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The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac

3.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  848 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
In the spirit of novels by Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta, a smart, funny debut about a disillusioned young man whose fledgling leap from postadolescence to adulthood lands him back in an already overburdened family nest.

Calvin Moretti can’t believe how much his life sucks. He’s a twenty-four-year-old film school dropout living at home again and working as an assistant teach
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Algonquin Books
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Mar 29, 2012 Danny rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book
I wanted to like this book more, because I think it did capture the experience of a certain type of middle-class, post-college guy who's directionless in life after all the obvious directions have been followed, but there was a hurdle that I really couldn't get over.

I'll just quote the 6th of the discussion questions at the end of the book (no spoilers, promise): "The novel opens with Calvin stating, 'I work with retards.' What does he mean by that? How does that statement make you feel about Ca
Jun 19, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Calvin Moretti is a graduate school dropout who teaches autistic children. However to make his life bearable, he does not say that he teaches autistic kids but rater he reaches "retarded kids." Hating his life at the moment, he recalls how he got the job at the request of his mother who said that he needed to get a job. Appeasing her, he gets the job, although he is not fulfilled at all. While he does befriend a girl name Angela, both of their life did not turn out the way they wanted too. Angel ...more
May 21, 2012 Meryl rated it it was ok
This book started off promising. I enjoy coming of age books about young people trying to figure out how to move forward in life. Unfortunately, Calvin does not offer any insights in how to do this.

Spoiler alert. The most abhorrent part of this book was his sister Elyssa's pregnancy. It was dealt with in a completely unrealist way. When she first announces it to Calvin, he doesn't even bother to ask who the father is. At no point do her parents ask who the father is. Getting knocked up in high s
David Caldwell
I won a copy on Goodreads Firstreads.

First a disclaimer.I am sure there will be lots of people out there that find this book filled with deep meaning and sardonic humor.I am not one of them.Remember this is how I rate the book.

Calvin is a mid-20 year old who returns home after dropping out of graduate school and running out of money.His older brother has also returned home to help take care of their father who has lost his job as a pilot because of cancer.His high school sister also lives at hom
Feb 21, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
The cast of characters includes Calvin, the narrator who is a grad-school drop out living at home doing what might be considered too many drugs. He is the unlikely glue that holds the family together: his 17-year old sister Elissa seems to have everything together until we find out she's pregnant. His brother Chip is the type of guy who would wear a blackberry in a belt holster and carry a cell phone. His mother has fallen behind on bills in an attempt to pay for his father's medical expenses as ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
From the opening line to the last sentence, Calvin Moretti captured my attention with his unique voice and the interesting way he views the world. He’s not always a likable character, but that’s what I liked about him. He doesn’t try to be something he’s not: he’s genuine. He’s the voice of a generation that hasn’t quite found themselves yet, and I can’t think of a better character to tell the tale. Despite his wayward direction, I found myself standing behind him every step of the way.

The story
Valley Cottage Library
Apr 02, 2012 Valley Cottage Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lauren-pick
This is a resetting of the traditional coming-of-age novel to a more authentic time (post-college) and more authentic place (back in the family nest). There are way too many stories about young adults bravely blazing their own path, finding love, and finally making it as an artist, writer, or in some other cool job in the big city. Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac offers a refreshing alternative to this cliche.

Cal, a 24-year-old film school drop out finds himself saddled by student loans, stuck work
Apr 09, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
I got the Advanced Read Copy (ARC) of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I admit, I'm confused. The synopsis of this book claims it is not only buoyantly fun but often very, very funny. There are reviews at Amazon that claim the readers were laughing hysterically, continuing the theme that this is a funny book.

If this book is funny, I'm Rip van Winkle. Maybe my sense of humor isn't warped enough. I kept waiting for humor... and waiting... and waiting. All I got was more and more depressed. I foun
Lynn Coulter
Nov 16, 2011 Lynn Coulter rated it liked it
Moving home after college seems to have become a trend, and it's understandable, given today's high unemployment rate. Who can afford an apartment when you're fresh out of school and working at a minimum wage job, struggling until something better comes along?

That's pretty much where Calvin, the protagonist of D'Agostino's debut novel, The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac, finds himself in life. At 24, he's a film school dropout (not even a graduate!), living at home again, and working at a preschoo
Barbara Bryant
Apr 30, 2012 Barbara Bryant rated it liked it
I really quite enjoyed the first two thirds or a bit more of this book, before I felt that it had become a little predictable, even though it was kind of charming.

