- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (March 10, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385352301
- ISBN-13: 978-0385352307
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,073,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 10, 2015
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Praise for I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son
“A book of essays can be a constellation. Individual pieces shine like stars, but to see the whole project as a unified thing requires a mythology. You need faith to make out a shape around all those dots of light, to believe in the bear or the swan. The possibility of that kind of faith hovers profitably around the edges of Kent Russell’s debut,”
–Ben Greenman, The New York Times Book Review
“An exhilarating collection of essays…Russell writes in an endearing voice that can be at once wryly observant and objectively fair…What’s most impressive about this collection is the way the disparate essays cohere into a memoir-like whole.”
“A surprising, beautiful book, at once tough and tender, hilarious and dark, and above all, deeply original.”
“The comparison will inevitably be made, so let’s go ahead and just make it: there is certainly a bit of David Foster Wallace in Kent Russell, most certainly in the feeling that you are reading a beautiful, intricate mind.”
“A ludicrously smart, tragicomic man-on-the-edge memoir in essays.”
“He throws himself at their mercy, he fights for them, he admires their power, he jabs at their soft spots, he flees, he circles back. Russell’s compassion for his subjects is not blind, and he doesn’t tread lightly, but he sees them as part of his crew, and he protects them with a ferocity and camaraderie that would make anyone want Russell in their corner.”
–Catherine Carberry, The Rumpus
“At times playful and at times serious, these essays explore the author’s relationship with his father as well as masculine archetypes across the U.S. What do hockey goons and Amish baseball players have in common? What about horror films and the Insane Clown Posse? Tours of duty in Afghanistan and Daniel Boone? At a glance, these subjects are disparate and oddly matched. But in the capable hands of Kent Russell, they merge to create a portrait of contemporary American masculinity that is brazen and bleak, strange and often hilarious.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Kent Russell's essays are scary and sublime and the real real deal."
–Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
"For those of us who’ve been missing Hunter Thompson lately, good news: I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son is as close as we’re going to get to his second coming when it comes to full-on gonzo passionate observation and self-loathing transmuted into social criticism. Its larger subject is perhaps the most toxic and entertaining of all of the can-do malevolences abroad in our land – American masculinity – but its more intimate and wrenching subject is that of one father and son, similarly self-sabotaging, masters of hurtful apathy, talkers who reject the talking cure, each shipwrecked with their shame. If you’re looking for what’s funny and smart and fierce and devoted to the shrinking hope that we can all even still perhaps cultivate virtue, stop right here."
–Jim Shepard, author of the Book of Aron
"Kent Russell is one of the most excitingly gifted young non-fiction writers to have appeared in recent memory."
–John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead
About the Author
KENT RUSSELL's essays have appeared in The New Republic, Harper's, GQ, n+1, The Believer, and Grantland.
Top customer reviews
The writing isn't bad at all. It's the tone I do not like. The tone to these stories is angry, with many expletives, and this is the tone that bothers me the most. Every story sounds the same, spoken by the same narrator in first-person singular with the same voice. It's not just about various men, it's the author's angry take on sports, Amish men, or whatever comes to his head. There's no connection, no theme, which makes one wonder what the actual message is the author wants to convey.
This one is just awesome. I can't review books like a lot of you other folks, what with not reading much myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's well-written, it's hilarious, it's sad, it's awkward and even downright painful at times. I literally laughed and cried reading this book, and usually when I read I just fall asleep. The actual experience of reading this book was a joy. Thing is, one reason I picked this book up was that "Thrown" made me want to read more books generally. But THIS book just makes me want to read *other Kent Russell books.* Alas, there are none - though I suspect Russell's readers will demand more. I'd buy another one - and read it! - *right now* were one available.
I read some of the other reviews and I was left truly baffled. I don't see how anyone - let alone readers! - couldn't enjoy this. I'd read all the time if every book were as good as this one. Buy it, read it. You will LOVE it and then you will come here and give it five stars.
A fun piece is Russell's time at the Juggalo Festival at Cave-in-Rock State Park , Illinois along the Ohio River. This is a festival for lost souls who find solace in the company of other lost souls.
Another piece I enjoyed was his take on Amish baseball. Russell jags on just how well the game suits young Old Order men in Rumspringa, the "wild" period of life as they contemplate what it means to become Amish. Baseball is a rite-of-passage in that liminal state prior to adult baptism, marriage and full participation as a member of the faith.
While there are some missed strokes along the way, Russell's stories are original. His writing is refreshing and distinctive in style. An analogy true for all those who have ever tried to learn another language, Russell writes: "how a non-native speaker will hoard nouns while trying to recall the verb that animates them."
Other pieces worthy of mention: Russell visits with a snake handler who uses his own body via progressive snake bites to build up reserves of anti-venom. The idea is that the blood of this guy could be used as antidote medicine for others. This piece qualifies as investigative journalism. I also enjoyed his two weeks spent on Restoration Island off the coast of Australia. A modern-day Robinson Crusoe found a way to make this island his own, although arcane tribal law and Australian Governmental policies essentially make it impossible to develop. It remains close to being the proverbial "desert island." Russell quotes this modern-day Crusoe: "Financial collapse is like the pregnant schoolgirl -- eventually that baby's gonna come!"