Leaving Home: A Memoir by Art Buchwald, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Leaving Home: A Memoir

Leaving Home: A Memoir

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by Art Buchwald
     
 

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The New York Times Bestseller.
"Dear readers: have I got a treat for you! Art Buchwald has written a book about his life . . . I guarantee 254 pages of pure pleasure." — Ann Landers
"Strikingly honest . . . [Buchwald] grew up in orphanages and foster homes and never knew his mother who, shortly after he was born, entered a mental hospital and spent the

Overview

The New York Times Bestseller.
"Dear readers: have I got a treat for you! Art Buchwald has written a book about his life . . . I guarantee 254 pages of pure pleasure." — Ann Landers
"Strikingly honest . . . [Buchwald] grew up in orphanages and foster homes and never knew his mother who, shortly after he was born, entered a mental hospital and spent the rest of her life
there . . . . But instead of becoming a sociopath, Buchwald became a professional funnyman and a national figure whose columns skewer pretense and politicians . . . . Score one for humor as a means of survival." — The Washington Post Book World
"

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Buchwald here delivers a bright, funny and poignant memoir of his early years, from a lonely childhood in Queens, New York City, to his start as a Herald-Tribune columnist in postwar Paris. He never saw his Hungarian-born, mentally ill mother, who was institutionalized shortly after his birth in 1925. His father, a Yiddish-speaking Austrian immigrant, a drape hanger, was a devoted parent, but was forced to place the author and his sisters in foster homes. It was a life with ``no hugging,'' but Buchwald survived through humor born of much anger and sadness (``This stinks. I'm going to become a humorist,'' he told himself), eventually fleeing to join the Marine Corps in 1942. His later years would be ``a lifelong search'' for a surrogate mother and included two suicidal depressions. We see the development of a young writer in a book rich in incidents and rendered in wonderfully vivid scenes: Buchwald rollerskating down Queens Boulevard, losing his virginity to a hotel chambermaid, pulling burial detail as a Marine in the Marshall Islands, aspiring to screenwriting at the University of Southern California, where he studied on the G.I. Bill, and finally sipping Pernod in Hemingway-heady Parisian cafes on the eve of the 1950s. ``I am new at writing memoirs,'' declares the author of this mature, immensely appealing look back at a youth of ``luck and chutzpah.'' He is very good at it, too. (Jan.)
Library Journal
A third of the way through this autobiography, syndicated columnist Buchwald says that when people ask what he's trying to do with humor, he tells them he's ``getting even, avenging the hurts of the past.'' Written in fine, firm prose that never bursts into fireworks nor falls from grace, his ``coming of age'' memoir is a mingling of tragedy and comedy, a revealing self-portrait that is unsparing of himself and uncolored by sentimentality. No chapter in the book fails to offer a full yield of fascination, whether the subject is his relationship with his father and sisters, his days in foster homes, his years as a Marine, or his early writing experiences in Paris. Leaving Home will strengthen Buchwald's reputation. It answers beautifully the invitation, ``Tell me about yourself.'' Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/93.-- A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Humorist Buchwald turns serious, albeit not wholly so, in this affecting memoir of his painful youth and early manhood. Shortly after she bore him in 1925, Buchwald's emigrant mother was committed to a psychiatric institution, where she was to spend the rest of her life. The author's father, an impoverished draper, couldn't afford to make a home for young Art and his three older sisters, so the children shuttled about N.Y.C.'s foster-care system for most of the Depression. Finally, in 1939, Buchwald pŠre was able to reunite the family in a Queens apartment. In the meantime, however, his son had developed a fiddlefoot, the soul of a hustler, and a rich fantasy life. WW II gave him a chance to leave a hurtful past behind, and he took it, lying about his age to enlist in the Marines. After returning unscathed from the Pacific (where he served as an ordnance specialist in a fighter squadron), Sgt. Buchwald took his discharge and used the GI Bill to enroll at USC. Despite discovering that he lacked a high-school diploma, the university allowed him to attend classes as a special student. But after three fulfilling years there, Buchwald learned that his government stipend could be used to study in Paris. He transferred almost immediately and found the City of Light much to his liking. In relatively short order, he gained employment as a Variety stringer and convinced a Herald Tribune editor to let him write a column for $25 a week. At the close of this memoir, he's typing "Paris After Dark" by Art Buchwald.... An often brutally frank account in which Buchwald reveals an affecting capacity for reflection without lapsing into pathos or losing the light touch that's gained him fame and fortune.The rest of the story can't come soon enough. (First serial to Parade)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449909720
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/17/1995
Edition description:
First Ballantine Book Edition
Pages:
254
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.71(d)

What People are saying about this

William Styron
A compelling memoir, told with Art Buckwald's inimitable drollery, but deepened by moments of poignancy and wise reflection. A brilliant self-portrait.
—(William Styron)
Ann Landers
Dear Readers: Have I got a treat for you! Art Buchwald has written a book about his life… I guarantee 254 pages of pure pleasure.
—(Ann Landers)

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