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A Fistful of Fig Newtons

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  267 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From the wild and wacky world of a favorite funnyman, a dozen truer-than-life tales of tailgating on the Jersey Tumpike, infuriating infants, and other everyday catastrophes, defeats, and humiliations that are the familiar fate of Americans everywhere.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published 1981)
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I was missing Jean Shepherd's voice, but after having read a huge biography of him last year, and experiencing anew the shock of the late-70's-attitude towards women in the first few stories in this book, I guess I would have been better off renting A Christmas Story. The quality of these stories is somewhat uneven - the childhood stories are better than the army stories, which are better than the college stories, etc. Still, it was nice to read a few tightly written short stories from the wanin ...more
Published in the early 1970's this collections of humorous essays shows just how much our reading styles have changed. The print font is ridiculously small and some of the essays are very long. The format of connecting the essays is the author's daily commute through the tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. The traffic is the small snarl, but the lack of air conditioning in the cars and the effect that has on fellow drivers adds additional humor. The essays cover growing up in small town A ...more
William Quest
A splendidly written collection of tales of remembrance that only Jean Shepard can tell in his satiric wisdom. It was fun reading more about Ralphie as he goes to summer camp, enters High School and gets out of the Army, as well as other great moments. All the way through, I could hear Jean Shepard's voice narrating the stories, just as he did for the movie "A Christmas Story." Really, it was like meeting an old friend.
Elisha Condie
I love Jean Shepherd. I love his narrative voice. This book is another collection of short stories, many of them centered around his army days (so a little later than the stories in "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories"). I pick it up often, and just did again, because I just don't get tired of these. He's so funny and always adds just the right details to his stories, so I can totally see the scene he's painting.
I have a lesson to prepare, a book club book to read, a library book to read
I have been a big fan of Jean Shepherd since the mid-1960s when I first heard him chat away each night at 10:15 on WOR radio, NY. I even have a signed edition of his second book, and dozens of recordings of his shows, poetry readings, etc. With that in mind, I think this book, Fistful of Fig Newtons, is more for the old-time fan than the person who is looking to be introduced to Shep (including those who know him only from his Christmas story. For newbies, read "In God We Trust, All Others Pay C ...more
redolent of his wit and wisdom, Shepherd delivers with this collection of short stories loosely strung together with story-glue consisting of him traversing the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour.

two stand-out stories rise to the top, redolent of the maniacal descriptive minutiae with which ol' man Jean infused his midwestern tales of madness, mystery, and mayhem, the title story "A fist full of fig newtons" and another about an ice cream war really took the cake. the rest was still worthy of reading.

Best story of heading to camp! Not a complete review but an honest one
Frank W.
I'm a big fan of Jean Shepherd and still miss him. I avidly listened to him on WOR 710 AM while in high school. Being a born and raised Jerseyite who commuted to NYC for years, I identified with his unique observations and witty segues into his truly unique short stories. This book is a wonderful collection. I can truly relish life in a simpler time.
I find Shepherd's hyperbolic style endlessly amusing. The quality of the pieces is a bit uneven - the best pieces are the imagined memoirs. I especially liked The Mole People Battle The Forces of Darkness and The Marathon Run of Lonesome Ernie The Arkansas Traveler. The rest was so so.
Sep 25, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Guys who are lil bored and have an odd sense of humor
I think this was a guy lit, instead of a chick lit. It was interesting but I had a hard time keeping up with where the guy was exactly. It was kinda cool, the guy is stuck in traffic, and thinks about his past and remembers different stories.
Matthew Perry
Although I love all of Shepherd's books this is not on par with In God We Trust and Wanda Hickey. There are still great stories to be found, but there are a few duds to be found as well.
Loved these stories... my dad was such a product of this generation albeit the tail end but still...warm fuzzy hilarity!
Humorist Jean Shephard riffs on troop trains, college life on the GI Bill, cars, and even ice cream wars. What's not to love?
Susan Sevcik
Interesting take on what one thinks about on the daily commute. Some were funny, some were boring.
More adult oriented stories by the "Christmas Story" creator.
Humorous, nostalgic stories
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Was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep. With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is best known to modern audiences for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.
More about Jean Shepherd...
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash A Christmas Story Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters The Ferrari in the Bedroom Shep's Army: Bummers, Blisters, & Boondoggles

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