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Sex and Death to the Age 14

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  391 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This is a collection of six monologues by the master of one-man drama. Included are "Sex and Death at the Age of 14," "Booze, Cars, and College Girls," "47 Beds," "Nobody Wanted to Sit Behind a Desk," "Travels through New England," and "Terror of Pleasure: The House." Also includes a preface by the author.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2011 by Vintage (first published June 12th 1986)
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Sabra Embury
Oct 06, 2011 Sabra Embury rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up after randomly flipping through Gray's Monster in a Box (1992) and subsequently finishing the book in the next hour or so without a break. After that was Swimming to Cambodia, followed by the Swimming to Cambodia DVD on Netflix, then finally Sex and Death...

One explanation for the binge is a crush on Gray; his personal monologues; his WASPY narcissism, his brutal honesty, embedded into whatever embellishments--make his tales of life and career hilarious. Reading his stories, for
Feb 08, 2008 C.S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
even better is a 1986 random house audio cassette -- now very, very difficult to get hold of. i used to have it, lost it, searched for a couple of years and couldn't find it anywhere on the internet. i finally contacted the gray estate and begged. i had to make a donation to Gray's scholarship fund to get a dub out of them. the recording is just as hilarious as i'd remembered it being.

gray reads selections from sex and death--which is wonderful enough on its own, but the cassette also includes g
Oct 09, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spaulding Gray,I think came closest to a recent century Mark Twain. I say that in the sense of while Gray's monologue material was personal and sometimes self absorbent as opposed to Twain who looked at society as a whole,there was a fascinating story that would illustrate the human condition.

A chance meeting with Spaulding Gray,led to my own autobiographical work, "Black Hippie Chronicles"

Sex and Death to the Age 14 is one of the early works of Spaulding Grey. In that sense,it is more "raw" tha
Apr 12, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, theatre, america, memoir
This is a collection of some of Gray’s early (and best) monologues. These are the yarns that made his reputation as a story-teller in the 1980s: Sex and Death to the Age 14; Booze, Cars, and College Girls; 47 Beds, Nobody Wanted to Sit Behind a Desk, Travels through New England, and Terrors of Pleasure: the House. At his best, Gray brings together several tendencies in American narrative arts – the good-old down east yarn, contemporary New York theatre, and modern “warts and all” confession. He ...more
Arda Aghazarian
Love the way this begins: "Stories seem to fly to me and stick. They are always out there, coming in. We exist in a fabric of personal stories. All culture, all civilization is an artful web, a human puzzle, a colorful quilt patched together to lay over raw indifferent nature. So I never wonder whether, if a tree falls in the forest, will anyone hear it. Rather, who will tell about it?"

I hadn't heard of Spalding Gray before Hannah lent me this book, but upon finishing the last pages I pressed on
Jan 04, 2008 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heck of a lot of fun...Gray was a trailblazer, as far as I'm concerned, for this generation of monologists (is that a word?)/first-person essayists. This book flows well...light and smooth. I pull it off the shelf about once a year. The section about his drinking is probably the best...worth picking up cheap and reading on public trans.
May 30, 2009 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like memoirs
Shelves: audiobooks, 2009-list
This is actually a book I'm re-reading or listening to again. I used the paperback edition so I could show the cover rather than the audio version which a friend made into a CD for me a few years ago. Listening to Spalding Gray is an experience that everyone should have. He is missed.
Christian Clarke
Sep 12, 2007 Christian Clarke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just really like Gray's use of nouns. He's the kind of guy who remembers that what Fats Waller song was on the radio when he was spying on his best friend losing his virginity. Even if he's making it up, he's smart to know it's a necessary detail.
May 31, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I caught the tail end of Swimming to Cambodia many many years ago, back when I was a young'un and BRAVO was less Queer Eye and much more independent film. Never saw the rest of it, but Spalding Gray stuck in my mind forever after. When he died awhile back I figured I should find out more about him, and I finally did.

