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The Snitch, Houdini and Me: Humorous Tales of Death-defying Childhood Misadventure
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The Snitch, Houdini and Me: Humorous Tales of Death-defying Childhood Misadventure

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  52 reviews
"Go Out and Play and Don't Come Home until it's Dark." Growing up in the 70's wasn't easy. No internet or smartphones, video games or HDTV -- nothing but time to kill and the endless potential of a summer day. Only parental threats and a newly-developed sense of right and wrong could steer Johnny Virgil and his two younger brothers away from trouble...or directly into it. ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published August 14th 2011 by Jv Enterprises (first published November 24th 2010)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  275 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book had me laughing from page one clear though to the end. I am sharing this book with a close frind whome I trust with it. this book will hold a special place of honor on my bookshelf. With being close in age to Johnny our childhoods were very similar. The cow pie golfing was the funniest thing even and I was laughing so hard I could not breath and had tears running down my face. I had to pause my reading due to getting sick laughing so much! Yes I had the same radio mine was red wonder w ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you grew up in the 60's and 70's, I think you will enjoy this book. It's sad that kids today spend so much of their time indoors playing video games. Parents now have to hover over their children, it didn't used to be like that. The last thing I ever wanted to do was be inside! I enjoyed this book because it made me nostalgic thinking about my childhood. Riding bikes, skateboarding, building forts, ice skating, and pretty much anything we could come up with, was what it was like to be a child ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book to everyone. I laughed out loud throughout the book. It's like a David Sedaris book, you know, if David Sedaris was straight and grew up in upstate New York. ...more
Robert McTague
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, a super-enjoyable read and tour back through my own childhood. I'm about 5 years younger than Johnny (so, close to the age of Houdini) and myself the oldest of three boys, so yeah, this one REALLY hit home (a common refrain in these reviews). For those of you who haven't read Johnny's 1977 JC Penney catalog blog entry, you simply must. It is, very truly, the funniest thing I've ever read on the internet, and was an impetus for him writing this book.

The book isn't perfect. As pointed o
There is one word to simply describe this book....HILARIOUS!!! The book consists of a series of stories about Mr. Virgil's childhood so you can read it all the way through like I did, or pick it up at any point and read one. I was already laughing while reading the introduction! He even went so far as to include pictures and drawings that made this delightful book even more charming and intimate. You needn't be a male or his same age to relate to Mr. Virgil's stories; I was born 9 years after hi ...more
Robert Kroese
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
TSHAM, as I shall call it, is a damned funny book. I laughed out loud many times, and at one point was actually in tears. Johnny's stories of his childhood remind me a lot of the TV Show Malcom in the Middle, except that instead of the nerdy middle kid, Johnny is the daredevil older sibling. As you read this, you will cringe and shake your head at some of his antics, wondering how he managed to survive his childhood at all.

