An American Childhood

Narrated by:
Tavia Gilbert

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2011
8 hours 27 minutes
A memoir about parents, the world of science, and consciousness

A book that instantly captured the hearts of readers across the country, An American Childhood is Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard’s poignant, vivid memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s.

“Dillard’s luminous prose painlessly captures the pain of growing up in this wonderful evocation of childhood. Her memoir is partly a hymn to Pittsburgh, where orange streetcars ran on Penn Avenue in 1953 when she was eight, and where the Pirates were always in the cellar. Dillard’s mother, an unstoppable force, had energies too vast for the bridge games and household chores that stymied her. Her father made low-budget horror movies, loved Dixieland jazz, told endless jokes and sight-gags, and took lonesome river trips down to New Orleans to get away. From this slightly odd couple, Dillard acquired her love of nature and taut sensitivity.”—Publishers Weekly
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susan burns

After reading the stunning reviews about this book, I couldn't wait read it, but... Let me tell you, I do not understand why publishers choose the things they do to release to avid memoir-devourers like myself. Why this one, with few if any, interesting anecdotes. Why is it described as 'hilarious' and 'magnificent'? It makes me feel, as I have in the past, that the authors write their own reviews, or pay someone to put up favorable commentary on things that are extremely boring. Compare this to 'The Glass Castle', 'The End of the World as We Know it', or some of Sedaris' or Augusten Burroughs' work, and you may see what I mean. Yes, Dillard is observant, yes, she tends to have the ability to remember and analyze practically everything that her parents did or said, but, as her family wasn't even remotely interesting, the eidetic woman ends up boring us to tears. There are so many talented authors out there with manuscripts that we will never see due to the inner workings of what is apparently a complex pecking order of the most obscure kind. If this book improves greatly after an hour and 50 minutes, please let me know, otherwise I am stopping my ipod as of this dot. (.)

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