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Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir Paperback – April 17, 2005
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Welcome to Lakewood, California, the world's largest suburb and the subject of an oddly mesmerizing account of its creation by D. J. Waldie. Waldie describes how bean fields were drawn up, sectioned off and divided up--leaving tracts for small houses of similar design. The author changes while the land around him does, in a story of how people make places and, more so, places make people. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Waldie, public information officer of Lakewood, Calif., as a boy moved with his family to one of that town's suburbs that was designed and built nearly overnight during the 1950s. In this unusual and compelling memoir organized into a series of short, episodic essays, some of which were previously published in journals, the author describes both a place and the mindset of a decade. Built on a grid, the subdivision of identical houses on similar lots was owned by three businessmen whose Jewish background would have prevented them from living there at that time. Homes were quickly sold to young couples?many of the men were WWII veterans?purchasing a house for the first time. The design of a shopping mall within Lakewood that was opened in 1952 included a half-mile civil defense fallout shelter and reflected the fear of Soviet attack that was mirrored by the attitudes of the Roman Catholic nuns who taught Waldie in school. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Short sentences. Brief essays. No Brian Doyle mega-sentences for this suburban chronicler.
Upon further reading, Holy Land contains a few delightful stories, scattered at random throughout the book like children’s pick up sticks. This randomness doesn’t work well for a memoir, given the lack of an index.
This is a different kind of baby boomer coming of age tale. No one is setting out to make over the world in Holy Land. Waldie is not addressing the insanity of the Vietnam War, condemning racism or railing against the Nixon Administration. In Lakewood, suburbanites are reluctant to rock the boat. “After a while, Mr. H’s neighbors complain. They have hesitated years before calling city hall. The neighbors say they don’t want to ‘make trouble.’ “In Holy Land, idle chit chat about people, things and trivial facts dominate; conversations about ideas and concepts are rare. It resembles a collection of reasonably well-written employee newsletters featuring birthdays, bowling scores and baby showers – but nary a mention of looming layoffs.
Read Holy Land if you are a fan of the quirky and mundane.