The only real drawback to the book is that some of the stories sort of pe
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very, very funny! While I laughed out loud (repeatedly), I was reminded of my childhood growing up with two brothers. It also reinforced my opinion of my mental superiority (being the lone female child) and made me grateful that we all made it through those years together without permanent mental or physical deformities. Well, I should go and ponder that statement - my brother actually did get sprayed by a skunk while completely toasted... and then went to bed and fell asleep in his skunk-satura ...more
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was funny. I consider it the male version of "A Girl Named Zippy." Each "chapter" is a different anecdote from the author's childhood and adolecence in the 60s and 70s. I have to say I prefered the tales from when he was a kid as opposed to a teenager. Maybe it's because I'm a girl and couldn't relate to the stories of cars and bike stunts, etc. I liked the photos--especially the ones of the author's artwork as a kid. His commentary on those was hillarious. His mom was also a ...more
Colleen Lieb
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an assortment of stories from the authors past and they are hilarious. As you read them, they make you think of all the wacky and sometimes dangerously stupid things you did yourself. I highly recommend it.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Reading this book really took me back to my own childhood, even though I didn't do the crazy things Johnny and his friends/brothers did! This is a very funny book, I really enjoyed it. ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HILARIOUS! If you grew up in the 70s, you will swear this guy has somehow plagiarized all your childhood stories. A must read for all my friends around my age. (Also cheap on kindle.)
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! I read on my commute and laughed out loud, which will get you the entire row to yourself.
P. Christopher Colter
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Snitch, Houdini and Me is not your typical childhood nostalgia memoir. Granted, Johnny Virgil seems to take inspiration from notables in that genre such as Jean Shepard, but Virgil chooses to keep it real. No glossing over the things that kids REALLY did back then in this book. Growing up in the suburbs in the 70s, or in any era, involved some less-than-ideal activities for most of us, including setting up our younger siblings for trouble, driving too fast, blowing things up, pulling crazy s ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I ran across the blog spot a few years back. Having been born in the 60's, I was at the mercy of my mother's tastes and the highly drug-induced fashion trends of the 70's. I don't remember now what it was that I was googling, but Johnny's blog about the JC Penny catalog popped up and had me crying with laughter and self-loathing, having personally identified with way too many of these pages.
Then the childhood stories of the 70's... those were the good ole days. I can honestly say... Childhoods.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, humor
I have three younger brothers so these stories of the Virgil household brought back a lot of memories and provided many laughs. I was an indoor gal but heard lots of similar tales of my brothers' exploits through our suburban neighborhood. Even the author's mom gets in on the act with her homemade speed bump and search for unusual plants. Well-written and very enjoyable! ...more
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hysterical! Children of the 70s will really enjoy this book. I laughed until I cried.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm about halfway into this book and love it! I grew up with three siblings (2 brothers) and this reminds me of some of the crazy stuff that we did growing up. ...more
Shannon Grothues
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
good laugh, easy read.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
OMG, this guy is hysterical. I'm going to have to check out his blog... ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Love the author's nostalgic tone, with the slightly cynical twist that comes from thinking back on at-the-time-ideal childhood memories with a responsible, practical adult mind. ...more
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was fantastic for any guy to read. It really brings you back to when you were doing the most stupid things as a kid just to try it out.
Oct 09, 2011 added it
I have not yet read this book, but I have read the author's blog. ( 15 Minute Lunch) This guy is too funny! ...more
Chris Geggis
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and I've read a lot of Dave Barry. ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly funny!
Anyone growing up on the ‘60’s, ‘70’s or ‘80’s can certainly relate to the shenanigans and absurdity humorous antics these boys get themselves into.
I was actually laughing out loud for at least half the book...
Go back in time, remember a much simpler time when getting home before the streetlights came on was your biggest worry...
This would absolutely make a box office hit movie!
Highly Recommend!
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute silliness. Made me laugh.
Bonnie Miller
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Good, easy, fun read that had me laughing so hard I cried in the first 20 pages.
Lisa Roy
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I laughed out loud so many times I bought two more copies. I sent one to my sister and one to my childhood best friend. So fun!!!!
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
I absolutely LOVED this book. Its super easy to read, I was laughing constantly at such relatable and hilarious childhood mis adventure. I've bought many copies for friends. ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
For more information about this review and the author, visit my blog:

When I signed up to review this book, I knew it was right up my ally. I grew up with three younger brothers, two older male cousins, two additional male kids of close family friends and tons of boys at my annual summer camp, which was a big prankfest. Talk about shenanigans! I was prepared for this book. I was amused at the stories Virgil shared, and felt that I was an observer of those e
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, though I don't think I was yukking it up quite as much as other reviewers. That I'm female and grew up with two sisters may have something to do with that. We hit our childhood stride in the 70's too, but I have very few experiences that might rival Johnny Virgil's. I found the photos and childhood drawings (and running commentary re the same) very funny, and there were parts that made me laugh out loud. NOW, having said all that, I am the mother of two boys -- and I can wel ...more
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Hello. I'm Johnny, and I hate talking about myself.

I currently live in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in the beautiful, tax-free state of New York with my wife and her two cats. I say "her cats" instead of "my cats" because she's the one who feeds them, and their loyalty seems to lie with the person who opens the can. It seems that the guy who cleans their litter box gets no respect.


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