The story of, yes, a dysfunctional family, for which you might as well substitute any family, this book is narrated by Calvin, who wears the title of slacker son against his somewhat troubled sister Elissa and his perfect brother Chip. Spending most of his time listening to music and indulging in weed and other controlled substances, C
Feb 02, 2012 Marika rated it liked it
As a 24 year old, I must say that I have a number of friends who identify as lost, annoyed, and deeply in debt. And regardless of the educational experiences of all of us, the job situation is less than good. One might go as far to say that it truly horrible. Due to this, I think The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is certain to have an eager audience- especially in college towns.

Like many of my generation, Calvin Moretti thinks his life sucks, but it's actually more than that. Calvin's family memb
Little did I realize when I picked up this book that it would be a depressing look at a suburban slacker's struggle to figure out who he was. At first I sniggered along with his snarky irreverent references to the kids he worked with as "retards" but that joke got old pretty quick. I'm not sure what this book is trying to be. There were a few funny bits, but mostly this was a swirling mess of people making poor choices (or no choices). I didn't really like anyone, but there wasn't any villain to ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Catherine rated it did not like it
I'm only 5 chapters in, but I'm done. Finished. If you find the bitterness of mopey millennials to be funny and worth your attention, then have at it. Just keep in mind that the young 'hero' of this book works in a school for autistic children and he repeatedly refers to them as 'retards'. Haha?
Aug 12, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I absolutely ADORE this book. I LOVED it!!!! I want to be BFFs with Calvin!!! It is one of the best books I have ever read. A really touching story of a family just living and dealing with life. I really related with Calvin and his quest to figure out what in the hell he was supposed to do with his life. I think most people can relate to his struggles. I have never laughed out loud so much during a read and then cried. I fell in love with the family. It could be any ones family which makes this ...more
May 01, 2016 Joe rated it liked it
The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is the story of a hopefully brief chapter in the life of Calvin Moretti, a young man who like so many in his generation has found himself in his early 20s in uncharted territory. He’s unsure of what comes next for him and unsure he has any ability to get there. In the process of working it out (or failing to), he’s gotten himself mired in a return to his childhood home, living with a father who is fighting cancer, a mother who is fighting to keep the bills paid, ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
There were paragraphs of this book where I thought to myself WOW the author really understands his characters and their emotions. In the afterward, it stated that certain parts actually were autobiographical so that did lend authenticity to the book. Overall, short and entertaining. A good look at twenty-something angst and family.
Jan 16, 2014 Stephen rated it liked it
The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac (TSHFA) invites us into the world of that generation schooled in film studies and condemned to scour a barren workplace landscape for salvation.

The title is accurate, if a little more sizzling than the steak itself. The yarn unwinds in New York State's Hudson River valley, if not exactly in Sleepy Hollow, and portrays a family struggling to unite in a time of crisis.

TSHFA has the markings of a post-grad MFA work. Clean and clear structure and a precise prose rela
Jennifer Phelps
Aug 12, 2014 Jennifer Phelps rated it it was ok
Having grown up near Sleepy Hollow, NY I was intrigued by the location enough to pick up this book.

Cal the lead character is a slacker with few qualities that redeemed himself to me. Like so many of his generation he has had everything handed to him and is now incapable of doing anything for himself. He is basically floating through life feeling sorry for himself which is super annoying. The flaky, dysfunctional family that surrounds him can't get out of their own way let along his. While you m
Feb 08, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing
This first novel is full of poignant and droll moments as its protagonist, Calvin Moretti, tries to try to grow up for the benefit of his tragicomic family. Hope to read more from this author.
I had hoped this would be like The Family Fang but oh it was not. Maybe I'm just past the point in my life where I have a lot of patience with the rambling musings of a slacker protagonist.
May 18, 2014 Demeter rated it did not like it
From the plot summary, this seemed like a book that I would surely enjoy, or at least be able to tolerate. However, in actuality I just found it absolutely awful. I wasn't a fan of the writing style, and the plot really dragged. But the biggest problem I had with the book was this: of course you can have a book where the protagonist is an anti-hero. You can't have a successful novel wherein the reader is clearly meant to like and identify with the protagonist, but he or she is just irrevocably u ...more
May 30, 2012 Steph rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book as a First Reads Giveaway.

