All The Wild Children: A noir memoir Paperback – March 7, 2013
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
- Paperback : 302 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1482601915
- ISBN-13 : 978-1482601916
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.76 x 9 inches
- Item Weight : 1.04 pounds
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (March 7, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This is one of the best books I've read in a while, moreso because I know it's not fiction. While I know that his life and mine are nothing alike, I can't help comparing it to mine. The book is so good, written in first person, that I want to get further into it by putting myself there, in his shoes. In a way he makes it easy to do, describing all that he did, and explaining why he did it, and giving good descriptions of what was going on around him. But in another way, it isn't so easy, because my life was so different I can't help thinking that I might have reacted diffirently in those circumstances. Who can say?
There is only one drawback. He mentions Tad, who we haven't met yet, as his best friend in a sentence early on, then moves on. That's okay. I'm used to that. Later, he talks about meeting Tad. Afterwards Tad is his best friend. But he doesn't go into detail on what cements the friendship. Tad has his own band, Idiot, and assumably they are close. He goes into meeting Tomas and seals their closeness. I understand that. But it jumps from meeting Tad to being best friends, and as they are still best friends while he is 50 and writing the book, it leaves me wanting to know more.
There are two parts to the book. The first is mostly about while he was a "wild child" and still growing up. The second part is mostly about being married and a father, and how his kids become "wild children" of their own. The first is memories of childhood. The second is learning the lessons life is trying to teach. There are times I was reading the book unbelievably, still knowing it all actually happened, other times laughing at something written or said, and still other times with tears in my eyes. As his brother Larkin said back in 1975, "Someday this will read much better than it lived."
"All the Wild Children" is definitely worth a read. I'm sure it will be just as good, if not better, on the second read-through, since you know what is going on, what is to come, and can pick up a lot of things that are mentioned early on but not detailed. I plan to reread it very soon.
It is not as if he went to hell, lived there and came back. His was allways a tottally sheltered life, which in itself permited his behaviours. He does not know what real pain, what real scars are, BUT NEEDS TO FEEL THEM, and I really do not buy that. But to each his own, real or perceived , pains, and the way to deal with them.
It was the age parents got divorced, for starters. Tons of youths had to cope with that, some with more pain and hardship, some with less. At 50, Stallings is still at odds with a "pretty normal divorce ", at an age he should clearly understand his parents were normal human beings with normal human dreams and problems.
A lame ( albeit normal ) excuse for some shitty ( although again normal ) teenagne and young adult behaviours.
Pretty normal, stupid, teenager stuff, at the time, a considerably more sheltered life, even family life ( and the monies were there, the protection was there ) than Stallings wants to believe himself in an attempt to justify something that needs absolutely no justification.
Normal kids, growing up, doing some crazy things and bitching about how bad a hand of cards life dealt them. Man they do not know what a bad hand of cards is.
The book is well written ( all his books are ) but this one leaves me somewhat empty. Stallings needs to complain, to justify himself. I really fail to see what for...
The same goes for Tad Williams - a most awesome Author - ( who writes the Prologue and is a true frend of Stalings and part of his adventures ). The over hype; the need to give a higher importance to the lives of a protected, shektered, pampered, youth, simply eludes me.
But give the book a try, in any case. It is very well written and depicts an era that was.
I also very much appreciated his chronologic back-and-forth - spanning decades in few paragraphs, swinging us from decades past to the present within a couple of sentences: *seemingly* random, but far from it, this gives the book a relentless pace and I found it very difficult to put it down.
For me, a contemporary of Stallings, and now living in exactly the same area where he spent his youth years, this was a particularly poignant book; and one cannot but feel the pain for him as a father of two very troubled kids.
Top reviews from other countries
You see, Josh Stallings is not a writer sitting in his comfortable middle class apartment constructing a cast of drug-crazed, booze-fuelled, cut-throat characters living life on the edge of a knife, breathing in death and carnage, never knowing if they're going to wake up in the morning and not giving a s***.
This was Stallings' life.
And in ALL THE WILD CHILDREN, we get it all - told with breathtaking honesty and humility.
Unlike many biographies, ALL THE WILD CHILDREN is not strictly linear in nature. Yes, there is a beginning and there is an end, but in between we cut between the fifty year old Stallings, back to the seven year old, up to the twenty year old, back to the four year old - sometimes all on one page. Here is an example from the beginning of the book:
I am 5, watching my older brother Lark as he kneels to say his prayers, he is seven and my best friend. He speaks to Jesus. I think he must be faking it when he prays, because I am. Or maybe he really does hear God's voice. Maybe God talks to him because he likes Lark better than me.
I am 6, my folks are at each other again. Their screaming is part of the background noise of my life. Like traffic in the city only this noise you don't get used to.
I am 7, and my father is yelling at my mother. She screams back. I stand between them and rage, `You told me God doesn't want us to fight, so why are you?' Good Quaker logic I think. I'm thrown against the wall. My father's hand on my throat. Pinned.
I am 50, and I wonder why I still feel the grip of that hand.
And on it goes. Hypnotic. Heart-pumping. Incredible.
We watch as the boy Josh moves from a violently disordered household into a violently disordered world - the world of the sixties and early seventies, an era of change, an era of hope, an era of disintegration.
Through it all, Josh makes some undeniably bad decisions, self-destructing before our eyes. Stallings puts us there, just off camera, watching this young man desperately trying to do what is right, yet destroying himself and those around him in the process.
Through it all, through all the mayhem and the hurt, are Josh's siblings - particularly his older brother - Lark. The Stallings children are the sort of children where, as Stallings says throughout the book - you mess with one, you mess with all.
Against all the odds, Stallings survives.
And survives is the word.
The last part of the book brings us back to the waiting room at the psychiatric hospital. Stallings is now a husband and a father, a film editor in Hollywood. Yet the chaos and the heartache and the pain continues unabated.
Having read the first two thirds of the book with my jaw hanging open, I read this last third on the edge of tears.