I Will Not Leave You Comfortless: A Memoir

I Will Not Leave You Comfortless: A Memoir

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by Jeremy Jackson
     
 

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Spanning one year of the author's life, I Will Not Leave You Comfortless is the intimate memoir of a young boy coming to consciousness in small-town Missouri. 1984 is the year that greets ten-year-old Jeremy with first loves, first losses, and a break from the innocence of boyhood that will never be fully repaired. For Jeremy, the seeming security of family isSee more details below

Overview

Spanning one year of the author's life, I Will Not Leave You Comfortless is the intimate memoir of a young boy coming to consciousness in small-town Missouri. 1984 is the year that greets ten-year-old Jeremy with first loves, first losses, and a break from the innocence of boyhood that will never be fully repaired. For Jeremy, the seeming security of family is at once and forever shaken by the life-altering events of that pivotal year. Through tenderhearted, steadfast prose — redolent of the glories of outdoor life on the family farm — Jackson recalls the deeply sensual wonders of his rural Midwestern childhood — bicycle rides in September sunlight; the horizon vanishing behind tall grasses. Reanimating stories both heart wrenching and humorous, tragic and triumphant, Jackson weaves past, present, and future into the rich Missouri landscape.

With storytelling informed by profound sense of place and an emotional memory remarkably sound, Jackson stands poised to join the ranks of renowned memoirists the likes of Tobias Wolff. Readers young and old will be charmed and transformed by his unforgettable coming-of-age tale.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[Jackson] has a poet’s touch with words—simple, lyrical, evocative. . . . I could smell the mulberries crushed underfoot and the sweet steam of the cinnamon roll Grandma heated in the toaster oven just for Jeremy, hear the ever-increasing volume of an approaching late-spring storm. . . . The year of Jeremy Jackson’s life on which he meditates in I Will Not Leave You Comfortless marked his transition from the perfect happiness of childhood to the much more complex reality of adulthood. It records, as well, the abiding comfort that remains—family, home and love."
—Melanie Zuercher, Wichita Eagle

"Jeremy Jackson’s memoir, I Will Not Leave You Comfortless, immerses the reader in the sights, sounds and senses of a happy childhood in rural Missouri just before the digital revolution: a basketball hoop, the smell of pie, rumbling storms, a BB gun, the stain of sour mulberries underfoot in June . . . this local coming-of-age memoir is a sweet record of a time and a place that was not Always On."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"The air, the weather, the landscape, the emotions, [Jackson's] first girlfriend and the gift he buys her, his troubles, his worries, his observations, all help locate us at the time of his youth and remind us of the noteworthy events of our own childhood . . . I Will Not Leave You Comfortless shines and glides beautifully onward with Jackson's eloquent language, his capturing of the subtle nuances, fears and joys of growing up, and his poetic descriptions of those lovely moments of being a child that many of us were fortunate to have experienced."
—Jim Carmin, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Jeremy Jackson’s swirling memoir is built upon layers of well-chosen detail—it remembers the weather, the geography, the history of plowed earth, the coal-smoke taste of coffee and the aching love between the lines of handwritten letters.  The result is like peering through a new lens at a familiar hillside, or walking through the pastures of your childhood and discovering they were bigger, not smaller, than you recall.  Bigger, not smaller—now that is the mark of a generous writer.”
—Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River and So Brave, Young, and Handsome

“Jeremy Jackson writes about Missouri as the young Hemingway wrote about Michigan: with a clear eye; with hard-edged nostalgia; and (here's the thing) with brilliance. I was going to add that I Will Not Leave You Comfortless reads like fiction, because it's well designed -- but it doesn't read exactly like fiction. And maybe it's because every word of it is absolutely, searingly true.”
—Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng

"In its openness, its lucidity, its leaps of empathy and its quiet perfectionism, this is one of the most daring and affecting memoirs I've read."
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead and The Illumination

"Abundantly evocative and resonant, I Will Not Leave You Comfortless is an elegy to a year in Jeremy Jackson's boyhood life, an elegy to childhood, to innocence, and to a certain kind of rural American life that Jackson brings to visceral existence, here, in the hazy winter light of remembrance and in the sun-glow of memory. This book is what it felt like to be that boy, that year, on that farm, and it is full of the writing that Jackson is known for: beautifully expressive and strikingly lucid prose."
—Thisbe Nissen, author of Osprey Island and The Good People of New York

“Jeremy Jackson’s swirling memoir is built upon layers of well-chosen detail — it remembers the weather, the geography, the history of plowed earth, the coal-smoke taste of coffee, and the aching love between the lines of handwritten letters. The result is like peering through a new lens at a familiar hillside, or walking through the pastures of your childhood and discovering they were bigger, not smaller, than you recall. Bigger, not smaller — now that is the mark of a generous writer.”
— Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Jackson recounts the details of his life in rural Missouri in 1984 when he was 10. Readers witness him navigating the changes that came through the loss of a loved one and a family member moving away. Creating a strong sense of place and time with evocative language, he immerses readers in the midst of a torrential thunderstorm. "I could hear the thunder. Muffled, thuddy thunder. And I could hear my quickened heartbeat. This was not good at all, this basementless tornado-bait farmhouse." Jackson writes about each season, whether the family is harvesting and preserving produce or homebound due to a blizzard, with equal descriptiveness. Sadly, the environment is more engaging than the people. One feels detached while reading about Jeremy and his family coping with a terminal illness, and the inability to connect with anyone makes the book tedious at times. The child's nervousness when purchasing earrings for his crush and the subsequent trepidation about giving them to her are believable, just not captivating. Older teens are perhaps the intended audience, given the small font and the reflective nature of the narrative, yet the plodding events, lack of engagement, and Jeremy's age may dissuade them from staying with it.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571318701
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
0 MB

Read an Excerpt


A Storm

On the last Wednesday of April, 1983, my grandmother went to a funeral. She drove from the farm to Windsor through the early afternoon sunlight, past pastures where the grass was shin high and rising, past full creeks, past newly plowed fields. In town, the last tulips bloomed in front yards and side yards, the sidewalks were swept, and the streets were shaded by leaves that as of a week ago hadn’t even been born. This was spring in Missouri.

She had heard on the radio about the thunderstorms, but there was no sign of them yet. The day was quiet. She walked from the parking lot to the church through a breeze with no hint of threat to it. She was not a nervous woman, nor unfamiliar with the storms of her part of the country. She had lived in western Missouri her whole life, and she didn’t consider changing the course of her day just because storms were near.

That said, when the funeral was over and she had played the last sustained chord on the organ, she headed straight home. Within the course of an hour, the sky had changed. The sun had slipped behind a veil of high clouds so that the day was still bright, but there were no shadows anymore. She drove west, and once she le! the trees and houses of town she could see the storm clouds in front of her. They were close.

Really, it was a race. She was on a collision course with the storms, and it was simply a master of who would reach the farm first. The clouds that were approaching were not pleasant clouds. They were black and moving fast, like the flagships of night.

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