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I WAS LOOKING FOR A STREET: A Memoir Hardcover – September, 1988

7 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Charles Willeford (1919-88) Charles Willeford was a professional horse trainer, boxer, radio announcer and painter. He was also a highly decorated tank commander (Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Luxembourg Croix de Guerre) with the Third Army in the Second World War. Willeford, the author of twenty novels, created the Miami detective series featuring Hoke Moseley, which includes Miami Blues, Sideswipe, The Way We Die Now and New Hope for the Dead. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Pr; 1 edition (September 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881501123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881501124
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on June 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In I Was Looking for a Street, Charles Willeford (1919-1988) tells in straightforward fashion what his early life was like. Orphaned by age 8 and a rail riding drifter by age 13, Willeford's childhood was a tough one. But there isn't an ounce of bitterness in this memoir. Instead of cursing his misfortune, Willeford sees each setback he endured, no matter how terrible, as a learning experience.

With a minimal amount of sentimentality, Willeford tells how the middle class life he was born into rapidly evaporated when tuberculosis claimed both his parents and, a few years later, the Great Depression thrust his beloved grandmother Mattie into poverty. He goes on to compellingly describe his life as a "road kid" among the hobos and tramps who hopped freight trains in a never ending journey to absolutely nowhere.

Fans of Willeford's novels and short stories will definitely want to read this short but amazing autobiography. Told with the author's trademark matter-of-fact style, the anecdotes contained in I Was Looking for a Street are quite interesting and reveal a lot about the origins of Willeford's unique worldview. Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Geary on December 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a shame. This is such a great book. Unfortunately, this edition is so full of typos, missing words, superfluous words and other editing mistakes that it becomes infuriating to read. What kind of publisher doesn't even bother to use spellcheck? So much for honoring Willeford's work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lemmy Caution on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Charles Willeford was America's finest writer of crime fiction -- and other kinds of fiction. If you haven't read Willeford yet, what are you waiting for?

Quick -- drop that latest piece of trash about a Vatican conspiracy involving Italian Renaissance painters and frozen alien fossils or whatever -- and track down one or more of the following: "The High Priest of California", "Wild Wives", "The Black Mass of Brother Springer", "The Woman Chaser", "Cockfighter", "The Burnt Orange Heresy", "Miami Blues", "New Hope for the Dead", "Sideswipe", "The Way We Die Now", "Kiss Your A-- Good-bye", "The Shark-Infested Custard", or anything else by Willeford, including the above autobiographical title, "I Was Looking for a Street".

Though most of Willeford's work could be classified as crime fiction, two of his finest novels ("High Priest of California", "Cockfighter") don't really focus on crime at all.

Some writers use too much dialogue, others use too much description. Willeford strikes a perfect balance -- before you get past the first page, you know you're in for a great read.

Willeford demonstrates what great writing is: great plots, characters, dialogue, prose style -- and you get to learn all kinds of valuable information about things like the used car business and art criticism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Helvey on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charles Willeford was a gifted writer, able to capture a scene with a few well-chosen words and make the commonplace interesting. I Was Looking for a Street is a far too brief memoir of a slice of his life. In this volume, relased after his death, Willeford tells of his childhood, not hesitating to point out both the jagged edges (such as the deaths of his parents) and the sweet days of living with his loving, capable grandmother. The most intesting action takes places when Willeford hits the road as a teenager during the Great Depression. He tells of his journeys in matter-of-fact, unemotional prose, leaving the reader wanting more. One gets the impression that this memoir was work Willeford had created either for his family or to serve as an outline of a novel that apparently was never realized. An interesting work, but one still in the developmental stages. It could have been a wonderful novel, and this review wishes Willeford had written it. I enjoyed the book, but wanted much, much more, which, I suppose, is, in its own way, a compliment.
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