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The Clancys of Queens: A Memoir

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,292 ratings  ·  353 reviews
Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electr ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Crown
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,292 ratings  ·  353 reviews

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Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
it takes a village borough to raise a child.

queens, represent!

yes, queens. and before you get all sniffy, you should know that queens was chosen as the #1 best u.s. travel destination, according to a 2015 lonely planet article. suck it, brooklyn!

before this, i'd only read one other book celebrating queens: Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens, and it was ... very okay. this book, however, does queens proud, and the author is living proof that awesome people come outta queens*. (a
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. It took me a while to warm up to The Clancys of Queens, but by the end I wanted to read more. It's essentially a coming of age memoir about Tara Clancy's life growing up in Queens in the 80s and 90s. Normally, I expect this type of memoir to focus on hardship -- dysfunctional families, poverty, addiction -- so it took me a while to realize that this book is really quite the opposite -- it's essentially a good humoured celebration of Clancy's family, friends and neighbourhood. Clancy c ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, memoir, queens-ny
3.75 Stars

Tara Clancy spent the first two years of her life with both of her parents, but they split and then divorced before she could develop memories of their family together. After that, she divided her time between “middle-class” Bellerose, where her Grandparents and her Great-Aunt lived in their Italian-American community, the kind of place where “everybody knows your name” – and by extension who your family is.

Every other weekend, Tara would spend with her NYPD warrant-squad father in a
Nov 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
My dislike is my reaction to the book, not the author. That she wrote the book and is making something of her life is marvelous, but that has nothing to do with the value of the book or my reaction to it! Many people nowadays write books about themselves. This may be therapeutic to them but that doesn't make the books valuable to others.

I think the book will appeal to a younger person more than to an adult. Lots of swearing. It is written in the language of a young person. It is almost a coming
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty sure I'd stand in line to hear Tara Clancy read her grocery list.

If you've never heard her tell a story, you simply must. Trust me on this. She is a storytelling marvel.

You can find her on "The Moth," NPR, YouTube, and elsewhere. Or, better yet, you can listen to her read this book.

THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS is a smart, tough, and tender memoir. And it's laugh-out-loud funny. (Literally. I received many strange looks as I walked around town, listening and giggling like a fool.) It's a warm
Jody McGrath
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

This is the story of Tara Clancy half Irish American and half Italian American. Her parents split when she was quite young, so her upbringing was unusual and amazing. She spent weekdays with her Italian Grandparents in their lower middle class Italian American community. Many of these people were older and she mentions talking louder than any other 1st grader in her class because she was use to talking to 75 year olds. Her w
Book Riot Community
I saw Tara Clancy at Book Riot Live, where she appeared on a panel about using humor to tackle tough topics. She had me belly laughing the entire time… until the moment when I was legit crying (and trying unsuccessfully to be low-profile about it). I knew immediately that I had to read everything she’s ever written. Which meant getting my hands on a copy of her debut book, a memoir about growing up in working-class Queens. Much like Clancy herself, the book is amusing, entertaining, and full of ...more
lucky little cat
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone but the reviewers who said "She got in so much trouble in high school! Two stars!" Sheesh.
Eh, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, only set in Queens in the 1980s and 90s.

You're right, that's not the Queensboro Bridge

Tara Clancy hasn't forgotten one damned thing about her old neighborhood, huge Italian/ Irish/ rich/ poor/ working class family, or weird friends. Our gain!

I didn't think the friends were all that weird. Her word for them.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a self-debate upon rating for me. It became 2.5 star rounded up for the humor. Not all the humor, some of the humor. I'm being charitable for my own usual standards in this case. So take it with a grain of salt.

But it's also, that exact level of humor, a kind of Catch-22 disguised conundrum. When is too much, too much? The nearly constant hilarity becomes a stilted stylized mania of its own, IMHO! If you like old out-takes of Robin Williams doing his act on uppers, you'll like this boo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I had heard Tara Clancy on The Moth, and knew I needed to get this book in audio. Her accent and voices make the stories even funnier than they already are, and some of the stories of her childhood had me laughing in the car while I listened.
Sharon Huether
I won this Free book from Goodreads First Reads. Thank you Goodreads for picking my name to win this book.
Tara Clancy narrates the story of her Irish-Italian family background in Queens, N. Y.
There are some laugh out loud moments when Tara describes her grandmother and great aunt. They all live together in a large home.
She describes the highs and lows of her life growing up in Queens with uncanny truth and detail.
I loved the book and Tara's style of writing.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was about two paragraphs into the acknowledgements section before I realized the book was over. And boom, my heart literally skipped a beat with sadness. I wanted more stories, I want to hear about Mark, and more about Ali, and more about everybody.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I listened to the audiobook and was that a good decision. You would think she led a "typical" Queens life, but she had a special circumstance that ended up shaping who she is. It was well written and well narrated. Loved it!
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoy memoirs and this one was a lot of fun. Tara is a spunky child how has a lot of energy. I kind of wonder if she had ADD before it was officially a thing. This brought back childhood memories for me when kids went outside and got into all kinds of trouble instead of sitting for hours in front of an electronic device. I really enjoyed the relationships she has/had with her Mom, Dad, Grandma, Mike and all the people in the neighborhood and her family. To be a kid again when you could just ru ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Sometimes I just want to have fun. Curious about Tara Clancy's new memoir I read one of her stories published in the New York Times. I was amused and took a chance on The Clancys of Queens.

