Dreaming: Hard Luck & Good Times in America

Overview

In this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir, Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream. Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a family tradition, Dreaming is no victim's story. With a wry humor and not a trace of self-pity, See writes of fights and breakups and hard times, but also of celebration and optimism in the face of adversity. The story of See's family speaks for the countless people who reached for the shining American vision, found ...

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1st Edition, Fine-/VG DJ nicked at fore-edge corners, is worn a little on rear fore-edge, o.w. clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates etc. ISBN 0679430261

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Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America

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Overview

In this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir, Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream. Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a family tradition, Dreaming is no victim's story. With a wry humor and not a trace of self-pity, See writes of fights and breakups and hard times, but also of celebration and optimism in the face of adversity. The story of See's family speaks for the countless people who reached for the shining American vision, found it eluded their grasp, and then tried to make what they had glitter as best they could.

The award-winning author of Golden Days and The Rest Is Done With Mirrors now tells her life story and that of her family--one in which heavy drinking and, later, recreational drugs, were something of a family tradition. A fiercely funny and deeply empathetic book which shows that the wild life, for better and worse, has made us what we are. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Novelist See recalls the deeply dysfunctional family of alcoholics, addicts, suicides and pornographers with sharp humor. (May)
Library Journal
Without self-pity, novelist (Golden Days, LJ 9/15/86), English professor (UCLA), and book critic See here offers a sobering account of drug abuse in her family.
Donna Seaman
"Are you strong?" asked See's half-sister, Rose. And See answered, "Yes," and, indeed, she had to be to not only survive her life, but to write about it. A celebrated novelist, See has written an absorbing if chilling memoir that combines family history with a consideration of the major yet unacknowledged role that alcohol and drugs play in the lives of Americans. People turn to drugs and drink to "deaden the disappointments" associated with the often unattainable American Dream, See writes, but while she believes this form of "dreaming" leads to depression, divorce, and disaster, she is never preachy, judgmental, or simplistic about the motivations or consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. Even after decades of coping with alcoholic and drug-addicted relatives, as well as her own drinking problem, See still understands the need for wildness, the lure and thrill of the "free fall," and the heedless drift into oblivion and poor health. This sustained honesty, ambivalence, and, yes, valor have enabled See not only to forgive her parents, husbands, and half-sister for their appalling behavior, but also to tell their stories with vigor, humor, pragmatism, and great narrative finesse. As See unsparingly describes her violent and harrowing 1940s California childhood and her hectic early marriages, which sputtered and died in a haze of drug-inspired delusions, she portrays each family member and loved one with dramatic intensity and hard-boiled compassion. It's obvious that See's passion for writing saved her sanity and broke the chain of suffering that strangled her family for generations. Perhaps her well-told story will help others, too.
From Barnes & Noble
In this bittersweet memoir, the acclaimed author reevaluates how the elusive "American dream" has figured into her own life and her at-times dysfunctional family. "...a singular ode to the human spirit."-- William F. Buckley, Jr. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679430261
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/7/1995
  • Pages: 343
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn See is the author of five novels. She has a Ph.D in American literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is an Adjunct Professor of English. Her awards include the Robert Kirsch Body of Work Award (1993) and a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction.

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