This book was certainly entertaining, and I think D’Agostino did a good job of capturing the plight of a twenty-something with no idea what he wants to do with his life. It is a modern-day coming-of-age story, and I appreciate that D’Agostino made the main character older than in a traditional coming-of-age story; I agree with him that more people are “coming of age” older now than they were in the past.

My main problem with this novel was the m
Mar 20, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
I often look at goodreads lists as a way to stretch out of my comfort zone and find books in genres I might not otherwise read. I won this book from a giveaway which I entered because it seemed to fit the bill. I read it in less than 24 hours - probably 12 hours start to finish.

The book is a coming of age story told from the perspective of a young 20 something male named Calvin Moretti. During the period of the story, Calvin and his family live through more than their fair share of tribulation.
Sandra Holladay
Nov 26, 2014 Sandra Holladay rated it it was ok
The blurb on the storyline sounded interesting when I got it and I thought I was in for a fun read, but I couldn't get into a main character that was so completely aimless and pathetic. Yes, we all go through bad times when nothing goes right and we don’t know what we want to do with our lives, but I guess I am not into an entire story built around someone who does nothing but drugs, jacks off, and complains that life sucks when he does absolutely nothing to improve his life. Not only does Calvi ...more
Barbara Williams
During my last semester of college, a professor of mine overheard my conversation with a fellow student about the joys of graduation. No more late night painting sessions, with 2 hours of sleep on a lumpy couch with 6 cups of coffee. No more paint on my clothes. And no more minimum wage job at a run-down shoe store. I would make my own rules; paint on my own time. But my professor knew better than I. “Life of an artist is hard,” she said, “Four months after graduation will be the lowest part of ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Michael rated it it was ok
The writer mostly handles the small moments just right and at times, the book has a Hotel New Hampshire sort of feeling vis a vis its sprawling family drama, a whacky, troubled family who love each other finding a way to work through real problems. But the book falters in key moments with details that never rise to the level of believability. The father, possibly dying of cancer, carries a pistol with him wherever he goes and ends up accidentally shooting the narrator in the shoulder and I didn' ...more
Kim Heimbuch
Nov 03, 2012 Kim Heimbuch rated it really liked it
"Four years in the undergraduate incubator plus the four-month failed social experiment I like to call "grad school" plus off-campus housing plus many, many burritos equals over $45,000 to replay. At my current income, I'm looking at full financial independence at around age sixty-seven." Chpt 2

Best opening I have read in a very long time. This book, while witty and humorous, hits so close to home for so many young adults who have to deal with aging family members, dysfunctional siblings, and tr
Shannon Barber
Jul 21, 2012 Shannon Barber rated it liked it
I just finished reading this book and it was entertaining but, didn't entirely hold my interest.

Early on I didn't like nor dislike the protagonist. After the first quarter of the book I felt that both his behavior and the writing got to be a bit predictable. My big issue was that Calvin stopped being very memorable and I found myself more interested in his sister. There are spots where Calvin's internal monologue is endearing but they got lost for me overall.

The story wasn't compelling to me. So
Debbie Jarrell
Sep 11, 2015 Debbie Jarrell rated it it was amazing
This is a reread for me, the second time through this book. I appreciated it better the second time through. The main character is a recent college graduate who is trying to figure out what to do with himself after college. He's working at a job he wasn't trained to do, can't find a job to support himself without living with his parents, who he is starting to see are dysfunctional, and everything seems to be falling apart. I know this author, and see little parts of his life in this book.
Grandpa Joe
Mar 09, 2015 Grandpa Joe rated it it was ok
The book is an interesting look at a down and out family - a grown sibling living at home because he hasn't moved on with his life and has no clear sense of direction; a father demoralized by a cancer, not necessarily fatal, that has cost him his airline pilot's license, and family finances that are in dire straits and that should be worsened by the immature actions of family members that should only add to the family's debts. Interesting, but not a great book. 2 1/2 stars out of 5.
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“I have a theory that as human beings get older, chemicals are released into the brain to prepare us for the end. Sort of like how the nurse lubes your ass up before the anus-cam. It makes the whole thing a lot easier to swallow. Easier, not enjoyable.” 4 likes
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