The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked by David Benjamin

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Synopsis

“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.
 

About David Benjamin

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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.
 
Published May 25, 2011 by Random House. 308 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked

Kirkus Reviews

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In a narrative voice that sounds like Penrod equipped with a few cuss words, Benjamin deftly depicts the world of kids (i.e., boys) and girls, of classmates and cousins, of bullies and sidekicks.

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Publishers Weekly

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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 ...

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