Luann's Reviews > The Boys of My Youth

The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
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's review
Apr 28, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, essays

This book of essays is one of my favorite all-time reads. Beard has a particularly Midwestern voice, in my opinion (I grew up in Illinois) and that identification really struck me. Some of the pieces continue to haunt me years later. Very occasionally I've seen something of hers in The New Yorker - but I've been waiting and hoping for another book for a long time.

I highly recommend this. In fact, I think I just talked myself into rereading it.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Oh wow, how funny you mention this -- I was just looking at it yesterday because a friend turned me on to her essay in the New Yorker that kind of launched her, apparently, "The Fourth State of Matter." Whoa, that is some amazing essay writing... are the rest of the pieces in the book of that caliber? I really should get it, if so.

Luann "The Fourth State" is the best piece in a collection that just didn't have a miss in it for me. That particular piece really had a scope that not all of them aim for but I was taken with the book as a whole. I related very much to the places she had been, to the relationships she describes with her family, friends, etc. There are a few writers that I feel have a very Midwestern sensibility, something I'd be hard pressed to describe but recognize when I read it. Jean Thompson is another writer that does that for me.

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Luann, thanks for that thoughtful reply. Jean Thompson is also on my list of authors I want to read. I must have an East coaster's subliminal hankering for the Midwest... well, I was born in Chicago.

message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen Sue R. sent me Jean Thompson's Do Not Deny Me: Stories after she visited last fall. It looks great. I'll look for this book, too, Luann. I went to kindergarten in Illinois.

Luann I like Thompson's short stories more than her novels. Her collections "Who Do you Love?" and "Throws Like a Girl" are both excellent as well. Her early work is hard to find -- I was lucky enough to find one collection in a local used bookstore and once a lurker at Readerville sent me her copy of one of her early books after I moaned about not being able to find it. It was one of those really touching gestures that makes you (ok, me) reexamine your cynical attitude about the human race......

message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Readerville was good for that, sometimes.

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