And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Friendship
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And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Friendship

by Bob Greene

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A highly personal and moving true story of friend-ship and remembrance from the New York Times bestselling author of Duty and Be True to Your School

Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, population 13,000, Bob Greene and his four best friends -- Allen, Chuck, Dan, and Jack -- were inseparable. Of the


A highly personal and moving true story of friend-ship and remembrance from the New York Times bestselling author of Duty and Be True to Your School

Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, population 13,000, Bob Greene and his four best friends -- Allen, Chuck, Dan, and Jack -- were inseparable. Of the four, Jack was Bob's very best friend, a bond forged from the moment they met on the first day of kindergarten. They grew up together, got into trouble together, learned about life together -- and were ultimately separated by time and distance, as all adults are. But through the years Bob and Jack stayed close, holding on to the friendship that had formed years before.

Then the fateful call came: Jack was dying. And in this hour of need, as the closest of friends will do, Bob, Allen, Chuck, and Dan put aside the demands of their own lives, came together, and saw Jack through to the end of his journey.

Tremendously moving, funny, heart-stirring, and honest, And You Know You Should Be Glad is an uplifting exploration of the power of friendship to uphold us, sustain us, and ultimately set us free.

Editorial Reviews

In Be True to Your School, Bob Greene wrote about himself and four high school buddies who were so inseparable that he interlinks them in an acronym ABCDJ (Allen, Bob, Chuck, Dan, Jack.) In this soulful memoir, Greene takes us back to the kindergarten origins of this group bond and jolts us with news of a reunion occasioned by the fatal illness of one of its members. Some readers might be put off by the sentimentality of Greene's subject matter; but doesn't a well-lived life brim with sentiment?
Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Greene (Duty) has filled a shelf with two dozen books, including his 1993 novel All Summer Long, while appearing as a broadcast journalist (Nightline) and writing for newspapers (the Chicago Tribune) and magazines (Life). Now he looks back on his youth in Bexley, Ohio (pop. 13,000), where he and his four pals grew up together, calling themselves ABCDJ (for Allen, Bob, Chuck, Dan and Jack). Their lives' paths diverged, but they always stayed in contact; in 2004, the news that Jack was terminally ill reunited them. Then and now, the group used jokes "to hide our feelings-to pretend to feel nothing... [which] seemed much better than the alternative." Greene met Jack in kindergarten, and they remained best friends for life. Remembering people and places they shared, the two revisit old haunts, discovering that their beloved Toddle House, where they once went for late-night chocolate pie, is now a Pizza Plus. Greene's repetitive, rambling free associations recall everything from his Halloween costume and old songs to ice cream parlors, state fairs and clothing fads. Unfortunately, the author's dusty attic of lost Americana is cluttered with cliches, nostalgia and overly sentimental yearnings. (May 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Prolific writer and journalist Greene (Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents) here pens a memoir about the value of friendship, memory, and the desire to live one's life to the fullest in the face of adversity. Greene skillfully weaves the story of his relationship with his friend Jack Roth-whom he first met in kindergarten in Ohio-into a narrative that moves back and forth between the present, when Jack is battling terminal cancer, and the past, particularly concerning Greene and Jack and three other friends with whom they shared childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences. Greene's detailed memories are nostalgic, endearing, and, at times, quotably philosophical. The reader is constantly aware of Greene's strong love and respect for his best friend. Though his admiration occasionally results in the sense that his friend was untouchable in his goodness, Greene's high praise, on the whole, emphasizes the value and rarity of such longstanding friendships. Readers who enjoyed Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking will find Greene's writing to be more wistful and plainspoken but similarly rewarding. Recommended for all public libraries.[See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Stacey R. Brownlie, Lititz P.L., PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Journeyman Greene (Once Upon a Town, 2002, etc.) celebrates the life and mourns the death of his oldest friend. Greene, now approaching 60, first met Jack in kindergarten back in Bexley, Ohio. Bob and Jack, together with Allen, Chuck and Dan, comprised the "ABCDJ" troupe that remained kindred spirits, devoted throughout the decades. Greene's tribute to Jack records some of the treasured moments they shared over the years: Commonplace youthful adventures, the little markers of days, attain a significance as Bexley becomes Grovers Corners in Greene's memory, a memory apparently sharpened by advancing years. He writes of Bexley's Audie Murphy Hill and Alum Creek, of Toddle House burgers and Toll House cookies. There was the Ferris wheel on Main Street and Chuck Berry and the Beatles, too. He writes of girls and the discovery of sex; of the catchphrases special only to the ABCDJs; and ultimately of humanity. Jack, for whom "not having a killer instinct was the best thing about him," was Greene's Everyman, not really extraordinary, just good. In this Tuesdays (And All Other Days) with Jack, the author mostly sidesteps the maudlin.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

And You Know You Should Be Glad

By Bob Greene

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Bob Greene
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061126853

Chapter One

We walked slowly to audie murphy Hill.

It's at the corner of Ardmore and Elm -- the north edge of the small front lawn at 228 South Ardmore. He -- Jack -- used to live in that house, when we first became best friends. We were five then; we were fifty-seven now, standing next to the lawn, next to Audie Murphy Hill.

"It seemed so steep," I said to him.

"Well, we were little," he said.

This was toward the end -- there would not be many more of these walks for us, the months leading up to today had taken their toll -- but every time I came back home to see him, we made the walk. He wanted to.

The slope hardly rises at all -- it's not really a hill, at least in the eyes of grown men. But in those years when he and I first knew each other -- the years just after World War II, the years during which the fathers of the families in the town had come home from Europe and the Pacific, had bought houses on streets like this one, had started to settle back into life during peacetime -- it had felt to us like something out of Italy or North Africa. We would charge up that slope -- up that placid piece of grass on that safe Ohio street in a town where only 13,000 people lived -- and, sticks in hand, sticks standing in for rifles, we wouldpretend that we were Audie Murphy. The most decorated combat soldier of the Second World War.

"Maybe the new owners of the house leveled off the lawn," I said to him now.

"No," he said. "This is how it was. It just felt steeper."

We were still on the sidewalk. I was trying to see what was in his eyes, without him knowing I was looking. Fat chance. He always noticed everything.

"Your dad used to watch us sometimes," my oldest friend -- no longer a boy, no longer sure of anything -- said. He was getting tired. I had told his wife that we wouldn't be long. Their house was less than a mile from his parents' old house -- less than a mile from Audie Murphy Hill.

"I know," I said. "My dad would be picking me up in his car, to take me home for dinner."

Those men home from their war -- what must they have thought? It hadn't even been ten years for them, back then -- ten years earlier they had been fighting in Europe, fighting on the islands of the Pacific, and then they were here, leaning against their Fords and Buicks, waiting while their sons finished playing soldier in the dying sun.

"They were much younger than we are now," I said to Jack.

"They were in their thirties," he said.

I thought I should ask him, so I did:

"You feel like climbing up the hill?"

It wasn't a hill at all. But it was too steep. Now, near the end, just as at the beginning of our lives, at the beginning of our friendship, it was too daunting for him, at least on this day.

"Let's go back," said my oldest friend.

We started to walk -- slowly, because he was unsteady -- toward his waiting wife, toward home.


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Meet the Author

Award-winning journalist Bob Greene is the author of six New York Times bestsellers and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Op-Ed page.

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