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Paperback Are You Happy?: A Childhood Remembered Book

ISBN: 1594482373

ISBN13: 9781594482373

Are You Happy?: A Childhood Remembered

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Emily Fox Gordon was a fatty, an academic failure, a schoolyard pariah, and a disappointment to her highly educated parents. And yet her early life was, as she puts it, "a succession of moments of radiant apprehension." Growing up in a Massachusetts college town in the fifties, she cultivated the writer's lifelong habit of translating experience into words. As she grew older, she became aware of her mother's long withdrawal into alcoholic depression...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Childhood and the Luminous Self

Emily Fox Gordon may well become known as The Great American Memoirist for ARE YOU HAPPY? A Childhood Remembered, and her previous memoir MOCKINGBIRD YEARS. To read these books is to spend welcome time in the warm and brilliant company of a deeply insightful writer. ARE YOU HAPPY? invites us into the compelling story of Gordon's childhood that is at once shockingly personal and universal. She reveals a psychic landcape, an event in our cultural consciousness, a deliciously discerning expose of family life, the fifties, parental love and failure. Her awareness of herself and the world is so evolved that the book unfolds as an exquisite map of individual consciousness, the "socialization" of that, and the brave refusal to limit one's imaginative life and primordial communion with the world. She writes so well that I read many of her sentences over and over to savor them, and in fact savored the entire book. Gordon has a true gift for writing of profound emotional conflict with empathic clarity. This is a book I value most of all for its wry introspection and moments of awareness that explode in revelation. It's not only about a childhood but the self in all its pain and luminosity.

Easy to identify with

This wonderful book tranforms incidents that we can all identify with into brilliantly captured observations about life. I am struck by the book's honesty and Ms. Gordon's ability to inject an aura of mystery and intrigue into the incidents she recalls with such lucidity. It's a great read, very moving in its simplicity and yet filled with Proustian overtones, giving the book its strength and power.

Enchanting, intelligent

In the post-Frey era, it's refreshing to discover a memoir that reflects the ways in which memory really works. Are You Happy? delights with loose chronology and fleeting images, like the balloon glimpsed after the child has let go of the string. Yet the book is grounded by scrupulous attention to detail, with attending sounds, tastes, and fragrances that fully realize each hovering miniature. Here, one understands the author carefully scrutinized the past not to recite a history, but to evoke and describe a state of being, embracing the privilege, and one of the goals, of the memoirist: to make art of the past, as would a painter, or a musician improvising on a theme. Highly recommended.
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