Townie: A Memoir
After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and thos...more
The same scenes repeated endlessly. Hopelessness, cruelty, fear and abandonment abound in this book. It's a bleak tale and a place I choose not to visit any longer than reading the 67 pages I spent there.
I've believed Dubus to be brilliant based on "House of Sand and Fog" but the writing in this book is meandering, inconclusive and confusing. Often I would read a sente...more
Mr. Dubus perfectly evoked the violence and hardscrabble existence of living there. He honored the New England tradition of providing real estate as a character and moreover he did justice to Haverhill by making her as worthy a character as Miss Havisham: formerly beautiful now past her prime, a wreck but one deserving of pity.
How interesting that he called himself a "Townie...more
Initially I found this memoir of Dubus' childhood and youth a bit of a struggle. But I persevered, and I'm very glad I did. I wouldn't agre...more
I feel bad for Dubus. He got a raw deal, with a father who couldn’t be bothered to spend time with his children and a mom who was too busy and exhausted to pay adequate attention to them. With the exception of his younger sister, Dubus' siblings were adrift and had pro...more
Though it relies on a somewhat shopworn theme; weak skinny 90 pound weakling dreams of becoming super hero, buys weights, works out, gets strong then with a true honesty escapes the shopworn conclusion by simply admitting that he came something of a bully himself.
Abandoned by his father, raised by a single mother, Dubus gives you a real taste and smell of the gritty realities of growing up suburban poor in an America mill town in the 1970s.
On to The House o...more
This memoir is very "hard." By that, I mean that it takes you into a very hard childhood, where a child is lost and unsafe and unstable. He gets beat up and threatened everywhere he turns; ignored by his father; neglected by his poor single mother who is just trying to get by. One day, as he witnesses a grown man beating up his little brother and...more
A skinny kid, raised by a...more
The core theme of the memoir is men's, particularly his, relationship to violence. As a kid he was a victim of it. This part of the book was hard to read and I almost bailed out on the book because I wanted him to stop being a victim and stand up for hims...more
Townie. You might think that following his father's trade would have been natural and even obvious for the son and namesake of Andre Dubus, one of the most admired short story writers of his time, but it was anything but. His father left when he was 10, and as his mother worked long hours to keep them fed, her four children mostly raised themselves, stumbling through house parties and street fights in their Massachusetts mill town, so cut off from the larger world that when so...more
But Townie makes it clear that this wasn’t the case for the younger Dubus. It turns out that he grew up in...more
As a puny, bullied young boy, Andre had decided to become as threatening as the neighboring kids around him. Building muscle defined his efforts. His interior rage and a newly developed skill at boxing propelled him to violence at any provocation. He seemed destined for any early death...more
An unforgettable book. Dubus III seems to be chasing his famous, but mostly absent, father's ghost. This book is all about identity crisis of a boy and his siblings abandoned by their father, and left with their mother who struggles to feed, clothe and house her children. Andre, small and shy, is beaten up 3-4 times a week by bullies in every school and town they move to. He tries without much success to protect his siblings. His mother is too busy working or having affa...more
Father and mother divorced when Andre III and his siblings were young and the book traces the more-or-less abandoned family's struggles to survive in the low-end working class world of an exhausted, broken-down Massachusetts mill town. The father does support the family financially, as best he can, but it's not enough. The mother works desperately hard but,...more
This is rather ridiculous, since (1) I have never been to Haverhill and (2) the town and the life that Dubus portrays, at great length and with much repetition, are as gritty, as violent, as unappealing as anyplace that one might imagine. This was hel...more