My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America
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The Emmy Award–winning correspondent of CBS Sunday Morning reminisces about the wonderful days of his youth.

During the 1960s, Geist (Way off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small Town America, 2007, etc.) spent his summers working at a resort—the Arrowhead Lodge—owned by his aunt and uncle. In the middle of nowhere, down a winding road, the lodge provided the author with a place to work and make friends, drink beer, and meet girls. In this memoir, Geist takes readers back to those bygone days, sharing his escapades of what life was like for a young man with few experiences under his belt. The author often uses folksy humor to contrast those times with today. “A gas station attendant was a guy who filled your gas tank, checked your oil, coolant and battery fluids, and tire pressure,” he writes. “But those old gas stations did not sell hats and T-shirts, sixty-two different candy bars, fifty-seven kinds of refrigerated beverages, including twenty brands of bottle water. There were no ‘brands’ of water, only God’s. It was free. I know. Sounds crazy.” Threaded throughout this lightweight narrative are amusing, harmless memories of working in the kitchen during rush hour, cleaning out the open-air septic system, and fraternizing with the girls who moved in and out of Geist’s orbit. His portrayals of his fellow co-workers and his family are well-rounded, showing the good and bad in each individual. Geist’s writing is consistently nostalgic as he shows how those carefree summers helped mold him into the man he became. The book is a quick, pleasant read that effectively reflects how his time at the lodge showed him that “life is more difficult and rewarding and fun when you manage to do things your way.”

Old-fashioned, wistful stories that will appeal to fans of Geist’s previous books.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5387-2980-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019


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