I gulped it down in two sittings, laughing out loud. Tara's family--no pseudonyms used--are unique and quirky, strong and sure.

Tara's childhood was unique. Her mismatched parents split when Tara was two. She grew up bouncing between their two worlds:in Queens with her mother's big Italian family, and staying
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

For me, much of this book was sweet nostalgia. I grew up in the same area at the same time; and I'm part of a large Italian family, with some Irish on the other side. Clancy captures the setting perfectly - anyone who had any connection to the time, place, and situation will connect to this memoir with fondness. It even brought back some memories I probably wouldn't have recalled on my own. And seeing in print the Italian words that have felt like a private language within my family for
M. Sarki
Sep 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned

I wanted this book to slay me. To be more than empty words on a page. I bought this edition because Atticus Lish recommended it. I believed he wouldn’t put his name to something not worthy of his praise. I was wrong. And I am disappointed. I read today a review in which it was stated that the book begins slow but finishes strong. There is no time but the present. I cannot wait for any book to get better by suffering through inferior prose in order to get t
Mar 31, 2017 added it
Shelves: biography
In fairness, I'm not going to rate this book because I only made it about halfway through. Life is too short and I have thousands of TBRs; one of them is bound to be more appealing. Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of memoirs. But what I found irritating about this one is the writing style. It's 90% pure description, and I felt like I was being overloaded with minute details rather than experiencing any character development or insights. Here's an example, describing her as a chil ...more
Apr 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
I love the cover of The Clancy's of Queens: A Memoir by Tara Clancy. Also the title is very good. The rest of the book really disappointment. That is unusual because I love to read about generations of family. Anyone can look at my list of books that I have read and see all the reviews signally that I loved them and wanted to recommend them to my friends.

Tara Clancy’s story is of her growing up in Queens with divorced parents who both worked. She enjoyed the times that she had with her mother an
Jay bookworm
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won, 1-own-it
As I finished the last page of this book I thought, with deep feeling, wow you really can't judge a book by its cover or by a fantastic synopsis on Goodreads. I won an ARC of this book and thought it sounded like an interesting memoir but now I know it was also fun and it reminded me of the Goldfinch (hey, they are my thoughts not yours) and also made me think about how impactful family and sometimes random individuals can be in your life. Just like that last sentence, there's a lot in this book ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir about growing up in working class Queens. Get it on audio if you do read this--she is a terrific performer as noted at Book Riot Live. The first half seemed slow to me but the back half was much stronger--Tara writes about her teenage years much more effectively than the preteen years. She paints quite a funny portrait of all the loud, crazy, loving Italian and Irish family members she had as well as her wild group of friends.
Lora Grillo
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Even the goddamn acknowledgements were a joy.
Karen Brown
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic audio book
Jessica Woodbury
I do not read many memoirs, I usually only do after the buzz surrounding them reaches enough of a fever pitch that I concede. I read The Clancys of Queens because the author was at Book Riot Live and while I didn't see her (sorry, was working, saw literally no one) I heard constant raves and her book there sold out, was restocked, then sold out again. So I gave it a shot.

Of the memoirs I do read, very few actually deal with childhood because I find myself very impatient with the way people write
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's a memoir of a scrappy Italian-Irish kid (Tara Clancy) growing up between Queens and the Hamptons. I love anything that is about moving between social strata, because it illustrates the peculiarities of each group through the eyes of a person that has seen the other side. That's my jam. As a result, I initially thought that my fascination would lie with the double-life she was living between the working class Queens and the uber rich Hamptons. However, I was far more inter ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Given her Queens Irish/Brooklyn Italian lineage, it's no wonder that Tara Clancy is a force of nature. Lessons and wisdom picked up from the various corners of her life have sparked her curiosity, her drive. As a child, she was really a handful, and she spares no one, especially herself, in her memories. She gives full credit to the players in her life, uses real names, cites coming of age and inspirational events. However, the title is misleading since the Riccobonos of Brooklyn, the Italian si ...more
Lauren Kelly
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-essay
DELIGHTFUL on audio. Tara Clancy's voice really made this great. It's clear she's an oral storyteller first and foremost. She did a great job transitioning to the book format.

Although I didn't grow up in Queens, I related to a LOT of her story. Like her, my parents divorced when I was a baby/toddler, and I was shuffled back and forth between their homes, which were very different from each other. My dad, a blue collar electrician who lives on the South Side of Chicago, also took me to bars when
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Since I'm not a big fan of memoirs it's probably not fair of me to rate this book. Even though I only gave it 3 stars I did like it. Fast-paced, funny, and down-to-earth are the adjectives I would use to describe this quick read. I loved the author's style of writing..she shows much love and appreciation for her unique family, friends, neighborhood, and childhood. This might be a good one to listen to on audio.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2016
In reading The Clancys of Queens I felt Tara Clancy was allowing me to be a member of her family for a little while and I enjoyed every minute of it. What a treat! It was tough, funny, poignant, but most of all, real. I loved this book.
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Throughout most of this book, I was at a solid three stars, but as it progressed towards the last third, I found the whole thing more endearing and attached to the characters and bumped it up to four stars.

Tara Clancy was a precocious tomboy who grew up in working-class Queens in a converted boat shed, but when her mother met a wealthy businessman, Mark, she was suddenly being picked up by a limo and spending every other weekend at his huge estate in the Hamptons.

No matter her surroundings, she
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