Really enjoyed these monologues, although I'm sure they would have been better as spoken word pieces. They reminded me so very much of Kerouac, because they're somewhat stream of con
Apr 09, 2007 jcad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-school
Reasons I loved this book:
It is an hilarious account of episodes in the early life of Spalding Gray, many incredibly awkward and embarrassing, all told with his incredible dry wit. It makes you uncomfortable and it makes you laugh out loud.
Spalding Gray is from Rhode Island, and many of these stories take place there. I am also from Rhode Island, and love pretty much everything that takes place there.
I read it when I was very young, and as a result it was very interesting because it is a lot abo
Oct 30, 2012 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed Spalding Gray in the past. Swimming to Cambodia in particular was enthralling, but reading this made it so clear how much of it is in the delivery. I can try to infuse my reading experience with his singular style of monologue, but in the end it just doesn't hang together in the same way. After reading this, I listened to recordings of some of this material being read, and it confirmed my suspicions. When I do it, it feels like a rambling string of amusing anecdotes, but when ...more
Sep 29, 2015 Janicedixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
awesome, easy to read, as easy to read as "catcher in the Rye", very funny! Highly recommend.
Nov 28, 2015 Jarroldoleary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
touching, honest, funny. Really enjoyed it. and quick and easy to read!
Oct 02, 2007 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on the train and on the plane and it was great the whole ride through.
But then I saw "Swimming to Cambodia" on DVD and it was awful, which confused my whole impression of Grey. This reads like he wrote it in a very clear, streaming state of mind and seems to be the type of book that young guys write where and when their creativity is at a very strong place.
Amazing book to read if you can find it.
Kye Alfred Hillig
Aug 24, 2010 Kye Alfred Hillig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Gray's best, but, just as with his other books, well worth the read. Anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety or neurosis will be able to relate to Spalding's fears and adventures. He travels the world searching for inner peace and perfect moments, occasionally finding them. He is an artist that I will always wish I had met.
Real Supergirl
Jun 05, 2007 Real Supergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
not spalding's best work, but it is his earliest published work. as someone who owns most of the spalding gray canon, i like the pieces in this collection in part to see his development as a writer and a performer. [return][return]to understand the full depth of gray's psyche and neuroses and humor, you must have seen him perform.
Sandra Clark
Aug 25, 2008 Sandra Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This book reads fast with lots of wry, sarcastic bubbles of laughter rising every few paragraphs. Spuddy, as his mom called him, was phenomenal. This book captures his first series of monologues, beginning with a lengthy meditation on all his memories of sex and death up to turning 14. Read it.
Aug 29, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book re-sparked my obsession with Spalding Gray, and even though it's always more fun to see and hear him than read him (like Sedaris) he's so out there and yet trapped in his head that it's endlessly entertaining. One of the most engrossing things I read this summer.
Steven Spector
Aug 18, 2013 Steven Spector rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
However egocentric, no one could spin a non-fiction yarn better than 'ole Spauld. The stories contained within are no exception. A must read by anyone with at least one neurotic bone in their body, which if you're honest, means you too.
Nov 07, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spalding has an authentic voice and tells things straightforwardly. He is focused on having real experiences and seeing what is important in them. Really what appealed to me about beat generation without the agenda and the -isms.
Donald Jans
Sep 22, 2015 Donald Jans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the novel that made me want to start writing a novel that I wanted to read! Honest and funny! And a quick surmountable read.
Terry R
Jun 23, 2016 Terry R rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gritty, funny, real, honest. Love this book. I think he spawned a generation of writers like him, IMHO
Michael Thomas Angelo
I really want to explore Spalding Gray as his writing style matches the type I would value to emulate
Dec 10, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spalding Gray monologues are funny and full of details. Reading them helps me relax.
Aug 26, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long before This American Life, there was Spalding Gray. Very funny stuff.
Jul 16, 2007 Mary! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a compliation of Gray's early work - funny and wry, if a bit uneven.
Chambers Stevens
I love Spalding Gray.
This is by far my favorite book of his.
Aug 16, 2009 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Spalding Gray is sort of hit and miss for me. This was a miss.
Jun 08, 2011 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I liked this one more than "Swimming to Cambodia."
Dec 17, 2011 Patreesha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
JB, you are a god among men for giving this to me! Thanks!
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Spalding Gray was an American actor, screenwriter, performance artist, and playwright.
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