Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters
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Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  591 ratings  ·  72 reviews
A bestselling classic of humorous and nostalgic Americana, reissued in a strikingly designed trade paperback edition.

Before Garrison Keillor and Spalding Gray there was Jean Shepherd: a master monologist and writer who spun the materials of his all-American childhood into immensely resonant--and utterly hilarious--works of comic art.

Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 16th 1976 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,007)
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Daniel
As with his spiritual heir David Sedaris, it's impossible to read Jean Shepherd without hearing his voice. (Anyone who's seen the movie based on his stories, "A Christmas Story," has heard his voice, as he was the film's narrator; anyone who hasn't heard Shepherd's old New York radio shows really needs to seek out some recordings.)

Much of "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories," as was the case with "A Christmas Story," serves as something of a love letter to Shepherd's father, played so perfe...more
Dale
Excellent. Absolutely Excellent.

Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters
is written by the man who co-wrote and narrates the classic movie A Christmas Story , Jean Shepherd (1921-1999). Shepherd's book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash is the inspiration for that movie, although the infamous dogs in the kitchen scene comes from Wanda Hickey.

If you love the movie A Christmas Story , you will absolutely enjoy this book. Set in Hammond, Indiana (he fictionalizes it as Hohman...more
Lori
I just finished reading a pretty tragic book and needed to follow up with something a little more upbeat. This definitely fit the bill. As I read this story to myself, I couldn’t help but hear Jean Shepherd’s voice narrate Ralphie’s recollections of his youth – And I couldn’t help visualizing the movie versions of Ralphie and his sidekicks, Flick and Schwartz as adolescents. Ralphie’s stories are sweet and funny… A real treat for nostalgic toy, candy, and radio show lovers!
David
Aug 14, 2008 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: NPR
Jean Shepherd's stories are a sort of quasi-autobiographical nostalgic comedy. He brings us back(?) to the stereotypical midwestern American family of the mid-20th century. You may not recognize his name, but you probably know his work, because four of his short stories (one from this book, and three from In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash) were combined to form most of the material for the movie "A Christmas Story."

It's funny because it's true, but also because it's exaggerated. The narrati...more
Tyson Call
Dec 26, 2012 Tyson Call rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Garrison Keillor
For those who are reading this with absolutely no background information on Jean Shepherd, he is a storyteller best known for his stories which were made into the movie A Christmas Story. Those stories are mostly contained in In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash though as talented as he is, he recycles quite a bit, meaning that you will recognize parts of that book/movie sprinkled throughout many of his works.

This particular book, Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories is a collection of indiv...more
Mike
Jean Shepherd gave the commencement speech at my high school.He asked me where I was going to college.He laughed and said "That was the first college I got kicked out of!" I got kicked out as well, so I follow in the footsteps of greatness.In my own defense, who the fuck puts a college close enough that if you maintain a steady 110-120mph you can be in Daytona beach in 20 minutes?Anyway this book is a collection of funny stories.He wrote and narrates "A Christmas Story" which is on every Christm...more
Daniel Brown
Some of the stories in here were pretty good, but overall, I was kind of let down. The kid was a bit of a punk I thought. I think what hurt was that I was expecting it to be similar to A Christmas Story, and that was going through my mind the whole time I read this book. The movie was definitely better.
Kate
Wanda Hickey is one of those humorous coming of age stories in vignettes a la Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon stories. The true stories tell of Jean Shepherd's childhood in small town Indiana, where his family and his friends are the main players on a stage of hilarity. Being Polish, I was particularly taken with the story of Josephine, a Polish girl from East Chicago upon whom Jean sets his sights, and whose Polish family he describes with a gusto that makes me love my own family all the more....more
Matthew
Aug 25, 2008 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, and Garrison Keilor fans.
Recommended to Matthew by: Some lady on a Fathers' Day commentary on NPR
I haven't read for pleasure much since the summer semester started so I'm reading a fun one now.

"The Christmas Story" is based on the events told in this book.

