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Works Cited: An Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem and Misbehavior (American Lives)
Works Cited: An Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem and Misbehavior (American Lives)
by Brandon R. Schrand
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.77
82 used & new from $8.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unflinching story of reinvention and redemption, February 20, 2013
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This is a truly touching, intellectual coming-of-age story about a wild, Idaho sagebrush-born and bred young man trying to reinvent himself. By using the structure of an annotated bibliography to describe books that match the mind-set of each stage of his emotional evolution, Schrand traces with wry humor and unflinching honesty his path from aimless, hard-drinking rocker teen through defiant, sex-crazed frat boy and ultimately to a responsible, hard-working adult who deserves the love of his wife and children. Schrand's voice is wonderfully authentic. You trust him because he never spares himself, never pulls back from exposing his demons. Works Cited is the portrayal of a reader who is "always in the process, mid-way, mid arc, in medias res,"and "The soul I walked around in was an invented soul, a tried-on soul, a feared soul." The books Schrand reads are mirrors, as when he reads Nick Hornsby's High Fidelity and writes, "Here is the male psyche laid bare on the page! Here is ultimate vulnerability! Here is fear and heartache. This is what it feels like in the dark places of your dungeon mind!" Even in these dark places, Scrhand refuses to spare himself by recognizing this as a heavy-handed "stage of wallowing" that he can't seem to escape. At its heart, though, Works Cited is a love story of a boy becoming "man enough" and worthy enough of the wife who staunchly stands by him. And there is redemption, too, especially in one of the last chapters where he, his wife, and their two children are on a train crossing northern Idaho. Schrand imagines that they are all on the traIn plunging into the murky depths of Lake Pond Oreille in Marilynne Robinson's novel Housekeeping. Although he can imagine no scenario where he is "man enough" to save them all from drowning, the haunting descriptions of that and the next morning when the train crosses the Continental Divide prove that the rivers of his life have also dramatically changed directions.

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir
Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir
by Natalie Goldberg
Edition: Hardcover
72 used & new from $0.49

63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rehashing old ideas, January 4, 2009
I love Natalie Goldberg, and Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind are not to be missed, but this book was a real disappointment because all too often it was repeating ideas from those two classic works (things like "monkey mind" and approaches to writing fast without self-censorship). If you're looking for something new here, you aren't going to find much. I also think that Goldberg is long on inspirational writing prompts to uncover new ideas (write about a memory associated with cabbage or a bicycle, that kind of thing) but short on the follow through. This isn't about how to craft full memoirs.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2013 9:34 AM PDT

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