The idea is to write about some favorite books
that you read before you started blogging!
Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters
by Jean Shepard
The Book Description
Amazon.com Review: For that small but populous slice of the world reachable by radio station WOR (New York City and environs), Jean Shepherd was once a nightly fixture, back in the days when radio talk didn’t shock. On the air, he would tell tales of his Indiana boyhood, which he eventually refined enough to write down. Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories collects the stories that first appeared in magazines in the 1960s and ’70s. For that slightly larger slice of the world that has seen the hysterical 1983 movie A Christmas Story, the book’s characters and setting will be instantly recognizable: the film was cobbled together from Shepherd’s stories. (One thing you have to say for the man, not only was he funny, but boy, could he recycle.)
Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories guides you through every triumph and crisis of Shepherd’s boyhood. One of the most entertaining involved the hijacking of the family’s precious Easter ham:
The kitchen door flew open. It had been left ajar just a crack to let the air come in to cool the ham.
I rushed to the kitchen just in time to see 4,293 blue-ticked Bumpus hounds roar through the screen door in a great, roiling mob. The leader of the pack–the one that almost got my old man every day–leaped high onto the table and grabbed the butt end of the ham in his enormous jaws. They were in and out in less than five seconds.
“HOLY CHRIST!” The old man leaped out of his chair.
“THE HAM! THE HAM! THOSE GODDAMN DOGS! THE HAM!!”
They say comedy is tragedy plus time; that’s why growing up is so funny. Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories–like its author–never disappoints.
What I Say
This was a book my father turned me on to when I was a child. He was a huge fan of Jean Shepard’s radio show and thought the books were hilarious. When I read them, I thought they were hilarious too. I think the Amazon.com review does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of the book. These are stories from a happy (if accident-prone) childhood in the American Midwest. The stories are about simple things — a first date, a county fair, the neighbors next door, a family vacation — but in Shepard’s hands, the ordinary events of childhood are turned into tall tales of comic mischief, amazing feats of cowardice and a memorably foul-mouthed father. A most enjoyable, hilarious read that will have you smiling, laughing and snorting throughout.
A Brief Note About Covers Used In These Posts: For the cover at the top of the post, I always try to find the cover that I remember the book having because it is this version that I feel the most attached to. Unfortunately, many of these books are not available with these covers anymore, which kind of makes me sad. Whenever I create my Amazon link, I’m often saddened to find that “my cover” isn’t available. Do you ever feel this way about books you’ve enjoyed?