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I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2015
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Description

From one of the most ferociously brilliant and distinctive young voices in literary nonfiction: a debut shot through with violence, comedy, and feverish intensity that takes us on an odyssey into an American netherworld, exposing a raw personal journey along the way.

Locked in battle with both his adult appetites and his most private childhood demons, Kent Russell hungers for immersive experience and revelation, and his essays take us to society’s ragged edges, the junctures between savagery and civilization. He pitches a tent at an annual four-day music festival in Illinois, among the misunderstood, thick-as-thieves fans who self-identify as Juggalos. He treks to the end of the continent to visit a legendary hockey enforcer, the granddaddy of all tough guys, to see how he’s preparing for his last foe: obsolescence. He spends a long weekend getting drunk with a self-immunizer who is willing to prove he has conditioned his body to withstand the bites of the most venomous snakes. He insinuates himself with a modern-day Robinson Crusoe on a tiny atoll off the coast of Australia. He explores the Amish obsession with baseball, and his own obsession with horror, blood, and guts. And in the piercing interstitial meditations between these essays, Russell introduces us to his own raging and inimitable forebears.

I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son, blistering and deeply personal, records Russell’s quest to understand, through his journalistic subjects, his own appetites and urges, his persistent alienation, and, above all, his knotty, volatile, vital relationship with his father. In a narrative that can be read as both a magnificent act of literary mythmaking and a howl of filial despair, Russell gives us a haunting and unforgettable portrait of an America—and a paradigm of American malehood—we have never before seen.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/10/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385352314
ASIN:
B00N6PCX74
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kent Russell. (2015). I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kent Russell. 2015. I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kent Russell, I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kent Russell. I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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From one of the most ferociously brilliant and distinctive young voices in literary nonfiction: a debut shot through with violence, comedy, and feverish intensity that takes us on an odyssey into an American netherworld, exposing a raw personal journey along the way.

Locked in battle with both his adult appetites and his most private childhood demons, Kent Russell hungers for immersive experience and revelation, and his essays take us to society’s ragged edges, the junctures between savagery and civilization. He pitches a tent at an annual four-day music festival in Illinois, among the misunderstood, thick-as-thieves fans who self-identify as Juggalos. He treks to the end of the continent to visit a legendary hockey enforcer, the granddaddy of all tough guys, to see how he’s preparing for his last foe: obsolescence. He spends a long weekend getting drunk with a self-immunizer who is willing to prove he has conditioned his body to withstand the bites of the...

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I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son
fullDescription

From one of the most ferociously brilliant and distinctive young voices in literary nonfiction: a debut shot through with violence, comedy, and feverish intensity that takes us on an odyssey into an American netherworld, exposing a raw personal journey along the way.

Locked in battle with both his adult appetites and his most private childhood demons, Kent Russell hungers for immersive experience and revelation, and his essays take us to society’s ragged edges, the junctures between savagery and civilization. He pitches a tent at an annual four-day music festival in Illinois, among the misunderstood, thick-as-thieves fans who self-identify as Juggalos. He treks to the end of the continent to visit a legendary hockey enforcer, the granddaddy of all tough guys, to see how he’s preparing for his last foe: obsolescence. He spends a long weekend getting drunk with a self-immunizer who is willing to prove he has conditioned his body to withstand the bites of the most venomous snakes. He insinuates himself with a modern-day Robinson Crusoe on a tiny atoll off the coast of Australia. He explores the Amish obsession with baseball, and his own obsession with horror, blood, and guts. And in the piercing interstitial meditations between these essays, Russell introduces us to his own raging and inimitable forebears.

