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Rides of the Midway: A Novel
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Rides of the Midway: A Novel

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  112 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Meet Mississippi teenager Noel Weatherspoon: ghost-seeing insomniac, endearing dopehead, wanna-be erotic photographer, and possible Baptist faith healer. Noel, who prefers The Exorcist to Ecclesiastes, must navigate a world of Bible-thumpers, born-again Christians, and a stepfather who bears an uncanny resemblance to Billy Graham. Darkly comic and lyrically moving, Rides o ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published February 14th 2001)
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Apr 25, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ucbc
Every now and then I read a book that doesn't quite grab me, and yet I get a sense that it may actually be better than I perceive it to be. This might be one of those. Or not.

It's either:
A) a brilliant Greek tragedy set in the modern world, or..
B) just one young character's excruciatingly beyond-PG13 romp in a drug and booze addled self-sabotaging stupid-fest.
Tomato, tomahto. I'm not sure which. (But I'm leaning towards B.)

While there are some funny bits, and while the narrative is certainly ent
Feb 24, 2009 VegasGal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: general fiction readers
Shelves: read-2009
A wild ride that takes the reader through mercy killing, crazed religious fanatics, drug use, a pestering ghost, a failed sex life and more. A great novel that takes a peek at the life of a teenager who's not just merely out of control but in need of some love and direction.
Bruce Scott
Feb 20, 2015 Bruce Scott rated it it was amazing
I stumbled across this book in the library stacks, then devoured it in two days. It's a coming-of-age book unlike any other I've read. Our hero, Noel ("It means Christmas," he says once), has raging hormones, humungous guilt, the ability for astral travel, moral indignation that instantly ignites in violence, an unquenchable appetite for alcohol and drugs, and a nuanced sensitivity to grace. Durkee writes uncommonly well and some moments are laugh-out-loud funny. I want to know what happens to N ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Will marked it as should-i-evens
Suggested by George Saunders (Harper's Bazaar Interview with George Saunders, June 2001).
Jul 24, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's one of the books that made me want to write.
Dec 09, 2007 Miriam rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this.
Dec 04, 2008 G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rides of the Midway is a dizzying spectacle. In the course of a chapter you'll be shrieking with delight, getting a bit queasy, or feeling confused and wondering which way is up.
You could expect nothing less following early years of Noel Weatherspoon, a.k.a. Moon Man, Mongo, Spoon, or (his favorite) Wasted as he grows up in rural Mississippi.

He's a former promising baseball player, until an overaggressive charge home left another boy in a living state of death, an accident from which Noel is nev
David Parson
Jul 10, 2015 David Parson rated it did not like it
This book came highly recommended to me. Even George Saunders liked it. (And I LOVE George Saunders.) But this book did not do it for me. Nope. Uh uh. So I quit early on. Too many great novels out there to read...
Lisa Greer
Apr 14, 2009 Lisa Greer rated it really liked it
This is a wild ride of a coming of age novel. It reminded me of 'The Catcher in the Rye' and also of the south where I live. In fact, I live in Poplarville, MS. :) That made the novel all the more enjoyable.

It is shocking and funny by turns. I laughed and felt like crying. Durkee has a few memorable lines in the style of Vonnegut. There is one about the ketchup bottle farting near the end that is so inappropriate in a scene right after a death that it put me in stitches. :)

I also tore through th
May 09, 2007 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I actually know Lee, the author of this book, though I haven't talked to him in a long time. As crazy as I am about the man, he's not the reason I love his book. It's wicked good. If you like Rule of the Bone (Russell Banks) or Jesus's Son (Denis Johnson) you will love Rides of the Midway.
Aug 14, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This one was really awesome. I felt the author was real about Noel, believable characters throughout as well. Finished this in 2 days, anticipating Noel's shenanigans the whole time. I would have loved to have stumbled upon a person like Noel while I was growing up. Read this book!
Marissa Barbieri
Aug 20, 2007 Marissa Barbieri rated it really liked it
This fine book was written by one of my bookstore coworkers, but I didn't love it just for that. We had an interesting debate in my bookgroup as to whether it was funny or sad... let me know what you think!
Oct 11, 2010 Henry rated it it was amazing
One of those books that make you afraid to read anything else for at least a month, for fear that it won't measure up. Holy crap.
Feb 04, 2008 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Mississippi teenager coming of age with many twists and turns that make you unsure whether to gasp in horror or laugh.
Brian Tucker
Feb 14, 2014 Brian Tucker rated it really liked it
How the author is able to pack so much into just 320 pages I'll never know. But he does and it works!
Dec 16, 2010 Ferriday rated it really liked it
Excellent attention to detail in a book surrounded by melancholy. Great writing.
Apr 24, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Kept me interested the entire read. I honestly adore coming of age novels.
Lilo1 Gurule
Jul 07, 2010 Lilo1 Gurule rated it it was amazing
This book iz crazy and confusing at times but really good!;)
Dec 25, 2009 DRobb added it
Does capture the adolescent mind.
May 22, 2010 Colleen rated it did not like it
Nope. Don't do it.
Kevin rated it liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Kellie Meadows
Kellie Meadows marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2016
Lara rated it really liked it
May 19, 2016
Aimee rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2016
Amanda marked it as to-read
Feb 03, 2016
Devin Stark
Devin Stark marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2016
Cm rated it it was ok
Jan 19, 2016
Joan Papke
Joan Papke marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2016
L. David Wheeler
L. David Wheeler rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2015
Rachel Walton
Rachel Walton rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2015
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