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The Next Better Place: Memories of My Misspent Youth
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The Next Better Place: Memories of My Misspent Youth

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In 1959, at the age of eleven, Michael Keith left a relatively stable life with his mother and sisters in Albany, New York, and surreptitiously set off for California with his irresponsible alcoholic father. For the rest of Michael's childhood, the two crisscrossed America, perpetually en route to someplace else. His memoir, told in the fresh, funny, world-wise voice of th ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Algonquin Books (first published 2002)
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Greg Western
Dec 18, 2014 Greg Western rated it really liked it
This book is a crazy memoir from the point of view of a kid on a cross county trip with his dad in 1959. It is honest and dark and creepy and man I am super curious how that kid turned out. The book jacket has a quote from Publishers Weekly that has the phrase, "Reads like Little League Kerouac." As I was reading I kept thinking that Dean Moriarty sounds like a choir boy compared to this father son duo. The fact that On The Road is some beat generation drug fantasy typed out all night on an old ...more
Constance
Oct 28, 2016 Constance rated it it was ok
meh.... quit at p 136, 1/2 way through.
Jeffrey Miller
Oct 29, 2014 Jeffrey Miller rated it it was amazing
Imagine a young boy and his estranged father on the road traveling across the United States on their way to California. Imagine also, the boy and his father having one adventure after another and along the way, the boy and his father both learn something about themselves and each other. Could anything be more romantic in a post World War II, Kerouac world?

However, in Michael C. Keith’s brilliant and moving memoirs, The Next Better Place: Memories of my Misspent Youth, a coming-of-age story set
...more
Kittiya
This was a fast past story. I felt It was a very moving memoir, of a father and his son traveling cross country. I wanted to slap around the dad most of the story. I just couldn't see why he just couldn't let his son go. An I could not believe what that boy Mike had to go through. A few times I almost cried (I'm not a big crier). Other times a was laughing out loud. I felt it was a roller coaster ride of entertainment.
Katrina
Very enjoyable audio read; sad and funny memoir of Keith's adventure on the road with his irresponsible, alcoholic father. My only complaint is that there needs to be a follow up. I'm quite curious as to what happened to Keith after they made it back to Albany. Did he ever go on that road trip to Florida that he was dreaming of at the end of the story? Does he continue to have the wanderlust spirit as an adult?
Kittiya
Jan 23, 2009 Kittiya rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: a fast pasted memoir
Recommended to Kittiya by: librarian
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a fast past story. I felt It was a very moving memoir, of a father and his son traveling cross country. I wanted to slap around the dad most of the story. I just couldn't see why he just couldn't let his son go. An I could not believe what that boy Mike had to go through. A few times I almost cried (I'm not a big crier). Other times a was laughing out loud. I felt it was a roller coaster ride of entertainment.
Lbutlerco
May 14, 2012 Lbutlerco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a a touching, bittersweet memoir of an 11 year old boy in 1959 and his life on the road with his dysfunctional, alcoholic father. It was both funny and sad, but knowing that the author turned out to turned out to be a "normal," successful adult with a satisfying life kept it from being infuriating (the boy's father can be quite exasperating!). It's well written, interesting, and at times quite moving.
Clint
Aug 04, 2015 Clint rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Childhood memoir of traveling across the country and back with his divorced and down-on-his-luck dad in 1959. Reads almost like fiction more than 55 years later. Hitchhiking part of the way, staying in flophouses and working in small spurts across the country seem almost impossible for a 50-plus father and nearly 12-year-old son today. Nevertheless, a decent listen.
Julia
Nov 13, 2012 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-books-in-2012
It is crazy the difference between how kids were raised 50 years ago and now...loved reading this because of how it helped me recall my mispent youth...but...as a form of art...just okay.
James Hemingway
Nov 17, 2011 James Hemingway rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the elements of travel and the life experiences of a boy growing up.
Emily
Jun 28, 2012 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
father and son on the road.
Claudia
Mar 12, 2011 Claudia rated it it was ok
Not a bad story. Engaging and sad. It could have been better written. The author relies too heavily on short cuts - cliches and hackneyed phrases.
Melva
Aug 01, 2008 Melva rated it liked it
Amazing how young people survive and thrive.
Claudia
Mar 23, 2014 Claudia rated it liked it
Interesting.
Rumi
Jun 10, 2015 Rumi rated it liked it
A fascinating, well told story about a boys homeless adventures around the country with his father. I would have liked more of a conclusion !
Zibergirl
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Nov 02, 2009
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