Michael C. Keith is the author of a number of books on the subject of broadcast media-radio in particular. A senior lecturer of communication at Boston College, his books include Voices in the Purple Haze, Sounds in the Dark, Signals in the Air, and Talking Radio. He is a former broadcaster and the past chair of education for the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
The Next Better Place: Memories of My Misspent Youthby Michael C. Keith Ph.D.
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In 1959, at the age of eleven, Michael Keith left a relatively stable life with his mother and sisters in Albany, New York, and surreptitiously set off for California with his irresponsible alcoholic father. For the rest of Michael's childhood, the two crisscrossed America, perpetually en route to someplace else. His memoir, told in the fresh, funny, world-wise voice of the young boy he once was, describes their bizarre encounters hitchhiking the nation's highways. In the rundown rooming houses and homeless missions where they hole up as Michael's father works odd jobs to make enough money for them to move on, or in the AA meetings they attend in every city for a decent doughnut, we glimpse a different America. Pushed onward by Michael's unceasing thirst for new adventures and his father's dreams of the next better place, the careworn twosome live far outside convention.
But despite their peculiar, often dysfunctional life, there is real love between this father and son, and they share the glorious freedom of the peripatetic life. That such happiness exists in a lonely marginal universe doesn't overshadow the fact that a Greyhound bus is the closest Michael comes to experiencing the idea of home. THE NEXT BETTER PLACE explores the fine line between wanderlust and compulsion, between running away and arriving, and leaves us with the understanding that the journey is often more powerful than the destination.
- Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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This is a wonderful book. 'A road trip with an alcoholic father and a child? Must be a downer,' you'd think. Not so. Never sliding into self-pity, the author just lays out a personal cross-country saga in mesmerizing detail. At times heartbreaking, this book is ultimately an inspirational story of survival by a child who deserved better. I've read a lot of travel narratives, and this is as good as they come.
This book has been a sleeper, so it is great to hear it may get wider attention in paperback. It deserves it.
Oh that feels sooo good. She wisper in his ear