An illuminating collection that focuses on the boomer generation.

THE BOOM PROJECT

VOICES OF A GENERATION

A baby boomer anthology offers poetry, personal essays, and short fiction primarily by Ohio River Valley authors.

In this collection, debut editors Crum and Johnson compile works by boomers born in the years 1946 to 1964. The pieces present many of the typical ’60s tropes—the Vietnam War, Kent State, the assassinations of John F. and Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the rise of feminism, and the styles of the era. Yet the most memorable works in this book go beyond these expectations to supply insights that supersede boomer generational concerns. Divided into five sections, the first part explores the Ohio River, and the second examines the boomer generation. Sections three and four concentrate on the coming-of-age and maturing of the ’60s generation. The final section provides stories and poems dealing with home as a refuge and place of security. “What you will find here are more questions than answers, more searching than certainty,” Crum asserts in introducing the 47 authors—some published and some unknown—and their works. For example, E.G. Silverman’s story “Bagel Macher” vividly portrays the characters who inhabit a bagel shop but not much of the ’60s ideas that typify many boomer-centered tales. This anthology also stretches the meaning of the term “boomer.” John Limeberry’s story “Child of the Sixties” delivers the ruminations of an author born late in the boomer cycle (1962), a writer who has no personal recollections of the signal events and personages that so typify that era. Not all of the work that the editors—who are Louisville, Kentucky, writing coaches—have selected comes from the Ohio River region. Reed Venrick’s superb poem “Success of a Cypress,” which skillfully looks at the Cypress swamps of Florida using humor and self-reflection, has little to do with the Ohio River or boomer-ism. Varying quite widely in style, some fictional, autobiographical, and poetic gems emerge from this compendium for readers who are willing to journey through these pages.

An illuminating collection that focuses on the boomer generation.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-941953-69-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Butler Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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