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Bliss, Remembered: A Novel

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  643 ratings  ·  182 reviews
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics the beautiful Sydney Stringfellow begins an intense love affair with a German but the affair abruptly ends when political forces tear them apart.
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by The Overlook Press (first published July 1st 2010)
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Tara Chevrestt
This is a story about a young Maryland woman in 1936 who gets to be on the American Olympic swim team and go to Berlin for the games.. At the age of 82, she is telling her story for the first time to her son, Teddy. And what a story it is..

http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2010/...
Jane
Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford is the story of a mother with her own story to tell, and the son who patiently gives her time to tell it. Despite the fact that the author is also a sportswriter, this is not a book filled with sports action. The tale takes its time in the telling, allowing the reader to savor the language and the memories.

Sydney Stringfellow Branch, dying of cancer in 2004, invites her son to come watch the Athens Olympics with her. When he arrives, she reveals that she wants t
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Deborah
I might have put this down had I not been obligated to lead a discussion on it, so I'm glad I had to stick with it. Not only does the action become intriguing, the pace picks up as the clunky point-of-view mechanics seem to smooth out. It's good, light entertainment with the bonus of a nice plot twist I didn't see coming, although Deford sets it up fairly, and some readers might indeed guess what's in the offing.

My early impatience with this book came because the author uses a maddening number o
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Shomeret
I won this book from a giveaway on my GR friend Tara's Book Babe blog. Then the publisher Overlook Press shipped it to me. So thank you very much Tara and Overlook Press.

I stayed up until 1AM to finish this book because it got so suspenseful toward the end. This is a book that chronicles the life of the fictional swimmer Sydney Stringfellow. She's really quite something. Sydney recounts her life to her son Teddy beginning with how she became a swimmer and ended up going to the 1936 Olympics in B
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Eddie
I often listen to NPR and thoroughly enjoy doing so when I'm not in the mood for music or drop my IQ advertisments that come with commerical radio. Anyhow, ever so often, I'll catch some wonderful commentating on the world of sports by a guy named, Frank Deford. I listen and am in complete awe of his writing and his overall opinions that are expressed through such commentating. His writing, his voice, and his prose are just wonderful. So, one day while browsing through the library in the "new se ...more
Janet
I absolutely love Frank Deford. So imagine my disappointment when, halfway through the book, I'm thinking to myself: this is a nice story but I'm really not feeling compelled to read it. I'm picturing myself giving it a 3-star review because although Deford's writing is superb as always, it's really not grabbing me. And Frank Deford ALWAYS gets my attention. Then I hit a certain point where things I didn't expect started happening and I couldn't wait to see where he was going with it. Okay, so i ...more
Dick Tatro
If you are a NPR listener then you already know Frank Deford for his show "it is only a Game". If you are like me and read SI, then you know him as one of the great sports writers of our time. This book is a great one. Fiction set at one of the most compelling Olympics in History, the Nazi Olympics of 1936. Sydney Stringfellow is the story tell as she relates her adventure of a lifetime to her son. Sydney is dying of cancer in 2004 during the Athens Games, her son is telling us her story as she ...more
Nicole Handy
I decided I needed to give this four stars because I read it so fast--a day and a half. This book received the most votes for the Readers' Choice at our library. Although Frnak Deford is (was?) a sports writer for Sports Illustrated, he actually does a decent job of writing this love story. There were a few parts when I knew that it was written by a man, but the story is well-written and not the typical WWII story either.

It is about a girl who goes to swim in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and end
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Bryan Young
Frank Deford is a helluva writer and an American treasure and here he's crafted a love story, to sports, to the Olympics, but mostly to two young kids in love and without a clue in the world.

This book was not at all what I expected it to be, and was certainly different than I'd hoped, but I was treated with an incredibly well-told story regardless.

It flounders a bit in the middle, but it ties up so neatly it's easy to forgive.
Simon
Exasperating as hell. DeFord starts with a fantastic premise, and then blows it through poor execution. You can see the ending about a mile away, and it just plods as you get to it.

However, it is a good read in the old-fashioned sense. This is not a novel with a message (other than that everything was better back in the days of the Greatest Generation, including the music and clothes --- and I agree with at least the latter two), it is sort of in the tradition of Forever Amber, Gone with the Wi
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Sandy
If you are willing to suspend absolute plausibility just a little, Bliss Remembered weaves a fascinating tale of Olympic swimming during the 1936 Berlin games. It's a sports story, a love story, and a mystery of sorts. Even though the implausibility of parts of the story permeates the characters, I wanted to read the book and not put it down. I cared about the characters and the story, and it was an enjoyable read.
Abe
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics the beautiful Sydney Stringfellow begins an intense love affair with a German but the affair abruptly ends when political forces tear them apart.
This is a book about love, romance, racism with the Berlin 1936 Olympics in the background. And it has unexpected violence. A well written novel.
Lynn Watkins
I thought I was going to be reading a book about the 1936 Olympics. It turned out to be much more than that. I liked the format of mother talking to son. A clever and creative way to write the book.
Rene
Things I liked: details of competition, talent coming from nowhere, delightful romance, wondering what was going to happen (the intrigue), some good questions like what makes it "your" Olympics?, some of the ups and downs of preparing for the Olympics. You never know what's around the next corner in life.

