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A Long Time Ago: Growing up with and out of Star Wars Paperback – September 3, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Long Time Ago is a wonderful look back on growing up with Star Wars...Van Ert [has] written a great little memoir about life as a boy with Star Wars and his trials as an adult with his boyhood fascination." - Wired.com

"A Long Time Ago is a thoughtful, funny, and beautifully written story...scathingly hilarious and bang on." -- Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

About the Author

Gib van Ert is a lawyer and father in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Soi-disant press (September 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988118009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988118003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I fall into that category of the lucky Star Wars fan. I was 6 years old in 1977 when the the movie came out, and the prime ages of 7-8 for the toy bonanza between SW and ESB. The passage of time hasn't been the kindest for my own recollection of my childhood, and many of my memories of Star Wars back then are snippets that I either remember distinctly, or remain hazy to this day. However, it's books like Gib van Ert's 'A Long Time Ago: Growing up with and out of Star Wars" that jar those bits of memory that have remained tucked away, waiting for that impetus to be recalled to my consciousness. Gib so accurately captures the nostalgia of making the trip with our moms to the one store that seemed to have THE definitive action figure inventory, the confusion around images in the storybook that weren't in the film, and devising the wildest theories as to what it all meant. His experiences with the excitement around the releases of ESB and ROTJ were no doubt eerily similar to those of every other kid going through elementary school. We all eventually grew up however, became more interested in girls and sports than our action figures, and subsequently packed away the toys for goods, or in some our cases, threw them out. What I didn't expect from this book was the little tug of emotion I felt as the author boxed his away and moved on. Gib's disappointment with the prequels is spot on with my own, and very accurately depicts the opposite in which, as adults, Star Wars had become part of our lives. We lived and breathed it as children, but merely watched it in our older years. The original trilogy era was a time that to varying degrees left an indelible mark on our lives. Now as a 41 year old with my own 6 year old daughter, I'm excited to be able to take her to see new Star Wars films in the coming years. I can only hope she recalls her own experiences better than my own, or that she has books like Gib van Ert's to help her relive hers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As the Author of Confessions of a Fanboy I know Star Wars fan memoirs can be tricky. Gib does a good job. As another reviewer points out, this is a bit more autobiography than a "Star Wars" book, but that's fine. My only qualm is a personal one - I disagree with his negative perspective on the Prequels.
All in all, a decent and enjoyable read for any Star Wars fan.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To the Author-thanks for writing this memoir. It was a fun ride that anyone in their late 30s or 40s who grew up with the Star Wars experience should read. I found myself laughing out loud and connecting with so much of it... the response to seeing Biggs in the Star Wars Storybook, but having no memory of him in the movie, etc. The action figure rollout and wondering why Kenner made some figures and not others... the special weapons for certain figures... and what else was going on during the years in between and right after the original movies.
Recommended read for sure. I hope some of my friends will pick this up and read it so we can discuss and relive our own personal moments!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Long Time Ago mirrors my interest in Star Wars nearly exactly. From the Kenner action figures of my youth, to my disappointment in the prequels - to this day I've never seen Attack of the Clones, to my re-interest in the Original Trilogy when my now 4 year-old daughter discovered A New Hope a couple years ago. I even started collecting the figures again when I saw them in the store a couple years ago.

I really enjoyed the book. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

And, I've never found a Rebel Fleet Trooper either.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For guys of a certain age (and the women who would like to understand them) this is a great book. It kind of blew me away with how, though we came from very different places geographically and from very different backgrounds & families, we shared many of the same experiences when it came to Star Wars movies, toys, collectibles, and the dreaded "Prequels". Though it is presented as a personal memoir, it could easily be any of our stories. We all embraced the cultural phenomenon of Star Wars - some more tightly than others - but we did, and it's not something that can easily be let go of. It effected our lives, flavored our childhoods, and (for many of us) still impacts our adulthood.

This is a very well written book - even if it is a bit on the short side - and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about one young man's experience growing up with the Star Wars trilogy and how it influenced his life. I think anyone who grew up around the same time would enjoy reading this book. I know I did!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a substantive book by any means, but that is in no way a put down. Being a graduate student means that I can read very little outside of my field of study, yet I found the perfect escape in Gib's descriptive journey of "growing up and out of Star Wars". While not a true history of the films, their marketing campaigns, or the licensing that came with them, this short book follows all of these aspects simultaneously and chronologically, always in context of the author's relationship to these phenomenon at the time. His experience largely matched my own, and following his childhood was a way to revisit mine. It didn't matter to me that he didn't provide all of the details about the Kenner toys he so much enjoyed, he recalled enough to make me remember the feelings I had opening the toys, and what their packaging was like (though no descriptions of that newly-opened action figure smell!) for me to be completely satisfied. As I have distanced myself from Star Wars over the last ten years or so, I thought my interest had waned out of existence. But I lurked this book on Amazon for many months before pulling the trigger, and I eagerly read it before every night until finished.
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