Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia

Overview

From the author of Iron & Silk comes a charming and frequently uproarious account of an American adolescence in the age of Bruce Lee, Ozzy Osborne, and Kung Fu. As Salzman recalls coming of age with one foot in Connecticut and the other in China (he wanted to become a wandering Zen monk), he tells the story of a teenager trying to attain enlightenment before he's learned to drive.
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Lost In Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia

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Overview

From the author of Iron & Silk comes a charming and frequently uproarious account of an American adolescence in the age of Bruce Lee, Ozzy Osborne, and Kung Fu. As Salzman recalls coming of age with one foot in Connecticut and the other in China (he wanted to become a wandering Zen monk), he tells the story of a teenager trying to attain enlightenment before he's learned to drive.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Salzman's memoir of his Connecticut childhood tells of his early adolescent devotion to Zen and Kung Fu. (July)
Library Journal
Salzman (The Soloist, LJ 10/15/93) pens the memoir of the childhood and adolescence of an unconventional person growing up in a conventional family in a conventional suburban neighborhood. His refreshing, readable story follows the narrator through a number of unusual experiences as he tries kung-fu, Chinese art and language, Zen writings, playing classical and jazz cello, Indian music, and marijuana. He uses these experiences and the many people he meets to seek the answers to the ultimate questions of life. He finally comes to grips with the idea that no one he has met nor any of his consciousness-raising experiences has been able to provide him with the ultimate answers. He does learn that people seem to be able to live happily with the knowledge that some answers are unattainable. In the end, he is even able to accept his curmudgeonly father, to whom he dedicated the book. The reader will smile and nod in agreement at these wonderful descriptions. Recommended for all public libraries.David Schau, Kanawha Cty. P.L., Charleston, W.Va.
School Library Journal
YA-As a youth, Salzman was remarkably self-directed and came from a loving and supportive family. At 13, he saw his first kung fu movie with actor Bruce Lee and decided on the spot to become a ``wandering Zen monk.'' His parents allowed him the freedom to pursue this new interest. After much meditating and practicing at home, he enrolled in a martial-arts school. Soon the boy's interest in Asian philosophy and mysticism led him to study the Chinese language, which in turn led to practicing and learning the art of Chinese brush painting. All of these interests are described as adventures, some of which are frightening; others are simply wonderful fun. All are interesting. Readers come away from this memoir refreshed and inspired by this young person's quest to become ``someone'' and to discover himself. This very different journey through adolescence is a delight to read, and is one that many YAs will relate to and enjoy.-Helen Lazar, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679767787
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 635,185
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.58 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2003

    Captivating and Funny

    I dreaded my assignment to read Lost in Place for my college English class because I thought reading about a young boy who loves kung fu wouldn¿t be interesting, but I surprisingly could not put the book down. Mark Salzman humorously describes his coming of age. Even though my experiences are completely different than his, I still identify with his struggle to 'find himself' and 'understand life'. The book doesn't attempt to offer any concrete answers about the meaning of life, but it encouraged me to think about life and what direction I am headed in. Salzman's description of his youth is captivating and although mostly serious and sometimes depressing, it made me laugh out loud at times. Lost in Place is a book I believe many people can relate to in one way or another, even despite differing life experiences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    A great read that everyone can identify with

    This book was a joy from start to finish. It took you on an emotional roller-coaster ride with the the many misadventures that encompassed the authors life as he grew up in the 70's in a small suburb in Connecticut. In his quest to discover who he really is in life, and what life is really all about. He begins by wishing to become a wandering zen monk and ends up as a young man who realizes that life is never perfect no matter how you wish to envision your future. Simply put this book touches a chord in every person that takes the oppurtunity to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    Awkward Youth

    This story about Mark Salzman is unique. He writes about his many troubles on his quest for enlightenment. Although most readers have probably never particpated in the sport of Kung Fu, been accepted to an ivy league school, or longed to be a master cellist there are many ways to connect this story to one's life. Salzman's relationsjip with his dad, the way he does things to appease others identity of him, and just the general coming of age story are just three of the ways a wide range of readers can relate. This book is maybe a bit more pessimistic than i prefer, but it is non fiction. On that i believe it has right to be a little down. A good book for anyone who likes to read between the lines.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2003

    adolescent masterpiece

    Salzman paints an illustrative and enticing portrait of the challenges and triumphs of his unusual journey to adulthood. Maturity and knowledge are gained with experience, as Salzman demonstrates with pzazz. He thrusts the reader into his shoes as each intimate and important revealing moment is brought to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever doubted themselves and the direction their life is headed. I couldn't put this book down once I started, it is ever bit as intriguing as it is relevant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2001

    A truly inspiring and unusualy ironic self-deconstruction

    A truly inspiring and unusualy ironic self-deconstruction. Salzman really taps into some basic human needs and revelations people young and old come to during their lives. We have and are all experienceing everyday the quests of the adolescence he describe. But his witty and often bitting analysis combined with childish idealism and hope presents a great opportunity for the reader to join in on the descoveries. Salzman does not pretend to be creating a masterpiece or even making a novel approach to a search for Zen-like appreciation for life in the cynicism of our world. But he ends up with a very warm memoire that makes the pages fly by in mear hours. Absolutely wonderful for light, late night contemplation!

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