I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son, blistering and deeply personal, records Russell’s quest to understand, through his journalistic subjects, his own appetites and urges, his persistent alienation, and, above all, his knotty, volatile, vital relationship with his father. In a narrative that can be read as both a magnificent act of literary mythmaking and a howl of filial despair, Russell gives us a haunting and unforgettable portrait of an America—and a paradigm of American malehood—we have never before seen.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Ben Greenman, The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A book of essays can be a constellation. Individual pieces shine like stars, but to see the whole project as a unified thing requires a mythology. You need faith to make out a shape around all those dots of light, to believe in the bear or the swan. The possibility of that kind of faith hovers profitably around the edges of Kent Russell's debut,"
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: "An exhilarating collection of essays...Russell writes in an endearing voice that can be at once wryly observant and objectively fair...What's most impressive about this collection is the way the disparate essays cohere into a memoir-like whole."
      • premium: False
      • source: Paste
      • content: "The comparison will inevitably be made, so let's go ahead and just make it: there is certainly a bit of David Foster Wallace in Kent Russell, most certainly in the feeling that you are reading a beautiful, intricate mind."
      • premium: False
      • source: Vanity Fair
      • content: "A ludicrously smart, tragicomic man-on-the-edge memoir in essays."
      • premium: False
      • source: Catherine Carberry, The Rumpus
      • content: "He throws himself at their mercy, he fights for them, he admires their power, he jabs at their soft spots, he flees, he circles back. Russell's compassion for his subjects is not blind, and he doesn't tread lightly, but he sees them as part of his crew, and he protects them with a ferocity and camaraderie that would make anyone want Russell in their corner."
      • premium: False
      • source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
      • content: "At times playful and at times serious, these essays explore the author's relationship with his father as well as masculine archetypes across the U.S. What do hockey goons and Amish baseball players have in common? What about horror films and the Insane Clown Posse? Tours of duty in Afghanistan and Daniel Boone? At a glance, these subjects are disparate and oddly matched. But in the capable hands of Kent Russell, they merge to create a portrait of contemporary American masculinity that is brazen and bleak, strange and often hilarious."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
      • content: "Kent Russell's essays are scary and sublime and the real real deal."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jim Shepard, author of the Book of Aron
      • content: "For those of us who've been missing Hunter Thompson lately, good news: I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son is as close as we're going to get to his second coming when it comes to full-on gonzo passionate observation and self-loathing transmuted into social criticism. Its larger subject is perhaps the most toxic and entertaining of all of the can-do malevolences abroad in our land -- American masculinity -- but its more intimate and wrenching subject is that of one father and son, similarly self-sabotaging, masters of hurtful apathy, talkers who reject the talking cure, each shipwrecked with their shame. If you're looking for what's funny and smart and fierce and devoted to the shrinking hope that we can all even still perhaps cultivate virtue, stop right here."
      • premium: False
      • source: John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead
      • content: "Kent Russell is one of the most excitingly gifted young non-fiction writers to have appeared in recent memory."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 22, 2014
        Russell, who has written for the New Republic, n+1, and other outlets, provides an intriguing but uneven collection of previously published essays. At their most provocative, the pieces examine the pleasure and excitement that violence can stir in people. Russell devotes an essay to a childhood friend, Ryan, who joins the army seeking the adrenaline rush of gunplay. A profile of a hockey player explains how, after being caught up in fighting during games unwillingly, he found himself in the new position of hockey goon, and thereby a key team member. These selections and others, including one about a man who self-immunizes by getting bitten by venomous snakes and an account of a gathering of "juggalos" (fans of the hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse), showcase Russell's clean, clear style. He shrewdly shifts gears for two final, less dark selections about Amish baseball and a man who moves to an island off northeastern Australia, to "take out of the world." Russell is less compelling in the sections about his own life, such as when he justifies his interest in getting a lesson from horror-makeup guru Tom Savini. His justification is unnecessary; getting to know these fascinating people on the page is reward enough.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2015
        Generational insecurity locks horns with machismo in this hybrid collection of personal journalism and first-person profiles.Believer and n+1 essayist Russell is a type of millennial George Plimpton: the nerd conquering his fears by plunging into the unknown. "I have come to fetishize opaque brutes," writes the author, who proceeds to meet some cautionary examples. He visited the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, the subculture of Insane Clown Posse fans-people who "weren't born into the respectable middle class and didn't see a path that led there, so they said fuck it." Russell spent an even scarier amount of time with Tim Friede, who regularly gets bitten by poisonous snakes as he pursues his long-term goal of developing a "Swiss-army immune system." Another superhuman, hockey legend John Brophy, explained to Russell how he spent a lifetime cracking heads on the ice without losing his own in the process. The author also took a class in gory special effects makeup with Hollywood's "Sultan of Splatter" Tom Savini. On a remote Australian isle, he met a former marketing executive-turned-modern-day Robinson Crusoe. In between these and other essays, Russell weaves together his own story, focused mainly on growing up with his loudmouth Vietnam vet father, who was constantly trying to beef up the kid's testosterone ("He thought it was important that I should greet Death as part of my morning routine"). Russell is an observant, skillful and funny writer who draws out the essence of each person he meets, but the framing device-in which each story becomes another chapter in his own process of self-realization-becomes a wearying shtick. Russell himself, staggering between ironic detachment and overt pathos, ultimately becomes a grating witness to his own life. An ambitious but patchy debut, better in parts than as a whole.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2015
        Russell's bold but fractured essay collection considers various facets of manhood, from reckless adventurer to bloodthirsty predator, sensitive protector to resolute social outcast, and ultimately he turns his journalistic lens on himself. Framed by lyrical essays surrounding Russell's youth and his father, a Vietnam vet whose postwar purpose was to instill in his son a love of war and patriotism, the book also features Russell's portraits of individuals who have discovered their own unorthodox form of masculinity. Russell pitches a tent at the Insane Clown Posse's annual Gathering of the Juggalos, a demented festival calling for recognition and social justice. He meets Tim Friede, a Milwaukee man whose body has adapted to snakebites, as he allows his many venomous pets to prove. And Russell learns the art of terror and violence from a horror-movie makeup artist, a ruthless NHL player, and a magnate-turned-outdoorsman who has settled on an inhospitable island near Australia. With droll humor and sincere compassion, Russell stalwartly exposes himself, and his readers, to his past and to people longing for significance.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

popularity
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publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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