Tales from a Free-Range Childhood

Tales from a Free-Range Childhood

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by Donald Davis
     
 

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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

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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

Booklist - 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:
03/01/2011
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
924,355
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

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