Customer Reviews for

Sag Harbor

Average Rating 3.5
( 116 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Thought Provoking, Humorous, and Engrossing

This is a wonderfully written coming of age story. The prose is thought-provoking, humorous, and engrossing. The author uses humor to effectively bring important issues to the reader's consciousness. The author brings the reader back to the 1980's and all the quirky hap...
This is a wonderfully written coming of age story. The prose is thought-provoking, humorous, and engrossing. The author uses humor to effectively bring important issues to the reader's consciousness. The author brings the reader back to the 1980's and all the quirky happenings of that time; New Coke - need I say more. We also get a view into the issues that race and class present for teenagers just trying to learn how to fit in to such a complicated world. Also important is the realization and subsequent respect of our history and what generations before us went through and accomplished so that we may live as we do today. It is coming to terms with/recognizing that things we take for granted now were fought for and a price was paid by those who fought for them. The book starts out somewhat light-heartedly and then slowly weaves in the darkness that comes with family dysfunction and alcoholism. It is a well-rounded, funny, and sometimes heart-breaking story of growing up in a world full of choices and consequences.

posted by jclay26 on March 14, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Plot Please

They say if you don't get into a book in the first 50 pages, it's probably not for you. I gave it 80 pages. I wanted to like this book. I liked the characters in the beginning, and the trip down memory lane but...it kept on walking down that lane, relying on touching so...
They say if you don't get into a book in the first 50 pages, it's probably not for you. I gave it 80 pages. I wanted to like this book. I liked the characters in the beginning, and the trip down memory lane but...it kept on walking down that lane, relying on touching something that might make us reminisce long enough to just keep going. I need more than that. I need a plot, to know a story is going somewhere, internal or external but going somewhere. This to me after that many pages, was still in the same place. I became bored and the characters also began to bore me, so I had to give it up. Nice writing style, but not my cup of tea.

posted by vivico1 on March 9, 2009

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thought Provoking, Humorous, and Engrossing

    This is a wonderfully written coming of age story. The prose is thought-provoking, humorous, and engrossing. The author uses humor to effectively bring important issues to the reader's consciousness. The author brings the reader back to the 1980's and all the quirky happenings of that time; New Coke - need I say more. We also get a view into the issues that race and class present for teenagers just trying to learn how to fit in to such a complicated world. Also important is the realization and subsequent respect of our history and what generations before us went through and accomplished so that we may live as we do today. It is coming to terms with/recognizing that things we take for granted now were fought for and a price was paid by those who fought for them. The book starts out somewhat light-heartedly and then slowly weaves in the darkness that comes with family dysfunction and alcoholism. It is a well-rounded, funny, and sometimes heart-breaking story of growing up in a world full of choices and consequences.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2009

    absolutely beautiful book

    similar in style to Marilynne Robinson's works - where every word is holy, and every scene means something else....

    i took much of it to be an allegorical tale of blacks coming of age in this country....one in which cultural differences are overshadowed by the sameness of our experience...

    oh..plus it's hysterical....

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sag Harbor is a blast from the past

    Colson Whitehead's coming of age novel manages to step back in time to 1985 and catch a year in the life of an affluent black student that will resonate with readers young and old. Benji Cooper is 15, lives a life many would envy. "A Cosby family" with a prewar classic 7 in New York City, Benji has a father who is a doctor and a mother who is a lawyer. And like other affluent families, Benji spends the summer on Sag Harbor in a neighborhood where blacks and whites live separate lives. Whitehead manages to to take us back to a year when life is still sweet for Benji who is coming of age and is handed the luxury of a summer for the most part free of parental supervision. Sag Harbor is an enjoyable read that manages to accurately depict a pivotal year in the life of a young man seeking to learn about girls and himself and how he fits in. The author expertly draws a picture of what life was like for the token black in prep school who gets to escape to a community when every family consists of African-American professionals. So take a trip down memory lane back to 1985 and relive all those moments along with Benji. You won't regret it no matter how old you are!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    Dag!

    Sag Harbor is the first book that I've read by Colson Whitehead. I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a story about a summer in Sag Harbor and much more. The author goes into great detail and touches on subjects that kept me reminiscing my youth. I was a lot like Benji, I think that is why I enjoyed this book so much. The closer I got to the end, the more I kept thinking "I don't want this book to end."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2009

    "Ain't No Stopping Us Now"

    This book is a delightful read, no matter what age you are. Mr. Whitehead has captured a summer vacation on Sag Harbor for Benji, (the main character), his family and friends so well that I feel like I was there. The summer of 1985 for the Community of African-Americans and particularly life for the teens and tweens at Sag Harbor was funny, thoughtful and a re-read for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A story anyone who lived through the 80's or was ever a teenager can enjoy.

