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A Fistful of Fig Newtons

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  36 reviews
From the wild and wacky world of a favorite funnyman, a dozen truer-than-life tales of tailgating on the Jersey Tumpike, infuriating infants, and other everyday catastrophes, defeats, and humiliations that are the familiar fate of Americans everywhere.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published 1981)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, short-story
When Jean Shepherd tells a story you know it's going to be epic, legendary tall tale. Ralph, Randy, the Old man and his mom are back along with Farkus, Schwartz and Flick. I think my favorite story is sort of a spiritual sequel to Christmas story when the boys all head off to summer camp. His story about the troop train shows what a great writer Shepard was as he makes you feel that you are on the train with him. The best story about the Old Man and family has to the Ice Cream war. I really thin ...more
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: amer-culture, humor
I was missing Jean Shepherd's voice, but after having read a huge biography of him last year, and experiencing anew the shock of the late-70's-attitude towards women in the first few stories in this book, I guess I would have been better off renting A Christmas Story. The quality of these stories is somewhat uneven - the childhood stories are better than the army stories, which are better than the college stories, etc. Still, it was nice to read a few tightly written short stories from the wanin ...more
Sara Russell
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read and enjoyed this book for decades. Shepherd's writing is how I wish I could write; it makes me a better writer to see the variety of his word choice and the rich, humorous descriptions that make me LOL for real. One of my favorite books of all time. ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another fun read from Jean Shepherd.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many belly-laughs in this. (Especially the stories of youth.)
It brought to mind his funny narration in A Christmas Story.

29... Big Daddy, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: "Mendacity, my boy. Mendacity is what life is all about."
31... So much of my best solid contemplation is done in the john. Archimedes hollered out "Eureka!" in his bathtub.
48... Camp life ... I began to feel lean and sinewy.
57... mud ... My shoes had grown 4 sizes by the time I had walked a yard.
67... 4-hole outhouse ... The fou
Rex Libris
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In my own humble opinion, Jean Shepherd is probably the best story teller in our time, and very high on the list of best ever. In this volume shepherd entertains us with stories of life in the army, what is like to be a person with a name at the end of the alphabet, and life in a mill town in Indiana.

While filled with humor, you do not need to get to the jokes to appreciate Shepherd's work. The description of the blast furnace lights reflected on the surface of Lake Michigan is as good as being
Clint the Cool Guy
Very funny! I’m liking Jean Shepherd’s books more and more. If you’ve only seen “A Christmas Story”, then you are missing out on all the hilarious memories and characters that he describes. It’s a collection of semi-biographical stories, best read a little at a time. Some of the cultural references are now becoming a little dated but that just makes the history in this stand out more. I plan to read all of his books! Recommended.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
"A fist full of fig newtons " Jean Shepherd
Good humerus book the writer of the Christmas story. Not his best but was worth 4 stars
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
Just glimpses of the fun of the Christmas Story. Interesting to remember things from 30 years ago.
Patricia DeRose
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure Shephard

Wish you were here, Jean. You are very much missed by your old fans from your New York radio days.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up. While not as good as In God We Trust or Wanda Hickey, this book still shines with Shepherd's effervescent prose and wit. A true gem! ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but not as uproarious as “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters”.
Stephen Drivick
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one has a bit darker tone but still very comical reading.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great stories from Shepherd's past. Cozy, nostalgic and hilarious. From his army days to summer camp and everything in between. Great read. ...more
Tom Boothe
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Typical Shepherd, relating his everyday events to yours and mine in a way that makes you laugh out loud.
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The man behind the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story". I was a devoted fan of his WOR radio show in NYC in the 1960's. ...more
May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The story builds nicely with all the different teams giving an incite into their respective views on events.
Elisha Condie
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love Jean Shepherd. I love his narrative voice. This book is another collection of short stories, many of them centered around his army days (so a little later than the stories in "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories"). I pick it up often, and just did again, because I just don't get tired of these. He's so funny and always adds just the right details to his stories, so I can totally see the scene he's painting.
I have a lesson to prepare, a book club book to read, a library book to read
Feb 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, humor
Published in the early 1970's this collections of humorous essays shows just how much our reading styles have changed. The print font is ridiculously small and some of the essays are very long. The format of connecting the essays is the author's daily commute through the tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey. The traffic is the small snarl, but the lack of air conditioning in the cars and the effect that has on fellow drivers adds additional humor. The essays cover growing up in small town A ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I have been a big fan of Jean Shepherd since the mid-1960s when I first heard him chat away each night at 10:15 on WOR radio, NY. I even have a signed edition of his second book, and dozens of recordings of his shows, poetry readings, etc. With that in mind, I think this book, Fistful of Fig Newtons, is more for the old-time fan than the person who is looking to be introduced to Shep (including those who know him only from his Christmas story. For newbies, read "In God We Trust, All Others Pay C ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, short-stories
redolent of his wit and wisdom, Shepherd delivers with this collection of short stories loosely strung together with story-glue consisting of him traversing the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour.

two stand-out stories rise to the top, redolent of the maniacal descriptive minutiae with which ol' man Jean infused his midwestern tales of madness, mystery, and mayhem, the title story "A fist full of fig newtons" and another about an ice cream war really took the cake. the rest was still worthy of reading.

William Quest
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A splendidly written collection of tales of remembrance that only Jean Shepard can tell in his satiric wisdom. It was fun reading more about Ralphie as he goes to summer camp, enters High School and gets out of the Army, as well as other great moments. All the way through, I could hear Jean Shepard's voice narrating the stories, just as he did for the movie "A Christmas Story." Really, it was like meeting an old friend. ...more
Frank W.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Jean Shepherd and still miss him. I avidly listened to him on WOR 710 AM while in high school. Being a born and raised Jerseyite who commuted to NYC for years, I identified with his unique observations and witty segues into his truly unique short stories. This book is a wonderful collection. I can truly relish life in a simpler time. ...more
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Guys who are lil bored and have an odd sense of humor
Shelves: heart-flutters
I think this was a guy lit, instead of a chick lit. It was interesting but I had a hard time keeping up with where the guy was exactly. It was kinda cool, the guy is stuck in traffic, and thinks about his past and remembers different stories.
Dec 05, 2008 rated it liked it
I find Shepherd's hyperbolic style endlessly amusing. The quality of the pieces is a bit uneven - the best pieces are the imagined memoirs. I especially liked The Mole People Battle The Forces of Darkness and The Marathon Run of Lonesome Ernie The Arkansas Traveler. The rest was so so. ...more
Susan Sevcik
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Interesting take on what one thinks about on the daily commute. Some were funny, some were boring.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
I absolutely adore these stories. Each is twined with the next in a subtle way. I like these stories better than the movie 'A Christmas Story'! One of the funniest books I've ever read. ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Humorist Jean Shephard riffs on troop trains, college life on the GI Bill, cars, and even ice cream wars. What's not to love? ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2011-12-season
More adult oriented stories by the "Christmas Story" creator. ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Humorous, nostalgic stories
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Was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep. With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is best known to modern audiences for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.

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