Messages From My Father: A Memoir
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Messages From My Father: A Memoir

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Calvin Trillin, the celebrated New Yorker writer, offers a rich and engaging biography of his father, as well as a literate and entertaining fanfare for the common (and decent, and hard-working) man.

Abe Trillin had the western Missouri accent of someone who had grown up in St. Joseph and the dreams of America of someone who had been born is Russia. In Kansas City, he was a...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 12th 1997 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1996)
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Evelyn
I've always enjoyed Calvin Trillin's New Yorker articles, for both his plainspoken engaging style as well as his rather American point of view. Messages From My Father offers up more of the same but with a wonderful, additional layer. Unlike so many contemporary memoirs about inept parents and dysfunctional families written by individuals with an ax to grind, Trillin's book is a loving tribute to the parents who raised him and the environment in which he grew up.

It's clear from the very beginnin...more
Debbie
This heartwarming and amusing homage to Calvin Trillin's father made me laugh and made me cry. With so many books published about dysfunctional families and the associated parental blame for missed opportunities and failed lives, it was refreshing to read something that truly honored a loved parent's memory.

I loved Abe, his quirky sense of humor and his stubborn philosophy of life from page one. However, the true beauty of this book is the way that Trillin shows his love of his dad not through...more
Jodi
This is a short, sweet memoir of Calvin Trillan's father Abe. An East European Jew, instead of immigrating to Ellis Island, his ship went to Galveston, TX and that made all the difference. Abe was brought up in St. Joseph, MO and raised Calvin and his sister in Kansas City. Seeing Midwestern Judaism in the years around and following WWII, was very different from the usual stories of the Lower East Side. Calvin is proud of his father and gratefully accepts the inherited traits like stubbornism. I...more
Nancy Hansen
I liked it because I found myself thinking about my Dad, who died in 1973. There were hardly any similarities between Abe Trillin and my Dad but I thought a lot about the "messages" that my own father left for me.
Maggie
This very short memoir regarding Calvin Trillin's father is interesting and sometimes amusing, but doesn't have the wit or or feeling of overwhelming love that Trillin gave to About Alice. I would have liked to know more. There was more to know because his father wrote about many things in his life, but Trillin doesn't mine that information. I think the book suffers for it.
Gill
A terrific book by one of the best memoir writers around. It's a slender volume, but Trillin says a lot more than most in 115 pages. His father was an extraordinary person. I should admit that I've lived much of my life in Kansas City and so I especially enjoyed Trillin's descriptions of the town where he grew up in his parents' house.
Marta
I love this book. It's about Trillin's memories of his father and what his father's hopes for him were. He points out that we get messages from our parents but never realize that we may be understanding things differently than they meant it. Also about how his father's experience as an immigrant molded his idea of being American.
Marni
A touching and wonderful book, full of love and affection. Beautifully written--I have read it at least twice, and will probably read it again, with pleasure. I particularly love the idea of what messages we receive form our parent's, and I love that Calvin felt his father's message was 'you might as well be a mensch.'
Linda
Aug 14, 2010 Linda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Linda by: Goodwill purchase -
Shelves: own
A memoir of the author's father and the lessons he learned from the man from Kansas City. Even after years living in New York City and making his living through writing, Trillin still has the midwest values instilled by his father.
Roger Parfitt
A beautifully understated memoir that emphasizees a fathers long lasting influence on the author. Lots of sentiment and nostalgia for KC in the 60s. Trillin is a great stylist ...it helps that he is very funny.
Leslie
This is a lovely thin book. If the author had not been an established writer with a loyal following I wonder if it would have been published...
Sweet book, fast read.
Clarissa
Randomly picked this one off my mom's shelf. It was just fine, but I wasn't changed or moved by his recollections of his father--not a must read for me.
Alvin
It's not easy to pen a delightfully witty and fascinating book about someone who's never done anything extraordinary, but Trillin has done it.
Peter
As the father of a 2 year old boy, I certainly hope that I have as good a relationship with my son that Calvin Trillin had with his father.
Megan Thygeson
Dec 20, 2010 Megan Thygeson is currently reading it
I am reading this in installments to my almost 90 year old mother, Mildred over the phone. We are thoroughly enjoying it.
Michelle
A lovely tribute to his dad and it takes place in neighborhoods I know and love in KC. Love this book.
Chrisanne
Savory little book that effectively captures the layered personality of Abe Trillin. Wryly funny.
Kevin A.
Wonderful reminiscence of a son for his father, always loving if not always reverent.
Stephanie
Wise, funny, well-written little memoir. I love everything Calvin Trillin writes.
Cliff
This is a wonderful, warm read. It can lead you to other Trillin books.
Laura Reed
beautiful,funny,poignant,quotable memories of trillin's father,abe.
Bobbie
Dec 18, 2009 Bobbie added it
Messages From My Father: A Memoir by Calvin Trillin (1997)
Jan
Nov 24, 2012 Jan added it
Don't cry. Try pie.
Kathy
Sep 09, 2009 Kathy added it
Damn, this is a sweet book. Reminded me so much of my own midwestern Dad, and the messages he gave me. Also has funny moments that reminded me of another great dad, Mr. Bernstein in whose house I spent much of my youth. Calvin Trillin is the grandpa of one of Miles' classmates and it's fun to have that connection too.
JulieK
A sweet memoir.
Ken French
Ken French marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2014
Grace
Grace is currently reading it
Aug 21, 2014
Cgburke
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Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin is an American journalist, humorist, and novelist. He is best known for his humorous writings about food and eating, but he has also written much serious journalism, comic verse, and several books of fiction.

Trillin attended public schools in Kansas City and went on to Yale University, where he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and became a member of Scroll an...more
More about Calvin Trillin...
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