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Let Me Finish

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  439 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Widely known as an original and graceful writer, Roger Angell has developed a devoted following through his essays in the New Yorker. Now, in Let Me Finish, a deeply personal, fresh form of autobiography, he takes an unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in Prohibition-era New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katharine White, who was a founding e ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 4th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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This is an excellent collection of autobiographical essays. I'd only read Angell's baseball writing before (specifically, The Summer Game); there's a little of that here, but what I found particularly compelling were Angell's memories of his parents, of their divorce, and of his mother's remarriage to E. B. White, whom Angell affectionately calls by his nickname, Andy. Also a highlight was the long section on The New Yorker, Angell's longtime employer, with witty, often moving reminiscences of W ...more
Jenn Estepp
I never knew how much I needed a only-occasionally-grumpy old man to meander through ruminations of his very interesting life until I downloaded this on a whim and mostly commute read it. I sort of adore Angell now.
Patrick DiJusto
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
"After my parent's divorce, I grew up shuttling on the IRT Lexington Avenue express between my father's brownstone and the bohemian apartment in the Village my mother shared with E.B. White, whom we all called Andy, although sometimes I'd take the IRT Lexington Avenue express to visit my father in his prestigious law office in the Wall Street area, before taking the IND Broadway local to visit my mother and Andy in their offices at the New Yorker magazine, where I did my best to avoid New Yorker ...more
Hughes Rosalie
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written separate chapters on growing up in NYC, E.B White, New Yorker writers and editors, life and death. I loved it. A couple of slow chapters but they didn’t matter.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ah, I haven't been so homesick for 10 years! Angell, definitely his own man, with his own stories and obsession (baseball, thank goodness), learned at the knees of his mother Katherine White, fiction editor at The New Yorker, and his step-father E.B. White. Reading him feels like being invited over for cocktails and dinner and stories, told from deep armchairs late into the night. These essays feel, to me, like going home. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-book, mbc, memoir
As the son of The New Yorker editor Katharine White and stepson of E.B. White, it was easy for me to think that Roger Angell came by his writing ability through both heredity and environment, but even if those are true, it's evident that he has practiced and honed his craft. His writing is clear, concise, insightful, funny, poignant, and enlightening. I am not personally a big sports fan, but his love of baseball comes through and showed me that there is much more to the game than grown men hitt ...more
Donn Headley
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Growing up, I loved the New Yorker, even though I could hardly been farther away while being on the same continent. Or more distant in upbringing and class and age and education and historical context than the writers and cartoonists of the "comic weekly." My interest was mainly the humor in either written or visual form, James Thurber and Woody Allen for the former, and Charles Addams and Gahan Wilson for the latter. This collection by one of my favorite writers (mainly baseball) covers many su ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Roger Angell is one of the New Yorker writers whose columns in that magazine are pieces that I never miss. Even when he's writing about baseball (although I wouldn't read a full-length book on the subject), he is captivating and expresses his thoughts as clearly and cleanly as his stepfather, E.B. White. He is wry and funny, and someone you could easily imagine sitting and talking with easily, hanging onto every word.

This book of memoirs--many, if not all, columns from the New Yorker--covers vig
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I shamefacedly admit that i was not very familiar with Angell's New Yorker essays. i see now I should have been reading him. This memoir of his growing up the son and step-son of well known parents and his entrance into his own adult life, including military, marriage and profession held the attention of a reader who really didn't know much about the man. I especially liked how, in each section, it was often the end of the section that was the highlight. I thought he was talking about one thing, ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My 2 cents: compelling memoir by the New Yorker's longtime fiction editor and baseball writer. Packed with insights and moving recollections - I couldn't put it down. The best $1.50 I've ever spent at Amazon (an undeserved fate for this book, to be sent to the remainder table, but it's my gain - and someday I'll read it again). "Life is tough and brimming with loss, and the most we can do about it is to glimpse ourselves clear now and then, and find out what we feel about familiar scenes and rec ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Despite my complete lack of interest in sports writing, Roger Angell's lineage as the son of Katherine White, stepson of E.B. White, and half brother of Joel White, one of Maine's most beloved boat builders, has always kept me half interested in his writing. This lovely, graceful memoir offers a double dose of White/Angell family history and writing style. Total loss of objectivity on my part, I live in Maine, and love it; work in the marine industry there, and love it; read constantly, and love ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Roger Angell's book is not an autobiography. It is a collection of essays, all clearly written, about aspects of his life; e.g., falling in love with cars (driving, anyway) or basebeall ("Early Innings"), or learning that even lives marked by luck and success are touched by heartbreak ("Hard Lines"). Some of the essays ramble on, but the prose is always excellent and Angell is the possessor of what FDR called "a first-rate temperament." Reading the essays led me to his baseball essays (he still ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
Wonderful. Roger Angell's memoir, arranged loosely by subject, wanders happily through time, with frequent admissions of the whimsies and vagaries of memory. As he says, “Memory is fiction – an anecdotal version of some scene or past event we need to store away for present or future use,” and readers may well be led to dig into their own archives and to wonder why certain scenes have “stuck” and not others, and why certain memories are shaped as they are. I enjoyed all of the chapters, including ...more
Joan Colby
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charming suggests a book that is coy or cozy; this instead invites the reader into a sophisticated, but warmly authentic milieu, one in which the inhabitants have their quirks, and would accept yours with pleasure. Angell is the son of Katharine White, a founding editor of the New Yorker and he is the stepson of her husband E.B. (Andy) White, vaunted New Yorker regular and author of the children’s classics Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Angell’s father is equally memorable, a New York lawyer ...more
I own this book, I think it was a gift. The essays are often about baseball (not a big fan myself)...but Angell is, and has written several books about the sport. I especially enjoyed his family essays: his essay on his famous step-father, E. B. White. and a poignant one about his mother, Katherine White, who, with her E.B. White worked at the New Yorker. The essay on sailing, while vivid...feels a little too precious. Every cove and wind and sailboat part is named. It's name-dropping of a natur ...more
Ann Foster
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Roger Angell grew up in New York City. His father was an attorney. His mother, the fiction editor of The New Yorker. His step father was E. B. White. Angell is well know writer about baseball and he also was a fiction editor for The New Yorker. A child of privilege, he explored the city on his own and with friends before attending Harvard before WWII. I relished his accounts of a childhood so different from that of my own parents and their brothers and sisters, whose background was small town an ...more
Everett Egginton
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A look at Roger Angell's early days growing up in NY. Sentimental at times; unsentimental at others. Certainly more than a glimpse into the rarified airs of the erudite writers and editors of the prestigious New Yorker. I liked most of the chapters, some more than others. Several of his reminiscences reminded me in no uncertain terms that I too am aging. I say this because Angell's reminiscences paralleled several of my own. ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like that of his stepfather E.B. White, Roger Angell's prose is clear and unadorned, effortlessly pleasing to the eye and ear in a way that belies the hard work of writing and editing that goes into making something seem easy to do. This is a wonderful selection of semi-autobiographical essays, particularly his remembrance of White, simply entitled "Andy." ...more
Len Knighton
Roger Angell will leave behind an extraordinary legacy of published works when he leaves this world. As of this writing, he is 100 years and 3 months old. This book gives us a sample of Angell's versatility. I especially loved the chapters about martinis and Jake Murray. Much of the book is autobiographical, a candid reflection on a life well lived. Beautifully written.

