane.
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