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Looking Back: A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties

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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
First published in 1973, when its author was nineteen years old, Looking Back: A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties has become a classic to many of the baby boom generation, for its sharply observed account of coming of age during turbulent times. Now used in many high school English and social studies courses, this new edition is being brought out to mark the 30th ...more
Paperback, 163 pages
Published February 7th 2003 by Backinprint.com (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

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SEY
Sep 18, 2016 SEY rated it it was amazing
This book spoke to me quite deeply when I was a young woman. Read it after a semester away at college, home waiting for my summer job to start. My older brother had just missed going to Vietnam. Somebody else was seeing the same world as me, she was an articulate young woman working to figure it all out with education, experience and words. I was too. This was the right book at the right time for many of us in the early seventies!
Kathryn
Jan 29, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Maynard's thought-provoking Labor Day made my top ten list for 2010. Wondering what else she'd written, I stumbled across Looking Back which was first published in 1973 when Maynard was 19 years old. The new foreward alone is worth the price of admission. Her insights help me make sense of my own past; our shared memories of Women's Liberation, high school fundraising, the 1968 and 1972 election campaigns, and the back to nature movement make me want to throw my arm around her shoulder and disso ...more
Liralen
It took me weeks to read this slip of a book, but there are some pretty interesting elements to it. Not least: the introduction to the anniversary edition, in which Maynard (older, wiser) acknowledges that her nineteen-year-old writer-self was, well, a little self-important...and also hiding a lot. Honestly, I think it's a better book with the context of that introduction; Maynard is gentle with her younger self, but comes across as...I'm not sure how to put this. Much more aware of nuance, I gu ...more
Diane
Jul 09, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing
When a fellow blogger told me about this memoir by a favorite author, I couldn't wait to read it, as I also grew up "old" in the sixties.

I expected the memoir to be somewhat shallow or maybe a bit frivolous given the fact that the author was a nineteen-year-old college student when she wrote this book. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn't the case at all. Her writing reflects personal experiences and observations that were written with depth and vision. Maynard had me reflecting on my ow
...more
Robert Palmer
Jan 30, 2014 Robert Palmer rated it really liked it
Joyce Maynard was born in 1953 eight years after me. Her experiences growing up Durham, New Hampshire included a culture shock as the sixties hit New Hampshire, she was ten when Kennedy was assassinated, while I was eighteen and graduated from high school that year. Joyce was fifteen when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated, whereas I was twenty three. I had gone to the same public school Joyce went to through my junior year. We both witnessed a horrible sadistic cultural nor ...more
jimtown
Jul 22, 2016 jimtown rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1960-s
Written at age nineteen in 1973, Joyce Maynard takes a look at growing up in the sixties. This is not your usual memoir but more a state of the union type address on the times. Joyce was pretty insightful for one so young. I only wish she would have written it in the first person rather than to try to encompass the whole generation. She even knew that herself, not to generalize, but she still did a lot of generalizing from her point of view.

I could relate to many of her thoughts, some things she
...more
Laurel-Rain
Dec 31, 2008 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
In 1972, an eighteen-year-old girl from New Hampshire wrote an essay for the New York Times, entitled “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life”. Within days of the article’s publication, many letters came pouring in – requests for other articles, offers to go on television, and offers to meet with editors. One offer culminated in this book – an expansion of the article she had written for the “Times”.

