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Ulysses

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Overview

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Considered the greatest 20th century novel written in English, in this edition Walter Gabler uncovers previously unseen text. It is a disillusioned study of estrangement, paralysis and the disintegration of society.

This revised volume follows the complete unabridged text as corrected in 1961. Contains the original foreword by the author and the historic court...

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All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

Considered the greatest 20th century novel written in English, in this edition Walter Gabler uncovers previously unseen text. It is a disillusioned study of estrangement, paralysis and the disintegration of society.

This revised volume follows the complete unabridged text as corrected in 1961. Contains the original foreword by the author and the historic court ruling to remove the federal ban. It also contains page references to the first American edition of 1934.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ulysses will immortalize its author with the same certainty that Gargantua immortalized Rabelais, and The Brothers Karamazov immortalized Dostoyevsky.... It comes nearer to being the perfect revelation of a personality than any book in existence."
-The New York Times

"To my mind one of the most significant and beautiful books of our time."
-Gilbert Seldes, in The Nation

"Talk about understanding "feminine psychology"— I have never read anything to surpass it, and I doubt if I have ever read anything to equal it."
-Arnold Bennett

"In the last pages of the book, Joyce soars to such rhapsodies of beauty as have probably never been equaled in English prose fiction."
-Edmund Wilson, in The New Republic

New York Times Book Review
Ulysses is the most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the twentieth century. . . It is likely that there is no one writing English today that could parallel Mr. Joyce's feat, and it is also likely that few would care to do it were it capable. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, May 1922
Matt Travers
The countless admirers of James Joyce and his awe-inspiring Ulysses will be delighted by the appearance of this magnificently faithful and lavishly produced twenty-first century edition.
—Matt Travers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679600114
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1992
  • Series: Modern Library of the World's Best Books Series
  • Edition description: Modern Library Edition
  • Pages: 816
  • Sales rank: 419,136
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.47 (d)

Meet the Author

James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 - 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Joyce was born into a middle-class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane "May" Murray in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was baptised in the nearby St Joseph's Church in Terenure on 5 February by Rev. John O'Mulloy. His godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann. He was the eldest of ten surviving children; two of his siblings died of typhoid. His father's family, originally from Fermoy in Cork, had once owned a small salt and lime works. Joyce's father and paternal grandfather both married into wealthy families, though the family's purported ancestor, Seán Mór Seoighe (fl. 1680) was a stonemason from Connemara. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector (i.e., a collector of local property taxes) by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin.

Biography

James Joyce was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. Nonetheless, he was educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, where he gave proof of his extraordinary talent.

In 1902, following his graduation, he went to Paris, thinking he might attend medical school there, but he soon gave up attending lectures and devoted himself to writing poems and prose sketches, and formulating an "aesthetic system'." Recalled to Dublin in April 1903 because of the fatal illness of his mother, he circled slowly towards his literary career. During the summer of 1904 he met a young woman from Galway, Nora Barnacle, and persuaded her to go with him to the Continent, where he planned to teach English.The young couple spent a few months in Pola (now in Yugoslavia), then in 1905 moved to Trieste, where, except for seven months in Rome and three trips to Dublin, they lived until June 1915. They had two children, a son and a daughter. His first book, the poems of Chamber Music, was published in London in 1907, and Dubliners, a book of stories, in 1914. Italy's entrance into the First World War obliged Joyce to move to Zürich, where he remained until 1919. During this period he published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Exiles, a play (1918).

After a brief return to Trieste following the armistice, Joyce determined to move to Paris so as to arrange more easily for the publication of Ulysses, a book which he had been working on since 1914. It was, in fact, published on his birthday in Paris, in 1922, and brought him international fame. The same year he began work on Finnegan's Wake, and though much harassed by eye troubles, and deeply affected by his daughter's mental illness, he completed and published that book in 1939. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he went to live in Unoccupied France, then managed to secure permission in December 1940 to return to Zürich. Joyce died there six weeks later, on 13 January 1941, and was buried in the Fluntern Cemetery.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 2, 1882
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      January 13, 1941
    2. Place of Death:
      Zurich, Switzerland
    1. Education:
      B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

STATELY, PLUMP Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

--Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

--Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful jesuit.

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

--Back to barracks, he said sternly.

He added in a preacher's tone:

--For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

--Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages. A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.

--The mockery of it, he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek.

He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck.

Buck Mulligan's gay voice went on.

--My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn't it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?

He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight, cried:

--Will he come? The jejune jesuit.

Ceasing, he began to shave with care.

--Tell me, Mulligan, Stephen said quietly.

--Yes, my love?

--How long is Haines going to stay in this tower? Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder.

--God, isn't he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you're not a gentleman. God, these bloody English. Bursting with money and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus; you have the real Oxford manner. He can't make you out. O, my name for you is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade.
He shaved warily over his chin.

--He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is his guncase?

