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Rocket Man by [Hazelgrove, William]
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Rocket Man Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Length: 292 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"This critically insightful diatribe against conformity is recommended." Library Journal
"Rocket Man is a charming tale of fatherhood, family, and the American Dream."
                                                                                             Midwest Book Review

"Hazelgrove asserts that the real American Dream--that of being self-made and maintaining individuality--is what gets crushed by the empty pursuit of material products we are programmed to desire."
--San Antonio Express

"An exemplary novel dealing with the death of the American Dream."
--Southern Review of Books

""The funniest serious novel since Richard Russo's Straight Man, rich with the epic levity of John Irving and salted with the perversion of Updike.""
- Chicago Sun Times

""The rollicking story of a writer whose piece of the American Dream falls apart."
Chicago Tribune
"The author has given us an incredible read about finding the American Dream. We have all wanted it and we have all gone about trying to get it in different ways. The book is very entertaining--you can't seem to put it down. It is hilarious and serious. Rocket Man is a true story of a rebel."

From the Author

Book Description

Rocket Man is a very funny and poignant comment on our times, when an upside down middle class is barely hanging onto the American dream. Taking cues from the calamity of The Great Recession, we meet Dale Hammer, a man who is determined to find meaning in a landscape of suburban homogeneity, looking for the moment he had with his own father when they blasted off a rocket on a wintery evening. He feels his son slipping away as he tries to get around “the silent shame of fathers and sons.” He becomes the Rocket Man for his sons scout troop and immediately his life implodes. Accused of cutting down the subdivision sign to his neighborhood, he becomes the lone rebel, going down in a flaming arc. When Rocket Day comes, Dale is determined to give his son more than his father gave him.

Product Details

  • File Size: 854 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Koehler Books (April 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JNLYP80
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy all of Mr. Hazelgrove's novels. This one took a bit of tenacity to get to the just rewards; but I am glad I did. Many reviewers, who have loved it, have expressed it much better than I can. It is a touching, sad, humorous, witty, and ultimately optimistic tale of life in contemporary households. Perhaps, Hazelgrove meant nothing more than to share his experience of moving up(or down as the case may be) to the promised lands of suburbia. But I found it to be primarily a story of the struggles of a man trying to cope with the purported American Dream vs. his individual needs to cling to his passion as a writer/story-teller in the midst of the struggles to simply stay afloat in a society where the middle class is overwhelmed with pressures. Here is a man(Dale Hammer) who sincerely tries to be a better father to his son Jr. than his father was to him. But obstacles, perhaps more than a few created by Dale himself, keep upsetting his master plan. Can he be lazy at times? Sure, but he is still a man trying to cope with the demands of being a husband and father of two children, and trying to give them what he thinks they need even if he has to take a job that he hates to stay above water. It's also in large measure a story of the expectations of a father to his son and vice versa. It is a quest to recapture a life altering moment between father and son and the courage to face his fear of failure in the face of community conformity that ultimately leads Dale to find the link to his son and family. Dale is no Man in a Gray Flannel suit. Hazelgrove, you are the best!
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Format: Paperback
Boy;what a read! This novel has a bit of everything from just trying to survive in life, where everything is changing and seemingly nothing for the better.This book is really for readers who have seen a little life and are no longer waltzing along believing that life owes you something and all you have to do is "wait for your ship to come in". Then, one day,it suddenly seems that somewhere there was a fork in the road that was missed.
Hazelgrove is an excellent writer who is easy to read.His storytelling ,observations of life and character development are seen from the beginning all the way through to the end.
One little thing leaves me somewhat confused.There are two books listed here.One has a publication date of Jan 2012 and has 428 pages.There are 62 reviews posted for it and some are as old as Sep 30,2008.The one I read ,has a publication date of 2013,has 290 pages,and only 3 Reviews.I suspect they are the same;but the difference in numbers of pages is confusing.
I have always enjoyed reading books where the writer is talking about his observations on life,people and situations.My favorites are Mark Twain,John Steinbeck and Erskine Caldwell.In the early 70's ,I worked in New York,and for 2 hours every night, I listened to Jean Shepherd on WOR New York.He even wrote a couple of books.In my opinion he was one of the best when it came to storytelling and observations on life.Memories of "Shep" haunted me all through this book,so it was not a surprise to read about Ralph and "A Christmas Story" at the end of the book.
So, if you have not read anything by Hazelgrove,and you enjoy writers such as I have mentioned;I highly recommend this book and others by him.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This author's work has been compared to Richard Russo's which always strikes a chord with me and I found that although I do not live in suburbia or have any desire to, I found a real connection with these characters as I do with Russo's small town inhabitants. Nothing can be more challenging than being a "formerly " successful person. It takes time and much self awareness to make the adjustment in self esteem and it is still crushing. Yet, this book is filled with humor and family members many of us will recognize as perhaps our own. Do your in laws consider themselves perfect pillars of the community? Yeah, they are here. Confused children who worry that their parents may divorce? A divorced grandpa who moves in and attracts the attention of a wealthy, randy unattached neighbor! Before our hero gets written off as the neighborhood crazy, he is put in charge of the rocket project that that boys in his son's circle have looked forward to all year. The rocket project is the least explosive of his problems!
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Format: Paperback
If only being duped by The American Dream was this amusing! Our hero, Dale Hammer, is an Everyman, knocking himself out to create a better life for his family. His musings on the simplest things are genuine and from the heart.

There's really not a plot; rather, Dale's first person narrative explains how he got into the mess he's in, and hasn't a clue how to get out of it. Nothing is sugar-coated, though his spot-on metaphors are quite amusing. He has to figure his outcome by himself; his father has been a poor role model, his brother is an over-reactive liberal, his wife is tired of his ambivalence, and he's surrounded by impossibly clueless suburbanites, with few exceptions.

I don't want to give away the story, but I'm a slow reader and finished this one in record time. I was taken in completely, and enjoyed the ride. Recommended.
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