- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: World Audience, Inc. (September 5, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 098205405X
- ISBN-13: 978-0982054055
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,065,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Waking Up in the Studebaker Paperback – September 5, 2008
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Starting with his earliest memories in the 1950s, Kevin Gray covers a lot of ground â including impressions about racism in the former Capital of the Confederacy. Teen music and rites from the late 1950s drew him in by age 10. He offers personal insights on Vietnam, music and the drug culture, and the turbulent times right into 1968. Gray admits, âI thought America the greatest place on the face of this earth to grow up in, but, then, I realized my color (white), my religion (Methodist) and my parentsâ middle-class income helped. Then, I wasnât so sure.â Asthma, extreme shyness when indoors, affected him, but an overriding act first think later attitude actually drove the boy. He also admits, âLife could be pretty boring and quite confusing for a suburban kid in those days. I didnât live in New York or San Francisco or any of those exciting places. I had to make my own fun and my own life well away from places in the news. The 1960s really werenât what they were cracked up to be in the media â that is for a kid stuck far from any âhappening place.â At least we had the music! Yet, in so many ways, events in both the 1950s and the 1960s reached out and made an impact on people nationwide, even to a young boy growing up in Richmond.â Waking Up in the Studebaker is Grayâs very personal story set during changing times in America. âThis is my story,â he said, âand, more than anything, I didnât want help in whatever I did. I had to live my life my way, even if it gave me many bruises along the way.â
Top Customer Reviews
The vehicle of narrating his story serves well as a platform to describe the turbulence of the times and many of the events of the fifties and sixties. The book is full of family warmth and values, and the love that is passed down through multiple generations of family.
Many readers may relate to the story because of parallel experiences. Some of us who grew up in the same time may identify empathetically with Kevin's experience.
The nature of America then and now, is such that there are some from our generation that will not identify with Kevin's perspective on the times. That said, I think that anyone from our generation will enjoy this warm, entertaining and friendly walk down memory lane.
This book is not just for our generation. It is written for anyone who has had a favorite band, a crush on an attarctive neighbor, and the need to sort out the emotions that blend together to form our personna. It touches on the human relations of family, school, friends, teenage initiations, romantic desire, social awareness, political awareness, and the artistic muse.
"Waking Up in the Studebaker" is an absolute must read for anyone who grew up in the west-end neighborhoods of Richmond, VA during the sixties. For those of us that grew up here in that time, this book will awaken many memories. This is a bonus for a Richmond native, but not a pre-requisite to enjoy a well told story of family, friends, initiations and growing up.
The initiations come fast and hard and crash into the emotions of long ago. Like the times, this story has some bumpy moments. Hang on, turn up the music, and enjoy the ride.
In the process, he's helped me understand myself, and others, through a greater awareness of the events and people directly and indirectly around me, both then and now. His story will do the same for any reader who grew up in a comparable time and place - not merely the West End of Richmond, Virginia.
Like a classic tale by O Henry, the ironic epilogue is that Kevin, who in his book freely admits having great difficulty with school in general and with English in particular, eventually becomes a high school English teacher and first-rate author.
I only knew of him in high school; I really wish I would have actually known him back then. Fortunately, I've been so enriched by having finally met him, and his story, some forty years later.