‘Closing Time: A Memoir’ by Joe Queenan

The NYT describes this memoir as: “Joe Queenan’s lumpy, unsentimental and ultimately very sad memoir traces the roots of his adult anger back to his childhood and his ugly, violent relationship with his alcoholic father.”

Booklist notes: “Queenan never met a synonym he didn’t like (in under three pages, a jail is a hoosegow, calaboose, slammer, and pokey), but this loquaciousness evokes the ludicrous nature of his upbringing while providing humor few others could bring to such dark material. As is often the case with memoirs, Queenan’s latter years are less riveting, but his adolescence will have readers crying tears of both sorrow and hilarity.”

The humorless NYT reviewer also notes: “In portions of this book that anger — and the author’s love of hyperbole — can make for trying, high-decibel screeds. The reader is subjected to seemingly unedited, rage-filled rants about his hatred of his father and the awfulness of growing up with no money, and sarcastic generalizations about the poor: ‘If you are born poor and stupid, you’re going to need to be very lucky. If you are poor and stupid and ugly, you are going to need to be even luckier.’’

The NYT has a first chapter linked. Viking Adult, 352 pages.


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