Friday, April 04, 2014

Townie by Andre Dubus III

The memoir "Townie" takes place in the Haverhill/Newburyport area primarily in the 1970's to 1990. Andre Dubus III is the son of Andre Dubus, a Bradford College professor and short story writer. Due to divorce however, Andre III grew up mainly with his mother and 3 siblings in a low rent section of Haverhill. This book has a heavy emphasis on Andre's teens through young adult years during which he attempted to become a man through street fights and bravado. Though the repeated fighting gets a little repetitive, Andre III eventually came to realize that he couldn't keep living that way if he wanted to survive and make something of himself. After high school and some forays into the world beyond Haverhill, he started experimenting with writing, which for some reason never occurred to him as a profession (though his father was a writer and knew many writers as well). It turned out that writing was his salvation. Besides the colorful characters and stories in the book, the most interesting aspect to "Townie" is how Andre III  learns to make peace with his anger: by understanding others with compassion and writing about them.

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