--A woful lunatic, Mulligan said. Were you in a funk?

--I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark with a man I don't know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther. You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however. If he stays on here I am off.

Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily.

--Scutter, he cried thickly.

He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen's upper pocket, said:

--Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.

Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly. Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said:

--The bard's noserag. A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen. You can almost taste it, can't you?

He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair oakpale hair stirring slightly.--
----
--God, he said quietly. Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks. I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look.

Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbour mouth of Kingstown.

--Our mighty mother, Buck Mulligan said.

He turned abruptly his great searching eyes from the sea to Stephen's face.

--The aunt thinks you killed your mother, he said. That's why she won't let me have anything to do with you.

--Someone killed her, Stephen said gloomily.

--You could have knelt down, damn it, Kinch, when your dying mother asked you, Buck Mulligan said. I'm hyperborean as much as you. But to think of your mother begging you with her last breath to kneel down and pray for her. And you refused. There is something sinister in you . . .

He broke off and lathered again lightly his farther cheek. A tolerant smile curled his lips.

--But a lovely mummer, he murmured to himself. Kinch, the loveliest mummer of them all.

He shaved evenly and with care, in silence, seriously.

Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown grave-clothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.
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Introduction

The 100 Best English Language Novels of the Century

"We tried to pick books that were of great merit and proven over time." -- Christopher Cerf, chairman of the Modern Library Editorial Board

On Monday, July 20th, the editorial board of the Modern Library released a list of the 100 best English-language novels of the century. Topping the list was Ulysses, the unique, original novel that recounts a day in the lives of a group of Dubliners. The same book that was banned in the United States from 1920 to 1933 for obscenity now tops the list of novels written in English in this century, followed in descending order by The Great Gatsby, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Lolita, and Brave New World.

The editorial board that created this list comprised Christopher Cerf, Gore Vidal, Daniel J. Boorstin, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, A. S. Byatt, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., and William Styron. The top five novels originally tied for first place, all selected by nine out of ten editorial board members. Then, in another vote, the board members listed the books in order, resulting in the conclusive top five.

All the judges agreed that Ulysses was deserving of the rank of top book of the century. James Joyce was a brilliant author who, many think, ignited modern literature much as Picasso ignited 20th-century art. Joyce spent seven years working on this novel, as evidenced in his masterful prose. But is it the best English-language novel of the 20th century? Why are there only eight women on the list of 100? Is Catcher In the Rye really the 64th best novel of our century?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 188 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(104)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(10)

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(24)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 191 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    Proof of Joyce's ingenuity

    What people don't understand when reading Joyce's Ulysses- is that it is not so much the plot of the book that is important but way the book is written; people claim that it's boring. It is complicated but that is what makes the book the third most researched piece of literature...right behind Shakespeare's work and the bible. That alone says a lot about the work. The complicatedness was intentional. Joyce is a genius and this proves it. How many authors can claim they've parodied the greatest figures in literature--Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, and the bible? Does anyone realize that each chapter is written from a different character's point of view, each chapter is written in a different style, each chapter's is written to follow Homer's Oddyssey?<BR/><BR/>Ulysses is not made for people who want to sit back and just read and not think. It is not made to entertain people. It is written for people who APPRECIATE LITERATURE.

    27 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well worth the effort

    A first reading of Ulysses can be daunting, if not downright frustrating. Take it in bite-sized chunks and keep an excellent description (such as The New Bloomsday Book by Blamires) by your side and you'll be on your way. A previous reading of The Odyssey, though useful, is by no means required, as Joyce draws on myriad sources in addition to Homer.

    Subsequent readings will come much more easily and reveal a mastery of the language that cannot be compared to any other book or author. Once you get the hang of it, you'll realize it isn't nearly as opaque (or pretentious) as it's made out to be. It's actually laugh out loud funny in many places.

    Even better, find an audio version of the book or read it aloud (especially the Penelope chapter -- the last in the book). It's a book to be heard as well as read.

    Also, there are DVDs of a walking tour of Joyce's Dublin that I found enormously useful in adding context to the book -- the city is itself a character.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    Beware of the Perfection.

    This IS the greatest and best book ever written, but casual readers beware, it is also the most difficult to read book ever written.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2004

    well, what is there to say?

    This IS a great novel--probably the high-water mark of the art form. Brilliant by any measure, it caries so many layers of meaning that one feels like Krishna's mother, when she saw all the universe in her son's open mouth.... Tenzing--I strongly suggest you consult one of the excellent works that break down some of the stickier themes in Ulysses. My favorites are Joseph Campbell's Mythic Worlds Modern Words (which has an amazing section on that very weird word, CONTRASMAGNIFICANJEWELBANGTANTIABILITY, along with much else); and Blamire's wonderful Bloomsday Book, which I think came out in a revised edition a few years back.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Do not get the New Century Books edition

    It is not formatted at all, just blocks of text and dialogue with no spacing between. It's already a tough read without trying to figure what is being narrated and what the characters are saying. Do not buy the New Century Books edition. This was my first e-book purchase and I am totally disappointed. I am obviously going to have to spend more time previewing copies if just anyone can publish an e-book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2008

    Not getting it.

