Tag Archives: memoir

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks

ireland-fridge

“The nature of hitching, especially when encumbered by a kitchen appliance, is such that you are reliant on others. We mayn’t expect it, but there may come a time in all of our lives when we have to hitch, either physically or figuratively. It doesn’t matter how important, wealthy or talented you are, if your car breaks down somewhere and you are forced to stick out your thumb and hitch, then your fallibility and the fact that you are no better than the next person will become abundantly clear to you. You need someone else’s kindness to take you to safety.” ~p.182

 

Tony Hawks receives a drunken bet that he cannot hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a fridge within a month. Later, a sober Tony decides to take the bet. What ensues is a hilarious journey, which includes but is not limited to: resident drunks playing spoons, a fridge party, a bachelor festival, and a fridge blessing from a mother superior.

This non-fiction book about Tony Hawks’ journey around the circumference of Ireland with a fridge was a perfect, fun, summer read. Hawks’ writing was engaging and in places I laughed out loud. I’ve been wanting to visit Ireland for a long time (not with a fridge, just with a suitcase) and through Hawks’ memoir I felt I gained an understanding of the culture and spirit of the country. With a fridge in tow, the author seems to have gotten into a lot of shenanigans–and ALL of them are hilariously rendered. Round Ireland with a Fridge is a book that will make you want to go on an adventure–and made me think about how important it is to have adventures, to step outside of the box (or small, box-like, kitchen appliance) and do something slightly silly, dangerous, or fun. How else do we learn anything in life?

I will be picking up another book by the same author, Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, not because I know anything about tennis, but because I enjoyed Hawks’ writing so much.

Also, I learned about this book from this Vlogbrothers video: 18 Great Books You Probably Haven’t Read.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Hole In My Life

Hole In My Life

I have not read very much literature about being in prison, but from what I’ve seen and heard, Hole In My Life seems to be a very genuine portrayal of a young man’s struggle to rise above his situation, even when he feels despair all around him, and even when he is not free. The economy of language that Jack Gantos uses is stunning. At first, the very simple, minimalist sentence structure annoyed me, but I grew to really appreciate it more and more as Jack’s life became vastly more complicated with his impending incarceration. And what’s more, I think that even though the subject matter is very heavy, because of the pithy sentence structure, this book would work for middle school as well as high school readers: for those both struggling with reading and who are already strong readers.

The other thing I really admired about this memoir was that it was a memoir with a message. No, Jack Gantos didn’t push, “don’t do drugs, drugs are bad,” constantly on the reader. The message instead felt more honest and genuine. Jack Gantos was honest about his drug abuse and about his desire to do drugs to help relieve his anxiety. He was even honest about the feelings that he had about drugs in the beginning: he was really more interested in starting his life than doing drugs, but drugs were available to him and he used them as a means to escape his low self-esteem. I found the message instead to be that his overwhelming desire to be a writer, to write something that mattered, is what really pulled him through a difficult time in his life. Instead of constantly repeating the thought of “Don’t do drugs,” the pattern to be found instead is this driving desire to be like his favorite authors. This motif is recurring throughout the memoir and makes it possible to see that he was able to turn despair into hope by focusing on his dreams.

Leave a comment

March 26, 2013 · 5:24 pm