My Old Neighborhood Remembered: A Memoir

My Old Neighborhood Remembered: A Memoir

by Avery Corman
     
 

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My Old Neighborhood Rememberedis a lyrical remembrance of neighborhood life that has vanished from the culture.

Best-selling author Avery Corman vividly recreates the vibrant, colorful neighborhood where he grew up – in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s. He recalls candy stores and bookmakers, egg creams and double feature movies, street games like stickball

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Overview

My Old Neighborhood Rememberedis a lyrical remembrance of neighborhood life that has vanished from the culture.

Best-selling author Avery Corman vividly recreates the vibrant, colorful neighborhood where he grew up – in the Bronx of the 1940s and 1950s. He recalls candy stores and bookmakers, egg creams and double feature movies, street games like stickball and Johnny- on-the-pony, school days of a different era, social mores that have disappeared.

His was the generation of children of the home front during World War II, and he recounts how the war was embedded in daily life, and how children became literate through newspaper coverage of the war, and through Dick and Jane and comic books. He remembers in his neighborhood a deep sense of community and shared experience.

My Old Neighborhood Rememberedis a memoir that is urban history. Featured are 16 vintage photographs.Avery Corman also discusses the factors that altered the Bronx, in a decline that was particularly rapid and vast, before the area began to rebuild.

As the author ofKramer vs. Kramer, a common assumption has been that Avery Corman was himself divorced; he was not. He was, however, a child of divorce at a time and place when divorce was rare, an experience woven through the narrative.

My Old Neighborhood Rememberedis told with the storytelling skills that have made Avery Corman a critically acclaimed author whose books have been published throughout the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Avery Corman delighted us with his novel, The Old Neighborhood, and now he brings the
Bronx alive again in a memoir. This is a poignant and evocative book filled with lessons for today. It will strike a chord in you wherever you may have grown up.”
-Walter Isaacson, author of the # 1 bestseller, Steve Jobs

“Avery Corman has written a lyrical ode to another New York, a time when stickball and punchball and hanging out on stoops and drinking egg creams filled out afternoons, a city where people had an embracing sense of community. Reading this book is like gathering around a warm fire to hear tales spun by a master storyteller.”
—Ken Auletta, author and New Yorker magazine writer:

Walter Isaacson
Avery Corman delighted us with his novel, The Old Neighborhood, and now he brings the
Bronx alive again in a memoir. This is a poignant and evocative book filled with lessons for today. It will strike a chord in you wherever you may have grown up.

Ken Auletta
Avery Corman has written a lyrical ode to another New York, a time when stickball and punchball and hanging out on stoops and drinking egg creams filled out afternoons, a city where people had an embracing sense of community. Reading this book is like gathering around a warm fire to hear tales spun by a master storyteller.
Library Journal
06/15/2014
During the 1940s and 1950s, the Bronx, especially the Grand Concourse and its neighboring streets, became a destination for upwardly mobile New Yorkers from Manhattan's Lower East Side and the east side of the Bronx. In this memoir, Corman (Kramer vs. Kramer; The Old Neighborhood) reminisces about his early years there as the child of a divorced mother living with his deaf aunt and uncle. Despite his unusual family situation, the author's boyhood featured trips to the movies, baseball games at Yankee stadium, and candy stores, which were everywhere. In those days before the blight of the 1960s, elegant Art Deco buildings lined the Grand Concourse and children were safe in the borough's neighborhoods. Corman's account tells the story of the Bronx as well as of growing up Jewish in that era. Trying to break into advertising after taking a two-year business course, he discovered that none of the large firms hired Jews, a difficult realization for an ambitious young man. VERDICT An enjoyable book for memoir fans and readers interested in the New York City of an earlier time.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-14
Corman (The Boyfriend from Hell, 2006, etc.) returns to the place he fictionalized in The Old Neighborhood (1980) in this affectionate recollection of his youth.In the 1940s and '50s, the Bronx was a safe, diverse and vibrant community. In short chapters, each just a few pages long, the author reminiscences about playing stickball and basketball, rooting for baseball teams, spending long afternoons at one of the neighborhood's many movie houses, reading comic books in the local candy store, visiting the zoo, trying to learn to ice skate with a friend who wanted to impress a girl, and going to school. Corman was a middling student, good in English and history, struggling in math and science. He recalls with resentment the heartlessness of a few teachers. Although there is a generic quality to many of his recollections, his family life was far from ordinary: His father had abandoned him, his mother and sister when Corman was 5, and he was told while growing up that he was dead. Much later, his mother confessed the truth—that his father had failed financially, run off in shame and even pleaded with his mother to join him when he landed a job in the South. But she refused, and the couple divorced. Corman and his family lived with his aunt and uncle, who were deaf mutes. With no special interests or talents, the author decided to get a business degree with the goal of working in advertising. When he realized that the advertising industry would not hire a Jew from the Bronx, he turned to business writing and then to writing scripts for an educational film company. With the encouragement of a friend, he also worked on his first novel, Oh God!, which he published in 1971.In 1988, Corman contributed an essay to the New York Times Magazine on his Bronx neighborhood, which he reprints here. Lively and concise, it contrasts with the bland and fragmented quality of the rest of the memoir.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569805183
Publisher:
Barricade Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/10/2014
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
355,602
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Associated Press Staff
Before Brooklyn became a hipster haven with pricey real estate and the Bronx became the poster child for urban blight, neighborhood life in those outer boroughs was pretty much the same.
That's the recollection of Avery Corman, who grew up in the Bronx during the 1940s and '50s and went on to write novels that became the basis for the hit movies "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Oh God!" In a later novel,
"The Old Neighborhood," the hard-driving protagonist reconnects with his childhood neighborhood in the Bronx, rediscovers his roots and finds inner peace and contentment.
Now Corman has returned to that same nostalgia-laden turf, this time with a charming and lyrical memoir, "My Old Neighborhood Remembered," about his Bronx boyhood in a nontraditional working-class household with a divorced mother, an older sister, and an aunt and uncle, both of them deaf mutes.

People tend to romanticize their childhood, but the post-World War II Bronx was a time and place that conveyed a sense of community and vitality to those who grew up there. Many have moved on but still carry fond memories that Corman's quick read is sure to evoke. His anecdotes and reminiscences are likely to resonate most strongly with fellow Bronxites, but readers unfamiliar with the world of his childhood are sure to be charmed and entertained by this delightful account of city life more than a half-century ago.

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Meet the Author

Avery Corman is the author of the novels Kramer vs. Kramer, Oh, God!, The Bust-Out King, The Old Neighborhood, 50, Prized Possessions, The Big Hype, A Perfect Divorce, The Boyfriend from Hell. He has also written non-fiction for many publications, including numerous articles for the New York Times. He lives in Fort Lee, N.J.

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