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Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reissue edition (October 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385116322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385116329
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For that small but populous slice of the world reachable by radio station WOR (New York City and environs), Jean Shepherd was once a nightly fixture, back in the days when radio talk didn't shock. On the air, he would tell tales of his Indiana boyhood, which he eventually refined enough to write down. Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories collects the stories that first appeared in magazines in the 1960s and '70s. For that slightly larger slice of the world that has seen the hysterical 1983 movie A Christmas Story, the book's characters and setting will be instantly recognizable: the film was cobbled together from Shepherd's stories. (One thing you have to say for the man, not only was he funny, but boy, could he recycle.)

Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories guides you through every triumph and crisis of Shepherd's boyhood. One of the most entertaining involved the hijacking of the family's precious Easter ham:

BLAM!
The kitchen door flew open. It had been left ajar just a crack to let the air come in to cool the ham.
I rushed to the kitchen just in time to see 4,293 blue-ticked Bumpus hounds roar through the screen door in a great, roiling mob. The leader of the pack--the one that almost got my old man every day--leaped high onto the table and grabbed the butt end of the ham in his enormous jaws. They were in and out in less than five seconds.
"HOLY CHRIST!" The old man leaped out of his chair.
"THE HAM! THE HAM! THOSE GODDAMN DOGS! THE HAM!!"
They say comedy is tragedy plus time; that's why growing up is so funny. Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories--like its author--never disappoints.

Review

"Shepherd has a fine eye for absurdity, for the madness and idiocy in all of us." --Best Sellers

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
57
4 star
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See all 84 customer reviews
This is a book that you'll read over and over.
bscepter
I read it when it originally came out and bought 8 copies to give family and friends.
Patricia L. Stone-TeStruth
The title piece, "Wanda Hickey ..." is Shepherd at his hilarious best.
C. McNair Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth S Graiser on November 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you only know Jean Shepherd from the television film that ebodies three or four of his stories (A Christmas Story), you know that his take on youth, the vagaries of circumstance, the whole process of growing up, supporting a family, simply living, is skewed, and occasionally skewered by a delicious sense of humor.

If you were lucky enough to be raised in the Greater New York City Metro area and its suburbs, then you will remember Shep's story telling, nightly, on Radio Station WOR, over whose airwaves he spun tale after tale of Ralphie, Randy, their beleagured parents, Schwartz, Flick, Scut Farkas, and the others who inhabited Depression-era middle America; you know his army experiences; you relived his skirmishes with arrogance and foolishness on the streets of New York City; above all, you knew Shep. And you loved him.
His apparently easy off-the-cuff style is, of course, anything but. His written words are fashioned with consummate skill and craft. His intuition into the building of a narrative fictional event is nonpareil. His brilliance with the carefully chosen metaphor, sentence, word, glints off every facet of his gemlike contributions to American letters. He was a terrific writer. It's that simple, but because he did not write gut-squeezing Major Literary Stuff, he will be, unfortunately, forgotten.

But not to his devotees. His stories in 'Wanda Hickey...' will force you to put down the book and laugh long, hard, and uncontrollably. His understanding of the gentleness and fragility of the human spirit comes through his stories like the sweet homey smell of your grandfather's pipe smoke wafting up to your bedroom when you are beginning to dream. Shep makes you appreciate what he was, what you were, what you are just because he chose to be a writer.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By C. J Schulte on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have some advice for all you readers. With the dawn of the Internet sometimes we cast our books aside and spend more time playing around on the computer than we need to. I found myself neglecting books I wanted to read. Mr. Shepherd is a bit older than I am, so I can't relate to the years or events that he spoke of totally. He talks about childhood and teenage memories, and I found that with a little updating we can all relate to at least some of what he went through growing up. First, try turning off some of the brainless night-time shows and leaving the computer off a few evenings, so you can rediscover all books. Second, pick up this gem by Jean Shepherd. A few pages into it, and I laughed until I was almost in tears. I did this alot throughout the book. This book of memories left behind by Mr. Shepherd is a real treat! Thank you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gregory W. Wright, Sr. on November 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I was in college I used to read this book whenever I got depressed. It produced instant belly laughs when opened. My paper back copy actually wore out over the years. I had to keep taping it together or I would risk losing a page or two.
It relived depression better than Prozac.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth S Graiser on November 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you only know Jean Shepherd from the television film that ebodies three or four of his stories (A Christmas Story), you know that his take on youth, the vagaries of circumstance, the whole process of growing up, supporting a family, simply living, is skewed, and occasionally skewered by a delicious sense of humor.

If you were lucky enough to be raised in the Greater New York City Metro area and its suburbs, then you will remember Shep's story telling, nightly, on Radio Station WOR, over whose airwaves he spun tale after tale of Ralphie, Randy, their beleagured parents, Schwartz, Flick, Scut Farkas, and the others who inhabited Depression-era middle America; you know his army experiences; you relived his skirmishes with arrogance and foolishness on the streets of New York City; above all, you knew Shep. And you loved him.
His apparently easy off-the-cuff style is, of course, anything but. His written words are fashioned with consummate skill and craft. His intuition into the building of a narrative fictional event is nonpareil. His brilliance with the carefully chosen metaphor, sentence, word, glints off every facet of his gemlike contributions to American letters. He was a terrific writer. It's that simple, but because he did not write gut-squeezing Major Literary Stuff, he will be, unfortunately, forgotten.

But not to his devotees. His stories in 'Wanda Hickey...' will force you to put down the book and laugh long, hard, and uncontrollably. His understanding of the gentleness and fragility of the human spirit comes through his stories like the sweet homey smell of your grandfather's pipe smoke wafting up to your bedroom when you are beginning to dream. Shep makes you appreciate what he was, what you were, what you are just because he chose to be a writer.
Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By bscepter on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I made the mistake of reading this on an airplane once. I almost had an aneurysm trying to stifle my laughter. This is a book that you'll read over and over. Only, be forewarned; you'll have to buy multiple copies--once you lend it to a friend, you'll never see it again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MaynardG on December 1, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the person who asked where Jean Shepherd is, he passed away just recently this year. There is another thing about him that has been bothering me for years: there was a TV movie or presentation or play, I don't know what you'd call it, I guess a "slice of life" vignette, in the late 60's or early 70's, called "Phantom of the Open Hearth" written by Shepherd, that had my siblings and me on the floor holding our sides when we were kids and just happened to catch it on a Sunday morning. It made "A Christmas Story" seem sobering, and basically concerned a man whose family watches him order and receive an entire house in kit form, which he proceeds to unload willy-nilly from the railroad car, as it begins to rain. That is all I remember, and I have been unable to locate or even verify the existence of it. Please, does anyone remember this little movie, or am I mis-remembering?
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