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The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Hardcover – March 23, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
This book reminds me of Susan Minot's wonderful fictional account of her childhood, Monkeys.
For me, one of the more interesting aspects of this book is that most of it is set in my hometown. I recognized a few of the people on these pages (including Mrs. Lachman's crazy son who is still crazy and terrified me as a child. Still does, to be honest. A couple of months ago, he almost blew up his house.).
"The End of the World as We Know It" is a brutally honest, brave book. If you have ties to Lexington, have fun playing spot the town eccentrics. Lord knows, we have our fair share.
The worst thing about these assaults? The parents "know better." Indeed, if they heard about a neighbor's child being verbally or sexually abused, they'd be shocked. Who knows? They might even intervene.
So why are these parents blind to their own cruelty?
"My father died because he drank too much." That's the first sentence of Robert Goolrick's memoir. The second? "Six years before, my mother had died because she drank too much." The third? "I drank too much."
If you drink, if you are the child of a drunk or have drunks among your family and friends, this is not shocking news to you --- alcohol is a kind of misery that seems to love company.
But even if drunks are your lot, I doubt you know the kind of depravity that Goolrick describes here. "My mother and father presented a perfect picture to the world, a happy, witty, charming young couple who were madly in love, and did nothing but have fun," he writes. And so it was. His father was Virginia gentry, a college history professor. His mother was a beauty, well read, a lady; she wore gloves and powder. At the Goolricks' cocktail parties, they served cheese straws and cucumber sandwiches, and the guests laughed heartily at their stories.
And his father ended up with rats cavorting on the Persian carpets.
"Somebody once said to me that all families were either about the parents or about the children," Goolrick notes. "Ours was about their parents.Read more ›
As a college senior in Lexington I had more to do than most with the "townies," because theater was what I did, and my all-male school relied on locals to play the women's parts. Thus I got to know the three brilliant Goolrick kids: Chester B. Jr., always called just "B"; Robbie who wrote this book; and their preternaturally-mature-for-her-age little sister Lindlay. I don't think I was in their home, and met their parents, more than once; but for a middle-class California kid bowled over by the quirky sophistication of the Southern gentry, once was enough.
And then, 40 years later, to read this book and find out what was behind this glittering surface . . . I can't imagine anyone reading this book and not being shaken to the core, but I can't find the words for its impact on me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a book about a little boy's painful upbringing by a pair of alcoholic parents and the resultant issues he has had to deal with. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy A
Reading this memoir made me want to reach out and help this tormented man. It made me wish I had the magic words that could change things for him and end his torture. Read morePublished 4 months ago by labellepersonne
A reliable wife makes more sense after reading this his autobiography. The tale of his father's one night of drunken debauchery and the damage it causes for a life time to the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
According to Amazon, five stars says "I love it". I'm not sure "love" is the right word for this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert B. Lamm
Robert Goolrick is one of my favorite fiction writers. I picked up this memoir, fully expecting the writing to be excellent. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kath Hall