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The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness, and Baseball
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The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness, and Baseball

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Growing up in a doomed hometown with a missing father and a single mother, Nicholas Dawidoff listened to baseball every night on his bedside radio, the professional ballplayers gradually becoming the men in his life. A portrait of a childhood shaped by a stoical, enterprising mother, a disturbed, dangerous father, the private world of baseball, and the awkwardness of first ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Pantheon (first published 2008)
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Jul 13, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
There are only a few books I consider perfect: Tuck Everlasting, Book Thief, To Kill a Mockingbird, Search for Delicious...I'm not even sure I can describe perfect but I know it when I find it.

This is a perfect book.

It is a series of rememberings, both from the perspective of the age he was and from now. Woven in and out of the rememberings are baseball and his father. He never runs out of steam and the ending isn't happy because there isn't an ending.

This was also an incredibly important book
Aug 01, 2008 Carla rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoy well-written and perceptive memoirs especially when they have painful and hopeful revelations in equal measure. This book is a highly satisfying memoir that contains many wonderfully descriptive passages that capture the angst of growing up and feeling like an outsider. The author's life is colored by his father's mental illness, his mother's austere strength and determination and his love of baseball. The fact that he grew up in New Haven and graduated from Hopkins added to m ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Audrey rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous book. It's about so much--baseball, family, obsessive fandom, dealing with the mental illness of a family member. The writer goes off on tangents that are all ultimately rewarding and interesting and, somehow, just right.

What can't be ignored is the writing--it's stunning.
Bill Hall
Mar 29, 2009 Bill Hall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, memoirs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it
My daughter Ryan says reading this book will help understand her, so I approached it a bit sideways, looking for what was Ryan more than just reading a book. I see why she was struck by the book. There is a lot of commonality – reading aloud, the Hardy Boys books, being poor and having a somewhat over-organized mother (the food shopping and freezing description was eerie), no TV, obsession with candy, even the scary parallels with the kidnapping of Jennifer and the Seattle kidnapping of Heidi (a ...more
Sandie Brown
Jan 25, 2015 Sandie Brown rated it really liked it
I liked it. the guy dealt with lots of heavy stuff. weird to think mental illness was still so taboo even in the 70s. the author got wayyyy to carried away with adjectives and way too many big words! I think it would have been fine with less
May 24, 2012 Ace rated it really liked it
Father's crazy - suffering from schizophrenia or some similar malady, his mother, forced to raise him and his younger sister without any financial help from her ex-husband, guides her families austere existence. He's bullied in school and worries that he may wind up like his old man in Bonkerland. In other words, this is the childhood memoir we all would write if we hadn't forced ourselves to forget the gory details.

I bought the book because of the allusion to baseball in the title, but it wasn'
Leah Smith
Dec 28, 2009 Leah Smith rated it it was ok
I finally finished this gift from my husband. I love baseball and memoirs, so it was a great idea. Ultimately, it was depressing and added to my already-maudlin mood, so I'm not sure I can recommend it. If you are looking for a fabulous baseball memoir, check out Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin, another thoughtful gift from my husband.
Jennifer Lindsay
Jun 12, 2010 Jennifer Lindsay rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball, memoir
The latest of my memoirs with baseball as the backdrop. I love how this is written, on the book jacket: "...moving piece of personal history that transforms ordinary moments into literature." This author's unbelievable detailed recollection of his childhood is impressive. First saw this book at Barnes and Noble, but actually got it through, a fabulous book exchange website.
Nov 07, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
A beautiful and moving memoir. Wistful in tone. I am struck by the honesty of the writing as the author confronts memories that are painful, embarassing, shameful, victorious, and loving. A portrait of an imperfect family in an imperfect world and a boy who grows in wisdom and mercy in front of our eyes.
Jan 20, 2013 Meagan rated it it was ok
Really wasn't crazy about this book. It was in the sports section of Half Price Books but was definitely more of a coming of age story than a sports book. The author did not have an easy childhood, and while I felt for him, I just couldn't find myself engrossed in the story. I plugged through just to finish it.
Mar 19, 2009 Julia rated it liked it
The prose in this book is gorgeous and evocative as Dawidoff describes his childhood of divorced parents, one of whom was mentally unbalanced. Just a wonderful memoir.
Sep 16, 2008 Ellen rated it liked it
Yes, it's a baseball memoir....and also a memoir of growing up with a mentally ill father. He writes very, very well.
Dec 03, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Beautifully written memoir by the author of one of my favorite baseball books, The Catcher was a Spy.
Aaron Kent
Nov 03, 2013 Aaron Kent rated it liked it
This is our bookclub book so I will withhold a critique until after bookclub.
Feb 13, 2013 Martha rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir
Beautiful and true. Proper grammar.
Oct 15, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
Wonderful writing.
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“What I missed was what I missed every year when the season ended and abruptly the radio was quiet. I missed them.” 6 likes
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