Townie by Andre Dubus III
A Memoir

77%

19 Critic Reviews

Yet despite its rough edges, Townie is a mesmerising work, one of the best accounts I've encountered of violence and its causes. It is worth reading just for Dubus's lengthy descriptions of fighting – passages that exhilarate even as they sicken.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Won Book of the Year Adult Non-Fiction—2012 Indie Choice Awards

Amazon Best Book of the Month February 2011



"Dubus relives, absent self-pity or blame, a life shaped by bouts of violence and flurries of tenderness."—Vanity Fair


After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and everyday violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash between town and gown, between the hard drinking, drugging, and fighting of "townies" and the ambitions of students debating books and ideas, couldn’t have been more stark. In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling the stories of others—bridging, in the process, the rift between his father and himself.
 

About Andre Dubus III

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Andre Dubus III is the author of The Garden of Last Days, House of Sand and Fog (a #1 New York Times bestseller, Oprah’s Book Club pick, and finalist for the National Book Award) and Townie, winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His writing has received many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. He lives with his family north of Boston.
 
Published February 23, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 401 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 27 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Townie
All: 19 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good

His compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving. A striking, eloquent account of growing up poor and of the making of a writer.

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NY Times

Above average
on Feb 25 2011

...Dubus writes about “the apartments” where his older sister buys drugs, two rows of three-story buildings surrounded by packed dirt worn smooth, a Dumpster in back always filled with dirty diapers, used condoms and pizza boxes.

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NY Times

Above average
on Feb 22 2011

“Townie” is a better, harder book than anything the younger Mr. Dubus has yet written; it pays off on every bet that’s been placed on him. It’s a sleek muscle car of a memoir that — until it loses traction in clichés about redemption...

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Guardian

Good
on Jul 29 2011

Yet despite its rough edges, Townie is a mesmerising work, one of the best accounts I've encountered of violence and its causes. It is worth reading just for Dubus's lengthy descriptions of fighting – passages that exhilarate even as they sicken.

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WSJ online

Good
on Feb 24 2011

It takes many chapters for this book to work through its macho theme, but "Townie" is, at bottom, about what it means to become a mature man.

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NPR

Good
on Jul 14 2011

Dubus III, author of the critically acclaimed novel House of Sand and Fog, relates the story of his childhood and young adulthood with an immediate, raw intensity — it's at times difficult to read, but it's almost impossible to turn away.

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Book Reporter

Good
on Apr 04 2011

Dubus's memoir is an essential account of the making of an artist, of the ways in which a young man tries desperately to connect with his distant father while making his own name at the same time.

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Matthew Tiffany on Feb 25 2011

Dubus doesn't gloss over the details of their struggle, but he does reject interpreting those details as the primary focus -- in other words, he isn't here to present a Dickensian portrait of plucky son overcoming overwhelming odds...

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LA Times

Above average
on Apr 03 2011

The father-son dynamic is a running theme in "Townie," but it's far from the only one. More to the point, the book offers a stirring portrait of life in the 1970s in the decaying mill towns north of Boston, especially Haverhill...

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Jan 26 2011

Andre Dubus III 's father was the darkly powerful short-story writer of the same name. Pop only skirts around the edges of his young son's life in Dubus' frank, moving memoir, Townie. But his absence is everywhere.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
on Mar 03 2011

In “Townie,” Dubus writes with an honesty only equaled by his ability to keep on loving his family. It might be a cliché that great writers make lousy parents but there is nothing clichéd about this book.

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Dallas News

Good
on Mar 14 2011

Now Dubus turns his focus inward with the memoir Townie, an enormously affecting, often disturbing look at his youth in a series of depressed Massachusetts mill towns along the Merrimack River.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
on Mar 13 2011

"Townie" summons up the violence born of anger, of anger born of that loss. This haunting memoir is as explosive as a Muhammad Ali prize fight, as vivid as a Basquiat canvas.

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The Seattle Times

Good
on Mar 10 2011

After finishing the book, I was still not sure why Dubus stepped out from behind the art of fiction, but I was glad he did. He is such a solid writer, he redeems the genre. He shows that truth can be as honest as fiction.

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Oregon Live

Good
on Mar 05 2011

...is a hard take on growing up poor and violent in urban America, a hopeful look at how a family fell apart and came together, and an inspiring meditation on how literature is created and on the complicated relationship between fathers and sons.

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About.com

Good

An authoritative book, it is a reflection on the power of violence and its hold on Dubus and his struggle to break free. Townie is an important, revealing memoir that can be enjoyed both for what it says about Dubus...

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Chamber Four

Good
on Apr 15 2011

Townie is a well-crafted memoir written by an author who knows when to speak and when to let the story stand for itself. And there are knockouts, too. It’s well worth the read.

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Broad Street Review

Good
on Jan 02 2013

Townie is a fascinating reminder that most of the work that captivates the literary and artistic audience involves struggles and tensions that alter the lives of dozens of people. Behind every story— there’s a story.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Feb 25 2011

At the end of the memoir, the elder Dubus emerges unmistakably as a man touched with sanctity. He is an odd saint — but, humanly speaking, all saints are oddities.

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Reader Rating for Townie
73%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 334 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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