In this memoir, the young woman, Joyce Maynard, wrote about her experiences growing up in a time
...more
Nath
Aug 01, 2013 Nath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai voulu lire ce livre car le titre me plaisait bien et puis je suis une fana des USA donc ... :)
Il faut savoir que c'est un livre qui a été vendu aux USA dans les années 70 et qui n'avait jamais été traduit en Français jusqu'à aujourd'hui. Et cette année c'est la première fois qu'il est édité en France.
L'intro est intéressante, Joyce Maynard nous parle un peu du parcours de ce livre et de nous donne des précisions, j'ai beaucoup aimé ce passage. Je trouvais d'après cette intro que le livre al
...more
Cynthia Lamas
Jul 02, 2012 Cynthia Lamas rated it it was amazing
I have this book on my shelf since I was sixteen. I purchased it because I liked the book cover of the young girl like me. As I began reading it at 16,I couldn't find a connection. Probably due to the fact that the writer was older, albeit by 2 to 3 years but those added years make a difference. So, I put the book away and didn't think about until I came home for summer between my Junior/Senior year of college. It all made sense to me. Maynard's questions and inquiries were the same as mine. I r ...more
John Abell
Oct 18, 2008 John Abell rated it really liked it
I think she looks back and cringes a bit on this, but this essentially long essay was assigned in freshman english when I was in college and has stayed with me. It both gave me hope and filled me with despair. Maynard is so clear and precise and elegant and simple in her prose that she sets a high bar for anyone who aspires to write while being endearingly entertaining. There is a "brush with greatness" angle too: Nancy wrote to Maynard when she was writing (and we were subscribing to) her newsl ...more
Robin
Aug 20, 2015 Robin rated it it was ok
This book did not take me on the stroll down memory lane that I'd hoped it would.
Lynn Bonelli
Feb 26, 2013 Lynn Bonelli rated it really liked it
I love Joyce Maynard. Although I am a generation behind her there were many similarities in our generations. Strangely, there are also many in the one growing up now. As I listen to people in my demographic complain about 'kids these days' and the failure of the school system to hold children accountable with letter grades and stating that the problem is that we don't spank our kids anymore I see that this is not a NEW idea...Maynard's generation was (generally) brought up the same way. As usual ...more
Laura
Aug 26, 2013 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Thoughts from a child of the sixties on everything from television to dancing at the school dances to music (Pete Seeger was her fave)to dissent to refusing to smoke marijuana...
In some ways she always felt old, but then again she was surprised to be in the role of big kid when babysitting a little friend.
Captures how mixed-up we all felt with a jumble of feelings and wondering how we're supposed to feel.
Carole
Jan 04, 2014 Carole rated it liked it
I wanted to read this memoir about growing up in the 1960s because Joyce Maynard and I are just the same age. What I had not realized was that she wrote this in 1973! Even so, we definitely grew up in the same world and I enjoyed reading her commentaries although in some ways our worlds were quite different.
Mrs. Gibbs
Apr 13, 2012 Mrs. Gibbs marked it as to-read
This was my favorite book at 17; I still have the dogeared and marked up copy I carried around with me everywhere that year. I just remembered it, talking about memoir and autobiography with my students. I need to revisit as my independent reading book and see if it's as good as I thought it was then...
Bookcat88
Mar 13, 2016 Bookcat88 rated it liked it
This is an early work of Joyce Maynard's and gives some interesting insight about her growing up years. It is with reading, especially for Maynard fans, but nowhere near as satisfying as her books to follow. I'd give 3.5 stars.
Elyssa
Oct 10, 2007 Elyssa rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I read this when I was sixteen and thought it was quite daring for Joyce Maynard to write a memoir at age nineteen. It's not great, but certainly interesting to hear a very young adult look back on her life thus far.
Patricia Brooks
Apr 03, 2011 Patricia Brooks marked it as to-read
After reading her memoir - I am sure this wil be a good read - we are of the same generation and have a few of the same experiences - she is a terrific writer - I like the courage she shows in her work.
Gay
Jun 18, 2011 Gay rated it really liked it
Even though this is a memoir of a very young person (19), her insight and writing is beyond her years. She has a later book about her time spent living with J. D. Salinger which I will try to find.
David
Mar 21, 2009 David rated it really liked it
I read this book shortly after graduating high school. I thought to myself "She could have been me!" The feelings and emotions expressed in this book capture the mood of a generation
Sue
Jul 27, 2016 Sue rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed it mostly because I lived it and could relate to many of her experiences and the what was going on culturally at that time.
Jeff Shapiro
Jeff Shapiro rated it liked it
Sep 28, 2016
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0595269389 2 30 Oct 19, 2011 09:57PM  
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Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story “An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in more than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR ...more
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