Jean Shepperd writes this book in first person with himself as the main character but I can't tell if this is fact or fiction. I think that it's a little of both, but it doesn't matter. (Probably a little like Bill Bryson's Thunderbolt Kid where the facts are distorted enough so that even the people the story is based-upon don't recogniz...more
Matthew Perry
I must give full disclosure, Jean Shepherd is one of my favorite authors of all time so I may be a bit biased when reviewing his work. What makes Wanda Hickey and his other books so enjoyable is the way in which the stories are woven by Shepherd. I am a young man and have no idea what it was like to grow up during the depression but through Shepherd and my own knowledge of history his works come alive. Weather is be taking that girl out on an ill-fated first date or taking that family vacation t...more
Bloomreader
Jerry Seinfeld credited Jean Shepherd as an major inspiration, and I can see why. I LOVE Jean Shepherd's sense of humor and literary style -- he leaves no comedic arrow unslung, and aims quite a few at himself. This book had me laughing, uncontrolled and out loud, many times. It is perfect reading pretty much anytime EXCEPT late at night if you've got children. Why? Because you may end up waking them. Then they want to know why Mommy is crying ("Because I'm laughing so hard, honey.."), what's so...more
Charlene Gordon
Delightful book! I can hear Jean Shepherd's voice as I read this book. Read this in 1998.
Jc
More Jean Shepherd ... and my favorite collection of his stories. Like his first collection, I have been reading these aloud to Nicki over during road trips, finished this collection last year (already working on the third). I probably have read these stories at least 5 times in the past, plus heard Shep tell versions of them. Wonderful stuff. Like the earlier collection, bits and pieces of these stories show up in Shep's film, "A Christmas Story," where most of his modern fans first met and hea...more
Dara
In high school, an English teacher with a warped sense of humor had her classes read Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories on the day of the senior prom. For our class, we never finished the story during the class period so I've spend 17 years wondering how it ended. This story collection by Jean Shepherd (author of the stories on which A Christmas Story is based) is fun (3.5 stars). And now I know about Wanda's golden memories. My prom was much less eventful.
Mayda
Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories is a fun read of simpler times. Jean Shepherd relates stories of his boyhood, growing up in the shadow of the steel mills in Northwest Indiana. Humor abounds in these tales of hillbilly neighbors, county fairs, fishing vacations, competition on the playground, and, of course, the never-ending adolescent problem of dealing with the opposite sex. You might just find a bit of your own childhood experiences in these pages.
Erikajean Jean
I didn't not like this book, it was just too slow for me. The stories were good - I never wanted to read more. Watching Christmas Story over the holidays help me to "hear" the author and reading flowed a little easier - but... I was b o r e d. I even kept the book past its overdue date, becuase I did want to read it... but I give up. I just realized I'm not that interested, time to move on! (I finished 46% of this book)
Terrance Bramblett
Jean Shepherd wrote many books besides the Ralphie Christmas story. I adivse you to read them all, he is a brilliant humor wroiter, and captures the amgst or growing up nicely.
Chris
Jean Shepherd's stories are undeniably funny and he's a master of vividly describing the life of a kid growing up in the Midwest in the 30s but they're best taken in small doses. Together, they can become slightly repetitive. Still, some of Shepherd's lines are worthy of writing down and/or memorizing and Ralphie will always be a beloved home-grown character for readers in Northwest Indiana.
Bap
Jul 28, 2008 Bap rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Beats me what the book was about but vaguely remember not liking it. Mike's comments have caused an uproar. I have finally solved the riddle. alice said the book was a 5, as funny as Sedaris or Bryson. If anyone has seen alice read a book she thinks is funny, you will know that she laughs uproariously to the point that you just have to read the book. I did and found it forgettable.
Michael Tildsley
There's something very entertaining in reading Jean Shepherd's autobiographical life sketches. There's a realism in the events in his life, and an entertaining optimism in his younger self's outlook on life. Many of his experiences ring true with my own personal experiences and reading them through eyes of someone in a different time period fascinated me.
Rich
This is perhaps my favorite of all the Jean Shepherd books. Here Shepherd has moved on from his childhood days to junior high and high school, along with his kid brother, Randy, Flick, Schwartz, and the Old Man.

Again, he pokes fun state fairs--and the HOllywood treatment of them--cars, proms, the dream girl. You'll be laughing till you can't stop.
Jennifer
My dad gave me this book when I was growing up, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I later found out that a few of the stories from this book were turned into the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. Just a wonderfully written, hilarious account of growing up -- with a tall tale aspect to it that just elevates the stories to pure fun!
Andrea
This is laugh out loud funny. I just re read it and it was still hilarious! I have all his books and his wit, self deprivation and his nostalgic memories are a real treasure.
Jim Wilson
Jean Shepherd presented his stories of growing up in Gary Indiana for many years on NPR. This is one of his collections of stories. Along with In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash it is the basis for the Movie, A Christmas Story. For sheer nostalgic enjoyment there is nothing better. Reread both books every winter.
Cara Lee
If you liked the movie "A Christmas Story," you'll probably love this book. If you haven't seen "A Christmas Story," what are you waiting for?! Jean Shepherd is a consummate storyteller, and each of these gems offers a hilarious, heartwarming look at growing up in America at its most nostalgic and embarrassing.
Elisha Condie
Another favorite of mine, by the author who wrote the story behind the movie "A Christmas Story". Jean Shepherd's narrative voice absolutely kills me. I laugh out loud at some of these stories.
So far I'm just choosing lightweight books, but they are the ones I find myself re-reading for fun.
Elizabeth
Jun 21, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Miss Kerry!
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Bruce
My husband got this book for me because I'm addicted to Shepherd's old radio programs and I could watch the Christmas Story over and over again. This won't let you down if you like coming of age stories and you need a book that will actually make you laugh out loud.
Bruce
If you like the movie "A Christmas Story", about a boy in the forties who really wants a BB gun, you will love this book by Jean Shepherd whose stories that movie was taken from. The original versions of a few of the scenes in the movie are in this book.
Colin
Laugh-out-loud funny stories from a master, in my opinion. Nobody does tongue in cheek gravitas applied to kid life better. Favorite story so far is "County Fair!", but they're all pretty similar. BONUS: In just about every one, someone seems to throw up.
Rob
If you know The Christmas Story, and I know you do, this has that story and more. You'll shoot your eye out kid! Jean Shepherd is genius. Check out his recently released comedy CD. Better living through chemistry, my friends.
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“What the hell time is it?" muttered the old man. He was always an aggressive sleeper. Sleep was one of the things he did best, and he loved it. Some look upon sleep as an unfortunate necessary interruption of life; but there are others who hold that sleep is life, or at least one of the more fulfilling aspects of it, like eating or sex. Any time my old man's sleep was interrupted, he became truly dangerous.” 5 likes
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