    We are introduced to Benji and his family as they make their annual summer long trek out to Sag Harbor. The community of the upper/upper middle class African Americans who want to have their own summer place, just like their white counterparts.

    The writing style takes a little to get used to but once I was hooked the writing didn't matter only the story did. At times it seemed as if one tale had little or nothing to do with the next but as you step back and look at the story as a whole everything is there for a reason.

    I quickly grew attached to Benji and short of a few incidents he seems to be a really good kid, just trying to find his place between two societies. The white prep-school kids he's with at school and his black Sag Harbor friends that he shares his summers with. We are also taken into the 80's with catch phrases like "Dag" and the music that is so often referred to in this book. And anyone who's been a teenager can relate to the situations that Benji finds himself in.

    Overall this is one of the best books I've read recently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    i really enjoyed this book!

    the author did a great job of explaining the setting and life style of blacks in that region/time for me (a native texan in california). i identified with each character and laughed more often than not.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Opening Minds..and Hearts

    I was able to see,feel and touch the characters..That is because I was there during that time period in NYC,and The Hamptons..Its such a coming of age novel,that to me it transends race.Knowing that a portion of our population never knew that such a world existed,I understood during our First Look Bn Bookclub that so many readers had many questions.The curiousity was just an added element..People expanding their own world.Colson is a one of the few gifted writers,that all should read openly,and have a moment or 2 0r 3 saying to themselves,we are not so different afterall..With humor,and intelligence..Colson has become part of my permanent library...Makes a great gift as well ,13 to 100 yrs for all to enjoy

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  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great-Coming-of Age book

    This is a very good coming-of-age book. Through the eyes of a teenage boy, the author takes you back in time, back to the 1980's. The journey is sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, sometimes nonstalgic. It deals with family, friends, race and class in a descriptive and often times funny manner. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining and thought provoking

    Sag Harbor was a thought provoking read. The vocabulary and writing style require the reader to pause and reflect. The story is a coming of age reflection written from the protagonist's perspective as a middle-age and well-educated adult, an assumption as this is not explicitly stated. The book has many underlying explorations of social themes (e.g., racial, social, economic, familial, duality). This is by no means a beach read, but should be read in silence with a cup of tea. It is great choice for a book group that enjoys the process of analysis and is not afraid to delve difficult topics.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Spend some time in Sag Harbor

    Author,Colson Whitehead, skillfully takes the reader back to the summer of 1985 in the resort town of Sag Harbor, Long Island. Our escort on the journey is Benji Cooper a likeable and semi-autobiographical teenager caught between manhood and braces.
    Benji faces problems and situations that are universal and timeless - Family, peers and the personal pressures he puts upon himself, all with good natured humor.
    I had hoped that this novel would be different from anything I've read and it did not disappoint. It is a book that, at first glance, appears to be lighthearted and frivolous but actually explores much more serious
    themes.
    Sag Harbor is a delightful read and you will find yourself laughing out loud as Benji comments on the same pop culture you may also remember.
    Sadly, summer must come to an end and so must this novel but it leaves a vivid picture of a very special place and time in Benji Cooper's life.
    Highly recommended.

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Home Alone

    Summer vacation in Sag Harbor is the focus of this semi-autobiographical novel authored by Colson Whitehead. It takes place in the mid 1980s, when Benji is 15. Benji's parents bring him and his younger brother (by ten month) to Sag Harbor and return most weekends, probably to make sure the summer house is still intact.

    Sag Harbor is a very interesting look into the mid 1980s as seen through the eyes of an African American teenager who spends his summers away from his predominately white prep school and reconnects with his black friends. Follow Benji and his friends as they work, play, fight, and even meet girls, you won't be disappointed

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    book sag harbor

    i thought it was very good. it got you into the minds of reggie and benji very well. even though they didnt talk abuse in the book. you had very good signs of it thru the book.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    SAG HARBOR

    I really enjoyed reading this book. This is a book I highly recommed for people to read. The characters are well written and bring back the times that I had when I was of that age. The author did a great job with this book that made me start reading some of his other works. This is one of the Firt Books best read.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Colson Whitehead is a talented writer!

    Colson's amazing use of metaphors allows us to experience Benji's, the main character, summer vacation on "Sag Harbor". Anyone reading this book is reminded how awkward those teenage years can be as Benji survives his first job at the local ice cream store, his first feelings for the opposite sex and survival of two brothers left to fend for themselves weeks on end. This novel also touches on such issues as racial and class identity. It allows you to laugh and cry at the same time. It's a great book to read and discuss with your book club as it touches your heart and makes you feel the experiences. I definitely will be reading Colson's other books!

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    I loved this book! It's a witty, insightful, and downright enjoyable novel filled with complex, fully conceived characters that I could relate to on many levels. The ending was beautiful. Overall, it was a very satisfying read. Highly Recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2009

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