Things I didn't like as much: The interview style got a little old especially with all the drinking, the development of Jimmy, some things were slightly unbelievable, and the shortcuts on the wr
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Clare
What a great read! I couldn't put it down. The history, the characters, the surprises, all of it wonderful.
Shannon
I'm only 60 pages in, but I'd describe Bliss, Remembered like this: it makes my heart smile.
Bobby
Frank Deford writes so, so wonderfully, that reading this novel was just like sitting in the kitchen, garden, or restaurant along with the protagonist and her son, listening with Teddy Branch to his mother's story. Priorities are straight for Teddy and his elderly mother, they are the people of everyday life who have married, had a family, and made sure that their family had a good life. Teddy's mother, Sydney Branch is still full of gusto, however with the knowledge that she is dying from cance ...more
Nielson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane
Without a frame of reference to this author, I would not select another of his books. The author had me flummexed with the main character. On the one hand she is a naive, small town kid, innocent and then turns into a mastermind smarter than the trained professionals she is pitted against. No can buy! Although his story was entertaining taking us into the 1936 Olympic glitter during a time when the writing was on the wall of what was imminently to follow that brief spotlight of German PR dazzle. ...more
Karah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keirstan
When I read the plot summary of Frank DeFord's latest book BLISS, REMEMBERED, I was excited. As one of my favorite NPR commentators I have always looked forward to reading/hearing from DeFord, but the summaries of his previous books just never piqued my intrigue. This book was definitely a good introduction to Frank DeFord, the novelist.

BLISS, REMEMBERED tells the story of Sydney "Trixie" Stringfellow, a swimmer whose short-lived renaissance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin completely altere
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Danielle
This is what I liked about this book:
1) The writing. It wasn't amazing, but it was good and straightforward and kept the story moving. Especially the dialogue was more believable than some.
2) The way the story was told. The story is really about this girl and how she meets this German boy while competing at the Berlin Olympics in 1930-something, and they fall in love, but of course are separated by distance and circumstances. But it's told as the mom (modern day)is relating it to her grown son.
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Shellie
I loved this story!!!!!!!!!!!
It is a story about a woman who is dying of cancer; she calls her son, asks him to come visit her she has something to give him, but not to bring his sister. She has purchased a tape-recorder and tells him the story of her life.
I will not give you any spoilers though it would be easy to. This is a delicious book and I had a hard time putting it down to go to work, who wants to go to work when there's a good book on your nightstand?
I wanted to read this because of the
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Carol
Frank Deford spins a story that is a romance, historical fiction, intrigue, and a commentary on the Depression and WWII as seen through the eyes of an old woman recalling her youth. Sidney Stringfellow Branch is determined to finally tell her son the secret she's been guarding his whole life. Her mind is still sharp and her vocabulary enough to give her teacher son a start. Along the way she is quick with opinion and with comments on the changes in American culture since 1936 when she was 18 and ...more
Ardith
I really enjoyed this novel for its style, clarity, and high interest. Our family always watches all of the Olympics we can squeeze in, whether winter or summer. I got to visit the Olympic athletic stadium while the wall was still dividing East and West Berlin, walk the Ku'Damm, see some of the Tiergarten, etc. So being able to visualize the streets, fine estates, business district, and all made this really come alive. I also recently read Unbroken..., the biographical novel about Louie Zamperin ...more
Pat Timpanaro
This was the September book for my book group. It had come highly recommended by someone whose opinion I trust, so I was confident in suggesting it to the group.

I liked the book, but was disappointed that there wasn't more about the Berlin Olympics. Almost everyone in the book group had a similar reaction. We wanted more Olympics, less fiction. I think a lot of this was due to starting the book with false expectations. If you start this thinking it is a pleasant story, part of which takes place
...more
Debbie
This book alternates between the present and the past as a mother, who is sick and about to die,begins to tell her grown son about her time in the Berlin Olympics in 1937 (hope that's the right year) during the reign of Hitler and right before World War II. She falls in love with a German man while she is there and then has to deal with losing him when she returns to the U.S. I liked the story, but I felt like the mother focused too much on how good looking she was back in the day. She describes ...more
Suzanne
At first I hated this book, because it felt like I was hearing the voice of a television sports caster in my brain. I simply could not stand the way it was written. Also, for more than half (the beginning and onward) of the book, not much happens, and the story is told in an awkward way, with too much interference from the negligible narrator/son. About three quarters of the way through the book, actually, somewhere after the narrator gives up interviewing his mother and starts reading her diary ...more
Cathy
A novel written by a man I appreciate on NPR's sports reviews, about a mother who is dying and finally tells the story of her Olympic experience in Germany in 1936. Actually she doesn't qualify and can't actually swim but ends up going, meeting a German love as well as various celebrities of the time. She gets a real feel for the nastiness of the Nazis. She returns home to her Chesapeake area and meets a man she marries......

There is an interesting section about the comparison between our loathi
...more
Melissa
Sydney is an old woman dying of cancer in 1984. Her son comes to visit and they watch the summer Olympics together. Sydney was a member of the Women's swimming team in the 1936 Olympics but has never told her son much about it. Until this week... when she has him tape record her story, which starts with her journey to the team and ends up becoming "the very last story about WWII."

In Germany, Sydney meets and falls in love with a German young man. Circumstances drive them apart and Sydney eventu
...more
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Frank Deford (born December 16, 1938, in Baltimore, Maryland) is a senior contributing writer for Sports Illustrated, author, and commentator.

DeFord has been writing for Sports Illustrated since the early 1960s. In addition to his Sports Illustrated duties, he is also a correspondent for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and a regular, Wednesday commentator for National Public Radio's Morning E
...more
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