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Young Lonigan (Studs Lonigan #1)

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  590 ratings  ·  20 reviews
An American classic in the vein of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the first book of James T. Farrell's powerful Studs Lonigan trilogy covers five months of the young hero's life in 1916, when he is sixteen years old. In this relentlessly naturalistic yet richly complex portrait, Studs is carried along by his swaggering and shortsighted companions, his narrow family, ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 1932)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”He remembered Sister Bertha saying that God tested you with temptations of sins of the flesh, and if you were able to withstand them you needn’t worry about not getting into Heaven. Ninety-nine per cent of all the souls in Hell were there because of sins of the flesh.
Hell suddenly hissed in Stud’s mind like a Chicago fire. It was a seat of dirty, mean, purple flames; a sea so big you couldn’t see nothing but it; and the moans from the sea were terrible, more awful and terrible than anything on
There are important books one reads not for pure personal pleasure but, particularly in early life, to understand other times and places and states of mind. For me, the Studs Lonigan trilogy, along with many other books, were works like that. This was a different time (the early 20th Century), a different place (working class Chicago) and a different aesthetic (classical realism). And as such they definitely worked for me. There's a limit to how much difference we can experience in "real life," ...more
While James T Farrell is apparently lauded by writers and critics alike as one of the greatest American writers of blue collar experience in the early 20th century, I found this first part of the Studs Lonigan trilogy dated. The portrayal of corner boys socking each other and thumbing their noses as insult was relatively tame by today's standards, but Studs' rise to be 'cock of the walk' was very repetitive. I was annoyed by the characters engaging in sustained casual racism, and sometimes viole ...more
I had to read this for a class and remember really despising it. It struck me as yet another story attempting to expose the dark underbelly of Irish Catholics in America. In Chicago specifically. I get that all was not and is not perfect, but I feel like if it's not going to be done in a new and interesting way, the story's been done. But like Angela's Ashes or something, it takes it to a crazy extreme with things like I think a 12 year old secret prostitute-type character. Just sick and depress ...more
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This book did not interest me at all. I found it very difficult to get through. It felt as if the author was just sitting down and writing random snatches of tough boy life without any forward thinking, or consideration to a general plot progression. That said, there were quite a few lovely archaic terms used. I did not like the violence and the racism. But I guess we should accept it because that's the way it used to be? I don't know.

"But telling Bertha not to shout was like telling a bull it
At first you cringe at dialogue like the following:

"And isn't the Catholic Church the grand thing?" Mrs. Reilley said lyrically.
"And just think how awful the world would be without the Church," said Mrs. Lonigan.
"There's nothin' like the Church to keep one straight," said Lonigan.
"It keeps you toeing the mark. That's one thing to say for it," Mrs. Reilley said.

Then you marvel at passages like this:

The July night leaked heat all over Fifty-eighth Street, and the fitful death of the sun shed softe
While it took me until about 30 pages in to get into this book, it's a poignant portrait of a young Irish-American coming of age in 1916 Chicago. Perceptions of race and masculinity develop on this, the first book, in the Studs Lonigan trilogy.
Dan Wool
Young Studs has just graduated from a Catholic middle school in pre-WWI South Chicago. We see America through his metaphorical eyes: he is a good-hearted neighborhood bully trying to grow up and discover himself. Through the wise-cracking young Studs, we see middle class White society's view on Blacks, Jews, gangsters, religion and moral authority, love and sex. Studs is a pre-cursor to Holden Caulfield, Rabbit Angstrom and Alex and his Droogs -- and it would not surprise me if he was their insp ...more
Jake Berlin
one of those books that reminds you that people in the past really did have all of the same thoughts, feelings, fears, etc. that we have now -- and that people have always had, of course. this is a particularly raw bildungsroman for its time, with frank discussions of sex, violence, religion, and race. i'm looking forward to seeing what happens next to studs.
Matthew Moore
It's hard to say this is a retread of your typical urban, gangster, Irish-Catholic, story, because the retreads were based Farrell's work. The story is original, poignant and moving and a slice of a time and place captured beautifully. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
John King
I enjoyed this book very much, which was recommended to me by Goodreads. I just purchased the other two books of the trilogy, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan and Judgement Day.
I really enjoyed the righting in this book. However, I quit reading it because of the language.
Gabriel C.
Disappointing. Like the first chapter of Augie March or a Philip Roth book. Too far removed from my experience. Some very beautiful passages.
Farrell certainly hated his Chicago Irish Catholic background...a foreshadowing of modern urban gangland.
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Robert Brents
Encourages me to read the rest of the trilogy. Glad I read this first.
Tom Ivey
Made me very glad I am not 14 years old...
Beth Shields-Szostak
signed by author; leather binding; original c1932
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James Thomas Farrell was an American novelist. One of his most famous works was the Studs Lonigan trilogy, which was made into a film in 1960 and into a television miniseries in 1979. The trilogy was voted number 29 on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.
More about James T. Farrell...

Other Books in the Series

Studs Lonigan (3 books)
  • The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan
  • Judgment Day
Studs Lonigan The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan Judgment Day Chicago Stories A World I Never Made

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