    I've tried, but I have not been able to finish this. It's not easy reading, so it may just be that it requires longer spans of reading time than I am willing to give.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2000

    Huge, puzzling, fantastic

    Most readers probably won't be able to approach this famous novel without some outside aid, but don't let that deter you. I've read parts of it many times and still haven't any idea what the central theme is supposed to be, yet it remains a fascinating work. The book is less about plot and character as it is about the creative use of language - stream-of-consciousness, changing narrators, parodies and other rhetorical devices are some of the techniques Joyce uses to the fullest. This is one of those rare books that can be read over and over and something new understood each time. For that alone, I recommend this to curious readers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2000

    New insights bloom with each read

    I have to confess to being torn concerning this book labeled by many as the best of the 20th Century. I can appreciate the achievement: paralleling Homer with each chapter while employing just about every literary device available is to be commended. Bloom is truly a creation fit for modern literature. On the other hand, I get the feeling Joyce is toying with me as I read, flaunting his genius. Perhaps he has licence to do so. When a book is able to generate such potent responses, it is great. Several readings are needed to appreciate this book. My professor in Joyce seminar poured over this book for years and found new insights each time. The Cliff's Notes to Ulysses are not very good. For a better reading aid, opt for the Bloomsday Book instead (yes, you will need an aid of some sort).

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2010

    Do not buy this book -- there are errors in text

    While skimming this book a few minutes after buying it, I found two errors in the text: a misspelled word on one page and a paragraph accidentally repeated on another. A line-by-line comparison would probably find many more.

    This kind of sloppiness might be acceptable in some cheap digital reprints, but not in a book like Ulysses, whose precise wording is an important part of its meaning. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble offers multiple versions of Ulysses for the Nook but tells you nothing about how they were prepared, so the other versions might be just as bad. But definitely don't buy this one.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    20th century best novel

    It is the best novel but also the most demanding one. In order to properly read it it took me four months and a course in Columbia University but every single minute I´ve spend with it couldnt be more intense and fruitfull. It takes a lot of work but the reward is inmense. Now I'm reading finnegans wake and each page is so full with connections, references, etc.. that it will take me at least 4 or 5 months, I can wait!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    A Book for Healthy Minds Only

    Carl Jung 'diagnosed' this book as 'schizoid,' and it's a fact that Joyce's daughter Lucia had the disease schizophrenia. I studied this disordered work fifteen years ago as a senior in college, and two years later I had my initial episode of the dreaded mental illness schizophrenia. I believe that my illness would have happened anyway - but, just in case, I would strongly caution those who are already diagnosed away from not only _Ulysses_ but also _Finnegan_ and anything by Ezra Pound (especially _The Cantos_). I love the fact that Joyce rips anti-Semitism to shreds in _Ulysses_, but the schizoid language in places is just too much for me and I suppose others like me to handle. If you do get an overdose of Joyce, a pretty down-to-earth antidote is Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2002

    Well worth the initial confusion

    Ulysees can be a bit inaccessible at times but well worth the initial confusion. Perhaps the finest work of modernist literature I have read, Joyce's stream of consciousness technique is often imitated but has never been equaled. I WOULD however, suggest reading Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man BEFORE tackling this difficult work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    My son and I are reading Joyces' Ulysses.  Superb experience!  O

    My son and I are reading Joyces' Ulysses.  Superb experience!  Oct 15, 2008 review is spot-on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2012

    Tour de Force

    I read this book twice, and it still stands out in my mind as the most creative use of English in the history of the language. Taking the plot of a classic work is not unique, the way it was executed in this book was. Ulysses doesn't explore any of the great secrets of life. It doesn't seek to take on some great social issue. It is just a great work of art. It is difficult to understand, but with such an ambitious work this is no surprise. Any fan of English literature needs to read this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Bad

    Extremely bad edition. No desire to read after looking at it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    Not worth reading

    I in good faith tried to read this book and did. What I encountered was nonsensical rambling. What's great about this book is beyond me. Just another in a series of overrated books that pretentious snobs will drool over while other people who look for literary value and a good story will throw the book in the fireplace to get some worth out fo it.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Mediocre

    The story is boring and not very exciting. The audiobook feels rushed, like there's a race to finish. The authors commentary at the end is especially nauseating, he goes on and on about how great his book is and how much everybody loves it. There are so many really great books out there I wouldn't waste my time on this one.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2014

    VicMars

    Ok. I think we'll be back. Bye Dad! Guys, say bye to your parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2014

    Payton to Zeus

    Bye dad. And remember.... my name is payton:)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2014

    Nathan

    Bye Mom!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 191 Customer Reviews

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