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Growing Up (Plume) Paperback – January 1, 1983

4.4 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Plume
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (January 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452255503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452255500
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Russell Baker, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, deserves to be a national treasure on the basis of this book alone. It traces his youth in rural Virginia, from the death of his father when he was only five through his growing up years between the wars. The rest of the book is a paean to his mother, a strong-willed optimist who never accepted defeat as an alternative to success. Her unfailing faith in the talents of her young son were not misplaced. This is an iconic and magical piece of literature, a story of courage and love, of the bonds of family in spite of tension and disagreement.
Wonderful both as a story and as a piece of writing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One evening when I was eleven I brought home a short "composition" on my summer vacation which the teacher had graded with an A. Reading it with her own schoolteacher's eye, my mother agreed that it was top drawer seventh grade prose and complimented me. Nothing mores was said. But a new idea had taken root in her mind. Halfway through dinner she interrupted the conversation.
"Buddy", she said, "maybe you could be a writer".-Russell Baker from Growing Up
It is as a tribute to his mother that Russell Baker, one of America's leading wordsmiths and humorists, wrote Growing Up, his 1982 account of doing just that during the depression. The memoir one him his second Pulitzer Prize (his first he won 4 years prior for his New York Times "Observer" Column). The book itself is very well-written (as is pretty much everything Baker's ever done) and has dashes of humor throughout it. Yet overall. the book ranks as a touching tribute to the mama who raised him, pushed him when he needed pushing and ultimately encouraged him to make something of himself.
"Lord how I hated those words", Baker writes at the conclusion of chapter 1 of Growing up, referring of course to "make something of yourself". Young Russell wasn't a bad boy per se. He was a decent young man who had the same habit that many people of 7-8 (end often higher in many cases) have: laziness. Of course, his mother Lucy Elizabeth did not approve of this at all. She was determined that her son was going to get on the path to success. Growing Up is the story of how she and several other influences in young Russell's life helped steer him that way.
The other influences include his younger sister Doris, his Uncle Harold, his Aunt Pat and his 12th grade high school English teacher Mr. Fleagle.
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Format: Paperback
Growing Up, is Russel Baker's autobiography that describes his atypical life. Starting from humble beginnings in the mountains of West Virginia, Baker weathered a childhood that spanned the entire Depression, and later found success as a big city newspaperman. What was most enjoyable about this book was its genuine authenticity. Baker rattles off no frightening or boring statistics about the Depression. Rather, he writes about life as he saw it, progressively maturing as the book flows along. This, one would argue, is this book's most appealing quality. Baker never comes out to draw attention to himself at any time during the book. He lets the reader know if there was any particular activity that he was adept at, and surprisingly, those passages were surprisingly rare throughout the book. An enthralling read, no, a good, solid read, yes. Go ahead, check it out.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Russell Baker's charmingly written "Growing Up" takes us through the stages of his eventful life, from his early rural boyhood, through the hard times of the Depression when he lived with his widowed mother and a houseful of her relatives in New Jersey, to the World War II years and beyond. His tone throughout is modest and unassuming, and each stage is presented according to his maturity level as he grew up. His mother's high expectations set a high bar for Baker through his growing up years, and must have contributed to his successful eventual career at the New York Times.
"Growing Up" is carefully crafted by this experienced writer, yet reads as if he had effortlessly put together this a seamless memoir. The many characters come to vivid life with all their virtues and foibles, and Baker's narrative flows smoothly from beginning to end. A great read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book - some 348 pages of easy reading - first published in 1982, has received about all the kudos a book can: Ann Landers loved it, the New York Times critic, likewise (though Baker's long time tenure with the New York Times as a Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent probably guaranteed that!), the 'Book of the Month' people blessed it with their vote, publishers continue to reissue it (at least 9 times), and book stores continue to stock it. This book's enduring popularity can't be some accident! The dust cover promises either humor or pathos on every page and I think that's close to accurate. So do yourself a favor! Read this book! It will lift your spirits and improve your disposition. Also, here's a note for some of the previous reviewers: Baker was born in 1925, so this book is not about growing up in the early 1900's, or in the 19th century, or about serving in WWI (Baker served in WWII). Also, Baker has published other books, including "The Good Times" (1992) and Looking Back" (2001).
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