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The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2011
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Description

"Awjeezma!" was the universal dissent, whined--repeatedly if necessary--at an unreasonable mother who wanted the vacuuming done now-not-next-year or a pile of encrusted dishes washed or the sputtering heater refueled.
"Awjeezma! Do I gotta?"
"If I have to tell you one more time--"
"Awjeezma! Awright! Jeez!"

Through the telling of his own madcap childhood, David Benjamin pays homage to the exuberance of countless untamed boys who grew up in Middle America in the 1950s. Whether he's stalking frogs through the bogs of Tomah, Wisconsin, playing four-kid baseball with his bothersome little brother and two favorite cousins, or sneaking into the theater to watch Saturday afternoon Westerns, Benjamin is the kind of little kid who eagerly would have fallen in with the redoubtable Tom Sawyer.

His tales--including one about a truly sorry incident with Snappy, the snapping turtle, and another about a run-in with a particularly fiendish squirrel--are by turns hysterically funny, caustic, aggrieved, and movingly sincere. Traversing the nooks and crannies of kidhood, from ballfields to swimming holes, The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked captures a moment in twentieth-century American life, as Benjamin magically recalls the myriad scrapes, intrepid adventures, and wanderlust that once made childhood such an exhilarating enterprise.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/25/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781588361165
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

David Benjamin. (2011). The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

David Benjamin. 2011. The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

David Benjamin, The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked. Random House Publishing Group, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

David Benjamin. The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked. Random House Publishing Group, 2011.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. 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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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:11:09
Date Updated:
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      • bioText:

        David Benjamin was born in Sparta, Wisconsin, in 1949 and lived in nearby Tomah until he was thirteen. He began his first novel, The Adventures of Stanley and Peggy, the Sniderman Twins, in the fourth grade. It remains unfinished. A contributor to the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wisconsin State Journal, Benjamin is also the author of The Joy of Sumo: A Fan's Notes. He now lives with his wife in San Francisco and Paris.

      • name: David Benjamin
imprint
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publishDate
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title
The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked
fullDescription

"Awjeezma!" was the universal dissent, whined--repeatedly if necessary--at an unreasonable mother who wanted the vacuuming done now-not-next-year or a pile of encrusted dishes washed or the sputtering heater refueled.
"Awjeezma! Do I gotta?"
"If I have to tell you one more time--"
"Awjeezma! Awright! Jeez!"

Through the telling of his own madcap childhood, David Benjamin pays homage to the exuberance of countless untamed boys who grew up in Middle America in the 1950s. Whether he's stalking frogs through the bogs of Tomah, Wisconsin, playing four-kid baseball with his bothersome little brother and two favorite cousins, or sneaking into the theater to watch Saturday afternoon Westerns, Benjamin is the kind of little kid who eagerly would have fallen in with the redoubtable Tom Sawyer.

His tales--including one about a truly sorry incident with Snappy, the snapping turtle, and another about a run-in with a particularly fiendish squirrel--are by turns hysterically funny, caustic, aggrieved, and movingly sincere. Traversing the nooks and crannies of kidhood, from ballfields to swimming holes, The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked captures a moment in twentieth-century American life, as Benjamin magically recalls the myriad scrapes, intrepid adventures, and wanderlust that once made childhood such an exhilarating enterprise.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content:

        "A boy's way of life in the olden heartland of America, now largely gone, is expertly summoned again by a clever grown-up kid. In a narrative voice that sounds like Penrod equipped with a few cuss words, Benjamin deftly depicts the world of kids (i.e., boys). . . . We can see him, portrayed by Master Rockwell, fairly leaping off a Saturday Evening Post cover. His evocative memoir, part Patrick McManus and more Jean Shepherd, has enough fun and wit to play with either, last kid no more."

