Too Good to Be True by Benjamin Anastas
A Memoir

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The book feels like a collection of documents...an inventory of debts and a dizzying list of expenses.
-NY Times

Synopsis

When he was three, in the early 1970s, Benjamin Anastas found himself in his mother’s fringe-therapy group in Massachusetts, a sign around his neck: Too Good to Be True. The phrase haunted him through his life, even as he found the literary acclaim he sought after his 1999 novel, An Underachiever’s Diary, had made the smart set take notice. Too Good to Be True is his deeply moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity—and the first, cautious steps taken toward piecing a life back together.

“It took a long time for me to admit I had failed,” Anastas begins. Broke, his promising literary career evaporated, he’s hounded by debt collectors as he tries to repair a life ripped apart by the spectacular implosion of his marriage, which ended when his pregnant wife left him for another man. Had it all been too good to be true? Anastas’s fierce love for his young son forces him to confront his own childhood, fraught with mental illness, divorce, and the fumes of hippiedom. His father’s disdain for money might have been in line with the ’70s zeitgeist—but what does it mean when you’re dumping change into a Coinstar, trying to scrounge enough to buy your son a meal? Charged with rage and despair, humor and hope, this unforgettable book is about losing one’s way and finding it again, and the redemptive power of art.

 

About Benjamin Anastas

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Benjamin Anastas is the author of "An Underachiever's Diary". He lives in Brooklyn & is an editor at "Grand Street".
 
Published October 16, 2012 by Little A. 191 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Too Good to Be True
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Deb Olin Unferth on Nov 09 2012

The book feels like a collection of documents...an inventory of debts and a dizzying list of expenses.

Read Full Review of Too Good to Be True: A Memoir | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Oct 16 2012

The bulk of “Too Good to Be True”...is smart and honest and searching...

Read Full Review of Too Good to Be True: A Memoir | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for Too Good to Be True
52%

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