Five stars
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
I can't say that I was too familiar with Roger Angell, apart from that he was a writer, before getting this autobiographical book. I enjoyed the easy style of the writing and the character portraits Angell paints with his words. ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sports writer extraordinaire!! His mother was Katharine Angel White, one of the founders of The New Yorker and his father was EB White!! Needless to say, he had quite a life!
Win Dunwell
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Library copy. I know his baseball writing, and this is just as wonderful, and more personal. Memories of growing up, family, WW II, Martinis, Maine, sailing, and of course, The New Yorker!
Barb Lathroum
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Angell writes clear, graceful prose about his family members, his work associates, and formative episodes in his life. Perhaps since many of these essays were written by the author in his eighties and nineties, they express some nostalgia and longing for the past, but at the same time an acceptance of the past. I liked that the essays were arranged thematically rather than chronologically. The tone of the essays reminded me a little bit of the tone In some of Louis Auchincloss's work. After read ...more
Nov 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I think I picked up this book at a garage sale. I had no idea who Roger Angell was but it sounded kind of interesting. The best part about it was finding out he was the stepson of E. B. White, that his mother and stepfather were such a part of The New Yorker, and reading about some of the interesting people he knew, famous or otherwise. I did have some trouble reading some of his sentences. It seemed they were incomplete - I had to read them over, emphasizing different parts until I finally happ ...more
Carolyn Jacobson
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I read a few of these essays in The New Yorker, attracted initially because of Angell's essay about E. B. White ("Andy"); I'm interested in all things White. Some of the essays in this collection work really well as literary art--like "Getting There," which involves a description of a round of golf, and "Romance," which informs those us from a later era what driving was like earlier in the last century. The pieces about the New Yorker were also interesting to me as a long-time reader of that mag ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I didn't know anything about Roger Angell aside from the fact that he is a baseball writer. He was a long-time fiction editor and contributor at the New Yorker, as was his mother. This is a series of sketches on a variety of subjects, which combine to make a memoir, if not an autobiography. The prose is thoughtful, gentle and effortless. Mr Angell has led an interesting and privileged life surrounded by well-known people from the New York/Boston intellectual scene. It was a small world, especial ...more
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Barbara loaned this book to me a while ago and i finally picked it up. It's lovely! It's a memoir of Angell's life, in part about growing up with his mom and step-dad, Katherine and E.B. (Andy) White--the former a founding editor of The New Yorker and the latter a NY writer as well as the famous children's novelist. This continues my interest in my grandparents' generation, though Angell couldn't be much more different from them (different coasts, different educations, different politics, VERY d ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm convinced that it's impossible for Roger Angell to write anything that isn't completely charming. Only he could make a series of biographical essays about growing up in a WASPy patrician family seem so relatable and engaging.

Angell's narrative voice is unforced and friendly, achieving a "fireside chat" level of conversational intimacy. He is frequently funny, wry, and self-deprecating and the way he achieves the book's tone of an old man reflecting on his life is remarkable.

The book doesn't
Feb 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes 300 pages of grandpa's stories
Recommended to Jeremy by: it was a christmas gift
Didn't like it. I never liked true biographies because they seem to me just a person talking about themselves to validate their importance to the world. Some however could be an interesting fun story or present a topic that may be compelling. Unfortunately this was not one of those to me.This guy grew up very wealthy in NYC and was not affected by the depression nor any of the wars of his time. Only a divorce as a child and a career writing for the new yorker which was founded by his mother (nep ...more
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Roger Angell (b. 1920) is a celebrated New Yorker writer and editor. First published in the magazine in 1944, he became a fiction editor and regular contributor in 1956; and remains as a senior editor and staff writer. In addition to seven classic books on baseball, which include The Summer Game (1972), Five Seasons (1977), and Season Ticket (1988), he has written works of fiction, humor, and a me ...more

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