Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional

by Isaac Fitzgerald
Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional

by Isaac Fitzgerald


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Notes From Your Bookseller

An extraordinary memoir of a bruised child become a lost young man, looking for "home," emerging through the maelstrom of family missteps, finding that the people who hurt and the people who heal are often one in the same. Easy to sink wholly into the language — hard-edged and resonant, funny, tender, and a tad rough — with distant echoes of This Boy’s Life and Empire Falls.

Winner of the New England Book Award for Nonfiction
Winner of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Book of the Year

“The best of what memoir can accomplish... pulling no punches on the path to truth, but it always finds the capacity for grace and joy.” –Esquire, "Best Memoirs of the Year"

A TIME Must-Read Book of the Year * A Rolling Stone Top Culture Pick * A Publishers Weekly Best Memoir of the Season * A Buzzfeed Book Pick * A Goodreads Readers' Most Anticipated Book * A Chicago Tribune Book Pick * A Boston.com Book You Should Read * A Los Angeles Times Book to Add to Your Reading List

Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives-or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self.

Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.

Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781639731640
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 11/07/2023
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 64,214
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Isaac Fitzgerald appears frequently on The Today Show and is the author of the bestselling children's book How to Be a Pirate as well as the co-author of Pen & Ink and Knives & Ink (winner of an IACP Award). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

Family Stories 11

Forgive Me 27

Confessions of a Former Former Fat Kid 62

The True Story of My Teenage Fight Club 74

Dirtbag, Massachusetts 89

Hold Steady 116

Home 138

Maybe I Could Die This Way 173

The Armory 236

High for the Holidays 270

When Your Barber Assumes You're a Racist, Too 280

My Story 306

Acknowledgments 335

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