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From Rockaway

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  245 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Timmy and Chowderhead and Peg are lifeguards. They spend summers sitting in those tall chairs, smoking dope and staring at the waves, swatting insects, tormenting seagulls. Winters they work shit jobs like unloading trucks at Mickey's Deli. At night, winter and summer, they drink. Drink and get rowdy. Then there's Alex, the girl who gets away, not only from old boyfriend T ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published May 12th 1988 by Vintage (first published 1987)
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I purchased this book mostly because I've come to trust Vintage Contemporaries, which had a great deal of great new fiction - I only learned later of Eisenstadt's connection to authors Bret Easton Ellis and Donna Tartt through the fictional (H/C)amden College.

When I got around to reading it, I looked it up here and saw how unknown it was and hoped that I might be reading some wrongfully neglected author.

That's not quite the case, Eisenstadt is pretty good and can turn a good phrase, but the nov
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worthrereading
It was fun to read this again over the start of summer weekend which was also the weekend of my # mumblemumble college reunion. The novel was both a little duller and a little sadder than I remember and now, just as then, the scenes that took place at Alex's college resonated deeply.

It reminded me of the film adaptation of The Ice Storm which also captured the boredom and the everyday despair of adolescence.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hated this book almost from page one. The only reason I kept going it because I'm reading it for a book club. The kids are whiny and angsty and nothing happens in almost the entire book. It's just snapshots of the kids whining about life in between drinking and doing drugs and having sex. Maybe I missed the point or maybe I led a sheltered childhood but I couldn't relate to these characters at all.
Paperback Paris
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jill Eisenstadt's From Rockaway captures what it is like to be a young adult that has no other options but to be in the working force.

1980s New York: Peg, Timmy, and Chowderhead are working as lifeguards at their local beach, where all there is to do is look out at the ocean, and ensure people are not drowning or smoking weed. But during the winter months, they have to work crappy jobs, like at Mickey's Deli, where they spend their days and nights loading and unloading trucks. Unfortunately for
Peter Landau
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
What makes a book resonate? How come some novels are heralded and then fade away or just never get attention in the first place. These, among other things like what am I going to do with my kids this summer, were some thoughts that accompanied me while reading Jill Eisenstadt’s debut FROM ROCKAWAY.

I judge a book by its cover, and I love everything published by the Vintage Contemporaries imprint, though I’ve only read a handful of them. It’s the design, especially as it peaked for me in the 1980s
Tony Parsons
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Timmy, ChowderHead & Peg had the ultimate summer job.
Lifeguards at the Rockaway.
They also did their fair share of MJ, other drugs & lots of alcohol.
Rus limo driver was taking Alex, & the other 3 to the HS Sr. prom.
Sloane, Bean, Artie, lefty, Louie the Lump, & Schizo lifeguard mutt) was planning on following the group all-night long.

Alicia McHenry (produce dept.) was elected prom Queen.
Summer is over, Alex & Timmy who were really never a item part their ways.
Alex is going to
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A short(ish) novel about a pack of restive kids coming-of-age in Rockaway, New York, a place far enough removed from Manhattan to feel like it's in another state. As a member of the '80's literary brat pack series, From Rockaway has a similar premise to books like Less Than Zero and Bright Lights Big City in its depiction of a particular kind of dreary adolescent ennui in a certain time and place, though it differs from the aforementioned books in that the characters are a tad less vacuous, snor ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Found this book in a bookstore in Prague, of all places. What a lucky find. Eisenstadt recreates with brutal honesty the stark social world of teens in 1980s Rockaway. The writing is at once blunt, lyrical, and authentic.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: moffat-street
Liked this lot, especially the way Eisenstadt so fluidly shifts the perspective around. It really gives you a chance to know everybody. The world she describes is very whole and very small and very interesting and very sad. Really dug it.
Michelle Olms
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This didn't quite do it for me—a near miss—which I think was all for stylistic reasons. The combination of flat affect and post-adolescent angst kept the book at arm's length for me. And the casual racism/homophobia/sexism from characters who are otherwise sympathetic—I know it's a product of its time and place, but it was a bit too deadpan. And (view spoiler). I think I should have read this when it first came out, since I apparently ha ...more
Irene Grapel
I was looking forward to reading this book, as I spent my childhood summers on the beach at Rockaway. I was disappointed in the characters, whom I did not like at all, Timmy being the exception. The book moved at the end but was so, so slow. I couldn't wait for it to end. And , as I was reading it on a Kindle and couldn't sense the last page, it ended very precipitously.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Super slow but finally did take off a bit in the latter half. I just felt like the author had their thoughts all over the place and it kept jumping around in the beginning. Almost quit but actually glad I finished.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I missed the boat when I was in high school and college. I should have spent more time drinking beer and smoking weed. Unfortunately that was my takeaway from this book.

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm glad I finally got round to reading this, because it's nice to round off the loose trilogy this forms with The Rules of Attraction/Secret History, but I'm just saying there is a good reason From Rockaway is the one nobody has really heard of.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
not sure why l had this book. not great.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Interesting. Not my usual read but good.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Really didn't quite get this book at all.
Anna Franzosa
Jun 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good coming of age story, so I was excited to dive into From Rockaway. Alas, rather than experience full immersion into a nuanced world, I barely registered any depth to the story. I was also left quite angry by the actions taken by one character against a defenseless animal in the final pages of the book. Any redeeming aspects of the story were lost for me at that moment.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring. Depressing. A bunch of dead beat kids and in no way a good reflection of the youth I know. I'm from the area and even that part was depressing.
Printable Tire
I'm finally done with Camden/Hampden/Bennington College, hurray! Don't know if these books have made me wistful for carefree college life or envious, or if I'm sick of colleges now completely. Nice to end the "trilogy" (the other two books being the Rules of Attraction and The Secret History) on a positive note, with fully-rounded and likable characters going through some changes in their lives. None of them are perfect, but none of them are pretentious murderers like in Secret History or facele ...more
Jul 23, 2011 added it
Strikingly bleak 80s novel about a group of outer-borough lifeguards and their friends and hangers-on, including Alex, a girl who escapes the lower-middle-class, lapsed-Catholic, macho-ritual-oriented "Rotaway Beach" scene for dorm life at a trendy school obviously modeled on Vermont's Bennington College. The Rockaway sections are very well done, especially a climactic chapter dealing with the aftermath of a disaster when Timmy, one of the guards, "loses" a swimmer. The college scenes are less e ...more
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
No lasting truths, but a realistic slice of life from 1980s Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY. My guess is the author wanted to make some sense of her own coming of age (bio states she is from those parts) and the characters, times and setting are detailed and evocative. They just don't really go anywhere. Literally. But that seems to be the point of the book, so, accomplished.
I liked reading "From Rockaway," but probably won't remember it.
dead letter office
May 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
kids up to no good on the fringes of new york city in the 80's.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book bored me so much I can't even remember if I finished it.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Nice coming of age story from a peripheral figure in the 80's literary "Brat Pack"
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
#Rockaway Beach reads: Revisiting Jill Eisenstadt's 1987 novel "From Rockaway."
Erin Andry
rated it it was ok
Sep 02, 2017
rated it did not like it
Jul 22, 2017
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Jill Eisenstadt was raised in Rockaway, New York. She was educated at Bennington College and Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn.
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“Her legs swing complete afternoons away.” 21 likes
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