Tales from a Free-Range Childhood

( 3 )

Overview

In his first new book in six years, renowned storyteller Donald Davis returns to his recollections of growing up in the southern Appalachians.

The twenty chronologically arranged stories in Tales from a Free-Range Childhood follow Davis from his early years terrorizing his younger brother, Joe, through his teenage travails of getting braces and discovering he isn't quite man enough for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

Readers will cringe as Davis ...

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Overview

In his first new book in six years, renowned storyteller Donald Davis returns to his recollections of growing up in the southern Appalachians.

The twenty chronologically arranged stories in Tales from a Free-Range Childhood follow Davis from his early years terrorizing his younger brother, Joe, through his teenage travails of getting braces and discovering he isn't quite man enough for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

Readers will cringe as Davis gives Joe's naturally curly, "wasted-on-a-boy" hair its first cut. They'll laugh as he and his second-grade classmates petition the school board to reestablish paddling as their preferred form of punishment, instead of the new policy of "suspension." They'll relive their own memories as Davis falls under the sway of a would-be Elvis in "The Ducktail." They'll appreciate the sleight of hand as he and his mischievous father parlay a blown engine into a considerable upgrade in "The New Old Car."

Donald Davis's stories have been described as "absolutely hilarious and unpredictable as well as emotionally reviving." This new collection reaffirms why he is considered by many to be the father of the family tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Cart
"Former Methodist minister Davis became a full-time storyteller in 1989. Now a fixture at national storytelling conferences, he grew up in southern Appalachia, where storytelling is more than a tradition - it's a way of life. In this collection of 20 stories, he recalls growing up there with his younger brother, Joe. These nostalgic tales are filled with the stuff of fondly remembered boyhood, from braces to broken bones, from enforced babysitting to trips to the grandparents' farm. There's a li
Kirkus Reviews

One rural boy's misadventures with his younger brother in the foothills of Appalachia.

Storyteller Davis conjures humorous tales from his boyhood, packaging them in memoir form. The author's humor often takes on a grandfatherly tone—innocent and innocuous—allowing an older generation of readers to ease into a comfortable nostalgia, and his stories unapologetically sentimental. In "Too Much Hair," older brother Donald tricks his brother Joe into receiving an amateur haircut, though the boys' father soon intercedes on his youngest son's behalf, offering Donald his own amateur haircut as retribution for his crimes. Similarly, in "Responsible," Donald and Joe become addicted to a wrestling show, though their attempts to emulate the burly men leave them far more damaged than the performers on the screen. "Golf Tees" serves as a third example of tough lessons learned. After a 6-year-old Donald thoughtlessly swipes golf tees from a local store, his mother forces him to face the manager and own up to his mistakes. But when his mother realizes that her son's behavior will reflect poorly on her, she alters her allegiance, becoming his partner in crime by distracting the store's employees while her son returns the tees to their rightful place. Davis relies heavily on punch lines delivered from the mouths of babes, offering a collection of homespun stories that will undoubtedly appeal most to those who can relate to growing up in the 1940s and '50s. While Donald and Joe share center stage, perhaps the collection's star is their father, a judicious man often forced into the roles of judge, jury and executioner as he wades through his sons' harmless disputes.

An overdramatic, occasionally clichéd recounting of a childhood in rural America.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895875099
  • Publisher: Blair, John F. Publisher
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 820,787
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Davis grew up near Waynesville, North Carolina, before attending Davidson College. After earning a B.A. in English there, he graduated from Duke University Divinity School. For over 20 years, he was a minister in the United Methodist Church. In 1989, he became a full-time storyteller. He now tours the country 10 months a year, making approximately 300 storytelling presentations annually.<br> He is a regular headliner at the 37-year-old National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and at the 21-year-old Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah—the largest such festival in the West, attracting over 25,000 people. In Orem and on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, he conducts special week-long workshops on the creation and performance of personal and family stories. His workshops were the subject of a documentary film that premiered on public television in Utah in August 2010.<br> He has been a featured storyteller at the Smithsonian Institution and the World’s Fair and a guest host for National Public Radio’s Good Evening program. He was selected for the “Circle of Excellence” by the National Storytelling Association and served as the chairman of the board of the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling for six years.<br> When he’s not traveling, he makes his home on Ocracoke Island.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note 1

1 Watch the Baby 3

2 Too Much Hair 13

3 Golf Tees 21

4 Go Look It Up! 29

5 Little Critters 38

6 Boys Are Smarter? 50

7 The Little Rat 59

8 Responsible 72

9 "Watch Where You Step!" 83

10 Pimento Cheese 91

11 Something up Her Sleeve 99

12 The Octopus 112

13 Nothing Works But Her Mouth 124

14 Broken Bones 139

15 Two Red Coats 152

16 The Last Whooping 161

17 The Ducktail 176

18 Braces 188

19 The New Old Car 203

20 Irrational Fear 222

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    This is a WONDERFUL book! I grew up in the same home town, and I

    This is a WONDERFUL book! I grew up in the same home town, and I laughed and cried as I read this book. Donald Davis is a marvelous storyteller who makes his stories come alive. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Really Good!

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Easy to relate to if you are of the "baby boomer" generation. Donald Davis writing also crosses generations. Good book, a "must read".

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    Great read by a great storyteller

    Really enjoyed these stories and often laughed out loud! Can't believe Donald Davis actually survived his childhood. He sure has a way with words and is a great storyteller!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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