My Life And Hard Times
Widely hailed as one of the finest humorist of the twentieth century, James Thurber looks back at his own life growing up in Columbus, Ohio, with the same humor and sharp wit that defined his famous sketches and writings. In My Life and Hard times, first published in 1933, he recounts the delightful chaos and frustrations of family, boyhood, youth odd dogs, recalcitrant...more
These stories are absolutely superb. "The Night the Ghost Got In" and "The Dog That Bit People" are wonderful, and the episode in "More Alarms At Night" where his dad "threatened to get Buck" is laugh-out-loud hilarious. I love the characters, as well....more
I'd recommend this one to anyone who likes humor, and who enjoys James Thurber. I'm moving on to the next one of his books that I found...more
If I didn't dislike the old man so much, I’d feel bad about wasting his money. Because me and The New Yorker…we didn't get each other. I tried, I really tried to read and understand the articles. (Even then, I knew ENJOYING them would be beyond my meager abilities.) But it was a hopeless case. My idea of culture was the next Christian Slater movie, or the newest B...more
My Life and Hard Times Review
There are many novels and pieces of literature that are considered classics. These books include Call of the Wild by Jack London, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The definition of a classic can vary from person to person, but they generally have several things in common. Books known as classics demand respect from society, and are widely accepted to be “good” pieces of literature. T...more
As I try to write about Thurber, with his My Life and Hard Times and The Wide Sargasso sea by Jean Rhys, I think that I should change my reading strategy.
At this stage, I try to read all that the great books on the top 100-150 lists of books given by The Modern Library, TIME, The Guardian, Friendswood and eventually Le Monde. Le Monde has a different perspective, with its list of best books- „Starting from a preliminary list of 200 titles created by bookshops and...more
James is a boy who's family is made of interesting people, a weird car, and a house in the middle of an odd neighborhood. This family of five lives in a cinder block on a farm and it’s a difficult life. There is barely enough food to feed her family, the winters are harsh, and the farmer’s cat can’t wait to get his paws on the mice.
Timothy gets sick, and the small cold becomes life...more
Okay, okay, so I know James Thurber is a celebrated author and artist who spent the majority of his career writing for The New Yorker, but that was over 50 years ago. I really need to start washing my hands of classics such as these because they're just too old. I can appreciate his talent, but from an enjoyment standpoint I just need to stick to later, humorous biographies written by people that are stil...more
I'm not sure I agree that Thurber has been our (American) best humor writer, or our best short story writer. What about Raymond Carver? Doesn't Jon Stewart count?
Certainly, I find his writing humorous, but I also find it a bit monotonous. In this semi-autobiography, I tired easily of the bumblings in the dark. There were far, far too many of these stories. The electric car piece is hands-down the best of them all, but I feel he never achieves that level again in the "col...more
And it was! A very short memoir that says it all. Some writers don't have to talk and talk and talk, just a few short episodes, all humorous, tell about the essential elements of James Thurber's boyhood growing up in Columbus, Ohio - the flatlands. Even though the chapters could be seen as short stories, they are not! They are true episodes in this humorist's life. The book was written in the 30s and it has lo...more
The stories were not funny at all and just throwaway anecdotes that might have been funny to the author's immediate family or maybe as part of a silent era slapstick movie, but as written words they were pointless and instantly forgettable.
I liked "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" so I was surprised by the one-dimensional self-centered voice of this "autobiography"....more
The chapter about the day the dam broke was especially inspired. So was the chapter on his memories of Ohio State University:
"I was mediocre at drill, certainly-- that is, until my senior year. By that time I had drilled longer than anybody else in the Western Conference, having failed at military at the end o...more
This short 'autobiography' is dry, witty, self-deprecating and interes...more
Anyway, though, as I said, I'd never really read any Thurber. As I read this and talked to people about it, it...more
Aristotle said: "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think." Seeing the past through the wrong side of the telescope, Thurber is is able to invest apparently distressing events with the patina of humour which brings out his delightfully eccentric family (including hi...more
Thurber’s grandfather couldn’t tell the difference between a police officer in the early 1900s and...more
"Your short-piece writer's time is not Walter Lippmann's time, or Stuart Chase's time, or Professor Einstein's time. It is his own personal time, circumscribed by the short boundaries of his pain and his embarrassment, in which what happens to his digestion, the rear axle of his car, and the confused flow of his relationsh...more
James Thurber has a gift with words. He always knows when to add a particular detail and when to add a comment on the events he's narrating. This collection of stories leads me to believe that the author grew up in a uproariously crazy household; in fact, he could have lived a commonplace life, but his telling of it is exquisite.
This is James Thurber's memoir - it's a collection of 10 stories from his childhood/youth. It's only about a hundred pages long, so I was hoping I'd be able to read the whole thing whil waiting in line at the bookstore where I was doing my Christmas shopping. But the lines were actually moving pretty fast, so I had to buy it.
This is a book that would be fun to read aloud.