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Confessions of Joan the Tall

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A memoir written in the voice of a twelve year old Irish Catholic girl living in the Bronx in 1954, Confessions recounts one year in the life of Joan, a very tall, religious, funny, self-conscious, emotionally imprisoned, lovable girl whose journey takes her from innocence, isolation, and inhibition to the beginnings of freedom and awakening. Fiercely committed to seeing o ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by CavanKerry Press
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3.76  · 
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 ·  21 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Molly
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Confessions of Joan the Tall is a splendid book, and Joan the Tall is a splendid girl—brave, effervescent and vulnerable. She flubs the rules of the Catholic church, she flubs the rules of family life, and amidst the quandaries, sins, punishments, and totally divine greedy moments in this story of her Irish American family, she grows into what tallness can mean—the ability to see from a mountaintop. From her devout father to her feisty mother, from her well-groomed sister to her brothers, both b ...more
Drennan Spitzer
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
In Confessions of Joan the Tall, Joan Cusack Handler writes a memoir of growing up in a Roman Catholic home in the Bronx in the 1950s. Handler's narrative works as a coming-of-age memoir while providing a kind of nostalgia for a time when family and religious life were simpler than they are now. Handler's work is notable and stands out from the large number of Roman Catholic childhood stories (and I've read and reviewed several lately) in that hers is strictly memoir, rather than a fictionalized ...more
Diane
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy Joan Cusack Handler's memoir, Confessions of Joan the Tall, but you do get a deeper level of understanding if you are.

Handler, a poet, chooses to write her memoir in the voice of Joan as an almost twelve-year-old girl, and it took me awhile to get used to that. I don't normally enjoy books written in the voice of children, but that conceit works very well for the book.

Joan has an older sister Catherine, an older brother Sonny, and a younger brother Jerry. S
...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Confessions of Joan the Tall is an extraordinary memoir that recounts a year in the life of author Joan Cusack Handler. In a seemingly simple style, Joan Cusack Handler manages to capture the anxiety she felt over her perceived lack of piety and her way above average height. Set in the mid-50's in the Bronx, eleven (but almost twelve)year-old, Joan is the third child in an Irish Catholic family of four. Written as a series of short journal entries, Joan confesses her concerns over her devotion t ...more
cheryl
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This coming-of-age memoir is written in the voice of the author at age 11. It takes the form of a journal and often feels more "spoken" than written (although, in true tween-style, Joan capitalizes and underlines for feeling and emphasis). Joan is trying to reconcile Catholic teachings and traditions with the expanding social world of an adolescent. She worries a lot about sin and her soul as well as about pleasing her father, whom she idolizes. Joan's well-meaning mother tries to help her fit i ...more
Brenda
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is at first look la book for agess 10 and up. I'm 54 and i found it very entertaining. It is written about a girl who has grown unusually taller than all of her classmates. It was written for the period of the 1950's and she comes from a family of devout catholics.
The book would be intereesting to anyone who is catholic althought I think other would enjoy it also I did. There were definatly parts of the book that had me laughing out loud. I remember there were thingns about me that I f
...more
Brenda
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have become a fan of reading coming of age stories, and "Confessions of Joan the Tall" is a memoir that I won't soon forget.The author allows us to see things thru the eyes of Joan a Catholic girl growing up in the Bronx during the fifties. Thing is Joan isn't happy with her height, and also struggles with other health issues that causes her to feel like she doesn't fit in.
I really enjoyed reading Joan's story. Even though I am not Catholic,the story was still one I could connect with, I coul
...more
Sharon
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Perhaps had I grown up Catholic and in a large city, this might have struck a stronger chord for me, but I did not, so found much of the "confessions" somewhat out of my experience. I certainly could relate to the issues with long and narrow feet --still today have been annoyed with salespeople spending a great deal of time telling me why manufacturers do not make 4A shoes. As if I did not know that having dealt with the issue for over 70 years!
The author wrote convincingly in the voice of a ch
...more
Suzanne Eastman
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written with the voice of a child the reader experiences what life was like for a young girl growing up in a Catholic Family during the 1950’s. God is in every thought, action and decision for this child bringing her comfort and confusion. With the breathless sentence structure, and oddly placed capital letters and underlines throughout the text, it drives the reader to understand this girl’s personality and how she experiences all of the day to day activities of living in a family where being a ...more
Angela
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
Confessions of Joan the Tall fails to meet the reader's expectations for an engaging storyline although it does offer a strong narrative voice and poetic lyricism.

I was particularly disappointed with the structure. I felt like I was sitting next to a person who was flipping through a photo album telling me this vignette and that vignette when what I desperately wanted was to be told about only one particular event through an engaging story.
Sharon Chance
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Joan Cusack Handler's life growing up. Her stories is divided up into short segements that are easy to read in short spurts of time or just as enjoyable sitting down and devouring her tales all at once. It's a great coming-of-age story that has poingant moments and funny ones too.

If you enjoy memoirs or stories of days gone past, you'll enjoy "Confessions of Joan The Tall."
Mary
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a year Joan had. I felt I grew to know her very well. Twelve year old Joan captured my heart. I loved her honesty and self awareness. Joan Cusack Handler opens the door to allow us to share a brief period of her adolescent life. The writing flows and so does the humour - intentional or not. Read it, you will enjoy it!!
Deanna
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on growing up in a Catholic family and how it impacted everything she did and thought as she was navigating her life. I did not grow up Catholic but had close friends that were and do not remember them being so involved.
I think many teens will be happy to see how others handle situations common to all.
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