      • premium: False
      • source: James Dodson,author of Final Rounds and Faithful Travelers
      • content: "David Benjamin's funny, quirky, entirely engaging memoir of growing up in 1950s Wisconsin is a small treasure. It's full of the big heartbreak of tiny lives, the salty give-and-take of being a kid on the threshold, making the team but losing the faith of sweet innocence. Do yourself a favor: pull up an armchair and take a trip back there. You won't regret the journey."
      • premium: False
      • source: James Fallows
      • content: "The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked is a classic comic memoir. It has a wonderful combination of instantly recognizable truths and Tom Sawyer--like tall tales. Any former child, or present one, will enjoy this book."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 28, 2002
        The exhilaration and terrors of 1950s Saturday matinee moviegoing have rarely been better described than in this charming, nostalgic memoir. At a screening of Ben-Hur, second-grader Benjamin is caught by an usher—"one of the most powerful institutions on earth... the last gasp of the Gestapo"—tossing Raisinettes to his friend Chucky. Small, acutely observed moments like this characterize Benjamin's poignant recollections of growing up in the Midwest. The author, a former editor of the MansfieldNews
        in Massachusetts, is at his best describing some farcical calamity—trying to get a snapping turtle off of his finger by inadvertently offering his nose (it works)—or observing the minutiae of smalltown social status, like the uproar in a Catholic school when the son of a wealthy parish family gets to skip a grade. Benjamin lovingly details the pop culture of the time (the sexual charms of Doris Day in Calamity Jane; the violin crescendos in Pillow Talk), which serves as backdrop and context for his own schoolyard adventures. While there are some girls here, Benjamin's world is mostly made up of boys. Numerous recent books on growing up male in America have made important contributions to gender studies, and this memoir, in its own unassuming way, does, too, by making vivid the contradictions and complexities of being a boy in the post-WWII era. Agent, Scovil Chichak Galen.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2002
        Whether one grows up in 1950s Wisconsin or 1990s California, many of the highs and lows of childhood are universal. Part of the charm of Benjamin's new autobiography is this familiarity. His recounting of his childhood in the post-World War II Midwest, with its swimming holes and baseball games, its movie theaters and snapping turtles, strikes a chord because it brings us all back to our own triumphs and mishaps. But it is not just Benjamin's uncanny ability to describe his memories that makes this book ring true. He also possesses an acute, dry wit that illuminates his writing throughout, giving readers the world of childhood filtered through the adult mind. Benjamin, a former editor for the News in Mansfield, MA, reminds us all of the tribulations of growing up, but his narrative reads far wittier than when we try to retell our own stories. This book is suitable for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/01.] Sheila Devaney, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens

        Copyright 2002 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2002
        Benjamin may have been the last kid picked for teams in his small-town Wisconsin school, but he did all right for himself just the same, in sports and in life. A writer and editor now living in Paris, he recalls his odd assortment of friends and enemies and some less-than-halcyon days in the 1950s as a smart, skinny kid from a broken home--not quite a loser but frequently a hapless victim of bullies and assorted wildlife. In occasionally poignant but more often cynical, tough, and hysterically funny vignettes, he reconstructs his "hunting and gathering" summer adventures, playing sandlot baseball and roaming woods and fields from dawn to dusk, spurred on by his boyhood television hero Paladin. It's a catalog of bloody noses, scraped knees, scary neighbors, and bullies ("Kids are mean. They go for the throat"), punctuated by occasional interference from adults, but with it comes a keen awareness of the separateness of grown-ups and kids that so marked earlier decades, especially in rural America, as well as a sense of how much our successes, however small, really matter.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2002, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

"Awjeezma!" was the universal dissent, whined--repeatedly if necessary--at an unreasonable mother who wanted the vacuuming done now-not-next-year or a pile of encrusted dishes washed or the sputtering heater refueled.
"Awjeezma! Do I gotta?"
"If I have to tell you one more time--"
"Awjeezma! Awright! Jeez!"

Through the telling of his own madcap childhood, David Benjamin pays homage to the exuberance of countless untamed boys who grew up in Middle America in the 1950s. Whether he's stalking frogs through the bogs of Tomah, Wisconsin, playing four-kid baseball with his bothersome little brother and two favorite cousins, or sneaking into the theater to watch Saturday afternoon Westerns, Benjamin is the kind of little kid who eagerly would have fallen in with the redoubtable Tom Sawyer.

His tales--including one about a truly sorry incident with Snappy, the snapping turtle, and another about a run-in with a particularly fiendish squirrel--are by turns...

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bisacCodes
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      • code: FAM046000
      • description: Family & Relationships / Life Stages / General
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      • description: Humor / Topic / Marriage & Family