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Hardcover Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting Book

ISBN: 0399156550

ISBN13: 9780399156557

Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff have all produced winning memoirs of their demented, alternately heartrending and sidesplitting late- twentieth-century American childhoods. Now, first-time author Eric Poole joins their ranks with his chronicle of a childhood gone hilariously and heartbreakingly awry in the Midwest of the 1970s. From the age of eight through early adolescence, Poole sought refuge from his obsessive-compulsive mother,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Growing Up Midwestern When You Belong in Los Angeles

This book seems to be intended as a light-hearted romp through the midwest of a bygone era, where Eric grows up in a family that gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional." Eric's mom is a piece of work, almost literally: she cleans nonstop, yells hysterically and picks on Eric's dad. Eric's sister is a popular girl who tries to interpret the world to help Eric while carrying out her own agenda. Eric suffers at home, where he watches Bewitched and wishes he could make magic like Endora. As the years progress, he realizes his magic won't change reality and even his family's religion begins to seem questionable. Eric's classmates tease him and bully him, though they're not as mean and vicious as bullies will become in the 90's and later. These classmates realize Eric is gay and back in those days, gay bashing was not only legal: it was the norm. In all fairness, Eric's social ineptness often got him into hot water. He didn't know how to respond to teasing. One of the most hilarious (or horrifying) chapters recounts Eric's attempts to "help" his friend Billy, to whom he's become strongly attracted. Eric was very lucky he escaped with no serious consequences. Eric has moments of success. He plays the trumpet well. He shows genuine empathy: he feels badly when he insults a teacher who has been kind to him. He becomes enraged when another kid becomes a senseless killer of small animals. He has great moments alone with his dad. His mother stands up for him, in her own way, when others question why he's not following traditional routes into sports. The book was well-written and engaging. It's a little on the light side. When I first picked it up, my impression was of one outrageous story after another. Towards the end the book seemed to move on a more event keel. Eric reports stories but doesn't share insights into what was happening. I'd want to know more of what he was thinking and how he managed to develop the resilience to survive such a difficult childhood. In today's world he would be caught up in rounds of therapy and possibly get stuck with a life-changing label.

Pretty Funny

I was initially intrigued by this book because of the funny title, but quickly realized there is a good story within the cover to back it up. The book is easy to read, as if your best friend is telling you the story of his life. You laugh at times, you're shocked at times, and you sometimes just want to reach out and give him a hug. (I found myself laughing out loud a lot, but don't want to spoil it for you!) I enjoyed the author's sense of humor, and look forward to seeing what else he may write.

Funny, Delightful Memoir About Growing Up Gay in the 1970s

Eric Poole is a funny, funny man. His first book, Where's My Wand?, is a collection of autobiographical essays that will make you laugh out loud. They include bits about his relatives, experiences with bullies, a fascination with the TV show Bewitched and Endora, and his hilarious attempts to fit in with his peers, please his obsessive-complex mother, stay close to his older sister, and bond with his amiable father. At times the book is bittersweet and poignant. Poole has that rare ability to remember exactly what if felt like to be young, naive, gullible, and so innocent it hurts. I'd love to see this book adapted into a TV sitcom. It's one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.

Witty, Flamboyant, Gritty, Innocent, Wondrous

This book, takes us through Eric's youth -- first as a young child, then as a boy growing up into a young man in high school. The book begins with a maelstrom, a shag rug, and a hen-pecked dad, and ends in a whispered declaration of love. In between the pages is a young boy, Eric -- coming to terms with family drama, "creating miracles" with the help of "Bewitched" and a ratty bedspread turned into a robe, and trying to deal with the fact that he is different and...constantly bullied at school. Intervention comes in the form of a newly found friend, Stacey, who despite being born without arms is a champion for Eric, a fiesty fighter with a surprising right hook. Eric's interesting and often very funny observations include his sister's rise from precocious tween to "don't rat on me" teen, his aunt's habit of driving a car on the edge of the sppedometer, rationality, and possibly also the tires, a camping trip (and also at another time, a sleep over) gone terribly askew, and his grandmother's flamboyant visit -- hilarious observations -- but on the other hand, Eric's childhood is suddenly face-to-face with a reality he did not expect, and one which no bedspread/robe could fix -- the heart-breaking aftermath of a serious bus crash. Eric deals with his budding homosexuality, his mother's obsessive compulsive neatnick lifestyle, his much-admired dad's desire to make a man out of him (the BB gun incident....!), interspersing these episodes with trips to the basement to conjure up a better life with the magic bespread/robe. Eventually a trombone takes the place of his beloved robe, with unforseen consequences. Throughly enjoyable, thought-provoking and personable, "Where's My Wand" holds the reader's attention through-out the whole narrative.


I wasn't sure what to expect from this book with such a curious title, but I had hoped it would be something good. I was right! At first, I thought the writer might be a weak "David Sedaris" wannabee, but I quickly realized that he definitely has a voice of his own. Though Sedaris and Poole had some similarities growing up (knowing they were gay at a young age, quirky families with mothers who are not that endearing), the similarity ends there. It seems like both authors could be really good friends in life if they ever meet. That said...this book is written in chapter style but sort of follows a time line of the author growing up. I love the way he looks at life with a droll sense of humor at what are sometimes very uncomfortable situations. Each chapter is sort of a little "skit" (for lack of a better word) of a certain event or time period in his life. I will certainly enjoy looking forward to more work by Eric Poole, he has what it takes!
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