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The Meaning of Children by [Akerman, Beverly]
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The Meaning of Children Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A luminous talent...A keen, incisive vision into the hidden world of children as well as intimate knowledge of the secret spaces that exist between the everyday events of life. A work with a brilliant sense of story."
~JoAnne Soper-Cook, Judge, 2010 David Adams Richards Prize

"Profound...a writer of  such substance that she is obviously headed to the top echelon  of writers of our time...a book of rare sensitivity and masterful creative writing [that] must surely be shared with as many friends and fellow readers as possible."
~Grady Harp, Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer, ***** (5 stars)

"I can't stop thinking about this book...I can't remember a book, let alone a collection of short stories, where I could identify so heavily with the emotions and feelings of the characters."
~Martin Crosbie, author of My Temporary Life, ***** (5 stars)

"Remarkable in its intensity and craft, The Meaning of Children is a book that bears discovering, and Akerman a writer to watch."
~ Samuel Peralta, poet, author of Sonata Vampirica and other books, ***** (5 stars)

"This isn't the invented childhood of imagination and wonderment...[here] children both corrupt and redeem: each other, family relationships and the female body."
~Katie Hewitt, The Globe & Mail


"Loved your book; read it in one sitting."
~Mutsumi Takahashi, Anchor, CTV News Montreal


"...this lovely little book, short stories about life in a family that might just resemble yours...A wonderful gift for mother's day, perhaps more long lived than the usual cut flowers."
~Anne Lagacé Dowson, CJAD Radio

From the Author

Captures pivotal moments in the under-appreciated world of girls & women. Childhood, adolescence, parenthood, or life as a whole, disparate decades and narrative voices braided together by themes of sex, death, and social prejudice.

And love, always love...a girl discovers a fear of heights as her parents' marriage unravels; a thirty-something venture fund manager frets over his daughter's paternity; an orphan whose hands kill whatever they touch is accused of homophobia; a mother of two can only bear to consider abortion in the second person; the wife of a retirement-aged professor finds him unconscious near his computer...The Meaning Of Children speaks to all who--though aware the world can be a very dark place--can't help but long for redemption.

Product Details

  • File Size: 424 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Publication Date: March 3, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007H067R6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Crosbie on May 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's been over a week since I read this collection of short stories and the characters are still with me.
These are stories about real people, real children, teenagers, adults, in real times. I went through a whole range of emotions when I read them, some good, some not so good. When the child was sitting on the stairs listening to her parents, I was right there with her. When the adult was sitting by the lake contemplating what happened years before and looking at her present day life, I was sitting across from her, doing the same thing. I can't remember a book, let alone a collection of short stories, where I could identify so heavily with the emotions and feelings of the characters.
As far as I'm concerned, this is what good writing, and a good book, should do for you. Yes, it entertained for sure, but it made me think and remember.

If you enjoy quality writing and a book that will make you think about where you've been and where you're going read The Meaning Of Children.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I reviewed this title on my Blog a while back and as you will read it has altered my own thoughts on childhood recollections. Thrilled to not only own a personally signed copy but to now have an iPad version to re-read these haunting stories. Not only for people with children, but for anyone who was ever a child.

Some excerpts from my blog review pasted here (to read more visit my web site and blog):

"... A life-altering read is so rare for me, and I imagine for many writers, with a critical eye often hard to keep closed while hoping to get caught up and swept away while reading fiction for pleasure ... This collection of short stories is her debut into the fiction book world after a solid career in molecular genetics research. Her stories are as diverse as her changing career path and yet string together a theme as connected as a genetic chain.

Very few times in my life resonate so strongly to a past and a childhood that has me always facing forward and rarely wanting to look back. As I read Akerman's book instantly I am that child on the first page, in the first sentence, whose parents "When the arguing started would get louder and louder, till they broke into my dreams." As the stories moved along I, like her character, realized how much I learned from eavesdropping during the arguments, and sadly like the child I too knew "... where the patched holes were in the walls" and that "... it would be smarter to keep my opinions to myself." In the next few tales the loneliness hit home of a child walking along to school wishing for her own puppy and that she could write a book and feeling very misunderstood by grown-ups.
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The Meaning of Children
By Beverly Akerman

My first impression of the book was, "Wow, this woman can write." The author's descriptions of settings are so vivid that I felt as if I was standing in the scenes of her stories.

In The Meaning of Children Ms. Akerman uses a series of short vignettes to explore innocence, violence and the human condition. For most of us certain scenes from childhood stand out as vivid memories. This book is a series of such memories--each of pivotal points in the life of a child.

This is not light reading as the stories deal with issues of self-image and sexuality by dramatizing how one seemingly small incident can shape a woman's image of herself and her interpretation of reality. However, I recommend The Meaning of Children to anyone who is a student of human nature.
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Akerman takes you back to the time you were a child. No matter you did not grow up in Montreal or Jewish, the situations, conflicts, joys and fears are universal. Akerman grounds emotions with rich descriptions and a strong sense of place.
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I hope Beverly Akerman scores a major book publishing deal. This woman CAN write. Her short stories in this book are poignant and powerful. I was left thinking about the characters and stories for weeks after finishing the book. This is an outcome every writer would dream of accomplishing. The things we experience in our childhood shape us into adults we are today. I saw myself in so many characters and stories in this book. I saw bits and pieces of my life. I saw how I became who I am today.
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Format: Kindle Edition
At times chance enters our lives and we encounter moments created by a wordsmith that, like it or not, raise memories and experiences that we have either experienced, watched, heard about, or dreamed and the stories in Beverly Akerman's book of short stories THE MEANING OF CHILDREN do just that. They slowly creep into our psyches, clutch a holding place, and stay with us permanently. This collection of the whispers and screams, longings and needs of being a child and the responses of those closest to that child are the works of a magician, a writer of such substance that she is obviously headed to the top echelon of writers of our time.

Some critics are saying that this book is about the underappreciated world of women and perhaps that stance is valid: there certainly are enough tales of anorgasmia, to abortion, to preparing to say the final goodbye to a dying child to the vagaries of holding a household together despite the external (an internal) flaws that creep into crack marriages. But I don't see men being put into negative places just to serve the purpose of making a collection of stories hang together with a theme. No, these stories are all about the influence of bringing a child into the world and the benefits and consequences of the way life changes because of that. And overriding everything else is the panoply of forms of love that transcend all else.

I like the way the author (or agent or some caring one who seeks to gain our attention to this book) states it: `...
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