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Closing Time: A Memoir

de Joe Queenan

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
17610131,110 (3.66)7
Joe Queenan's acerbic riffs on movies, sports, books, politics, and many of the least forgivable phenomena of pop culture have made him one of the most popular humorists and commentators of our time. In Closing Time, Queenan turns his sights on a more serious and personal topic: his childhood in a Philadelphia housing project in the early 1960s.… (més)
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A book about me, my family and our good buddy alcohol. I'm glad that the synopsis said escape because I could not think of the word that describe Joe's journey in the book and escape is it. Run Joe Run.

I grew up with our good buddy alcohol and could relate to the funny things and none of the bad ones, thankfully. I definitely remember the loud music -- only it was in the middle of the day and it was Irish songs and opera. My dad had a state job, was ready to retire and had over a year of sick days available, so he took them--he called in sick every morning for over a year. Man you don't get benefits like that anymore.

Back to Joe. It was not a pleasant book to read. I know Philly and I know growing up with booze in the house. I forced myself through it. I wish Joe could have had a loving father, but at least he's trying to be one for his children. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Adult memoir. Joe Queenan tells of growing up poor; it started ok but then got (for no reason at all) unbearably, irreparably boring, and I had to abandon it and start a different book. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I used to be very amused by Queenan's articles in Movieline Magazine, in the days when it had an edge that set it apart from other entertainment publications. When it came to writing sentence after sentence of pointed but hilarious opinion, he had few equals. Under a new editor, Movieline became worthless, and I lost track of Queenan for quite a while. Recently, I decided to listen to this audiobook through Hoopla, which my library provides. So why, you may wonder, should anyone spend time listening to the autobiography of Joe Queenan? There are a number of answers to that. First, Queenan is a smart guy, and his observations on the people, places, and events in his life are always interesting and go deep beneath the surface. Second, while this is certainly a book about Queenan's life, it is more a book about his relationship with his alcoholic, abusive father, who could rarely hold a job for more than a few months at a time. Queenan's understanding of the good traits he inherited from his father, such as a love of learning and reading, will hit home with any of us whose relationship with our father was mixed. Without a father as a role model, Queenan turned to others, and his portrayal of the ex-Marine clothing store owner for whom he worked for many years, as well as a pharmacist turned gourmet cook, are fascinating. This book recreates a lost time and place (Philadelphia of the 1950s and 60s). As a result of his father's inability to hold a job, he grew up poor, at least until his mother started working at a hospital and rapidly was promoted to where she made more money than Queenan's father had ever brought in. Queenan's observations of the cycle of stupid decisions poor people make is very convincing.

This is also a funny book at times. Queenan's quest to become a Catholic Saint by dying at a young age doesn't quite work out, but his experiences with the church, its priests and nuns, and at a seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania are fascinating and amusing, while still maintaining the level of insight and seriousness that mark the book as a whole. There are very few throwaway lines here. If you listen to the audiobook, there is an excellent interview with Queenan at the end where he goes into the background of how he wrote the book.

Highly recommended. ( )
  datrappert | Jul 19, 2020 |
Joe Queenan brings a real wealth of writing talent to the task of this tale of his growing up in mid 20th century Philadelphia. Unfortunately, those talents seem wasted on this savagely bitter and mean spirited memoir. It required a considerable effort to bear with this arrogant cynic to the end of the book. ( )
  jvsdfs | Jun 19, 2014 |
Not unlike Queenan, I read my way into the middle class. I am familiar with a lot of the prejudices and knee-jerk attitudes he describes. I was much, much luckier than he, inasmuch as both my parents loved me and did their level best for me. Like him, I adore the English language in all its fearsome glory, and endeavor to use it in a manner befitting its incandescent variety.

Unlike Queenan, I'm not an unreconstructed, condescending prick.

This memoir was grueling. The horror that was Queenan's childhood is limned here in letters of fire. The reaction to that childhood is still happening, and it's uncomfortable to witness. There's enough backlash and bitterness to last several lifetimes here- and not without justification. His dad was a right bastard, make no mistake about it. Queenan's claims to have moved beyond his childhood ring hollow in the face of the evidence presented here, though. I think he's doing well to have merely survived.
( )
2 vota satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Joe Queenan's acerbic riffs on movies, sports, books, politics, and many of the least forgivable phenomena of pop culture have made him one of the most popular humorists and commentators of our time. In Closing Time, Queenan turns his sights on a more serious and personal topic: his childhood in a Philadelphia housing project in the early 1960s.

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