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Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir por Steve…
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Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir (original 2017; edição 2017)

por Steve Rushin (Autor)

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967228,005 (4.06)2
A bittersweet memoir of the author's 1970s childhood nostalgically shares observations of his family life as it was shaped by influences ranging from the Steve Miller Band and Saturday morning cartoons to Bic pens and Schwinn Sting-Ray bikes.
Título:Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir
Autores:Steve Rushin (Autor)
Informação:Little, Brown and Company (2017), Edition: 1, 336 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir por Steve Rushin (2017)

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I was born in the early 1970s so I am about 5 years younger than Steve Rushin but I saw a lot of myself in his funny memoir about growing up in the 70s. I also had a father who traveled a lot for work. We watched Saturday morning cartoons before spending the rest of the day playing outside. I felt the disappointment when I was gifted off brand clothing my classmates would clock in a second. I remember many of the situations he discusses, the constant cigarette smoke, riding backward (and getting car sick) in the station wagon, tucking the blisteringly hot seatbelts down the crack between the seat and backrest, trying to hit play and record at the perfect moment to tape a song off the radio, the picture on the television screen shrinking and disappearing, using plastic bread bags to keep your socks dry in your snow boots, and so many more. Reading his memoir, Sting-Ray Afternoons, was without a doubt a nostalgic read for me.

Steve Rushin had a pretty idyllic childhood. Moving from Chicago to Bloomington, Minnesota when he was a toddler, he had a stereotypical Midwestern upbringing. His father was a salesman for 3M and traveled a lot, leaving Steve's mother to take care of the eventual family of five children. Steve was the third son in this chaotic bunch and while he was as sports obsessed as any of them, he also presents himself as a little more sensitive and bookish too. He took the expected beatings from his brothers and was afraid of a lot. His love of information and language, especially words and word play, shine through his account of his childhood. And he either has a prodigious memory or he's done a lot of research to refresh that memory because he has included just about every commercial jingle, tv show, toy, and cultural touchstone possible from the 70s. Often when he mentions one of these, he includes the history of the thing or its place in the era. These tangents, about things as varied as leaded gasoline, the Boeing 747, and the Sears Wish Book to name just a few, can overwhelm the narrative of his actual childhood. And in truth, there's little of a traditional narrative line here, with his own life just lightly woven in between lists of products and the Minnesota world around him. But perhaps that's the point: we are all formed as much by our own particular childhoods as by the outside influences we grow up immersed in. Rushin is humorous and still skilled with word play and I enjoyed this jaunt down memory lane even if I'm not certain how resonant it would be to people who did not share these experiences and this world. It's a memoir that probably works best for people who are within a decade either side of Rushin since the actual memoir piece of the writing is slight. ( )
  whitreidtan | Oct 16, 2021 |
Steven Rushin, who grew up to be the only thing he ever wanted, a sportswriter at Sports Illustrated magazine, recounts his childhood in 1970s Minnesota. With sharp wit and a knack for telling a ridiculous story (especially if it makes himself the object of ridicule), Rushin recounts growing up as the middle child of five (when his baby sister, Amy, is born after three boys, the obstetrician tells his father in the hospital waiting room, "Congratulations, you finally got one with indoor plumbing.")

The memoir is replete with so many of the touchstones of a '70s childhood in middle America, and as someone just a couple of years older than he, growing up a few hundred miles south, I found myself being walloped with nostalgia on every page. Someone who grew up in a different (that is to say, later) era might not have the same reaction to the specific pop-culture mentions, but much of the humor is universal, I think, and the ways that pre-pubescent boys think and act and play probably is, too. Probably the closest comparison I can make is to Bill Bryson's memoir, [The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid], with its recollections of a 1950s kid. Rushin's humor isn't quite as mean-spirited as Bryson's can sometimes be, though.

One of the hallmarks of Rushin's sportswriting (and Twitter posts) is his love of wordplay and puns (just as I rate Bryson's writing by the number of giggle-snorts it induces, I gauge Rushin's by the number of involuntary groans), and I loved learning that his infatuation with the rhythms of words and language began early, a child in love with alliteration long before he ever learned the word itself.

This is not a harrowing tale of abuse and dysfunction, which I found refreshing but does leave the narrative feeling a bit slight. No one overcomes tragedy or addiction or anything like that and yet the tone is far from saccharine. It's the kind of childhood that often gets labeled "idyllic" even taking into account the never-ending casual violence that brothers perpetually inflict on each other, down the line from oldest to youngest. For myself, this is a solid 4-star read, but I downgraded it slightly because I'm not sure a reader who isn't familiar with Rushin's writing or who didn't grow up in the 1970s American Midwest would feel the same appreciation and connection that I did. ( )
  rosalita | May 30, 2018 |
Okay, I'm a child of the seventies as well, just a few years older than the author, and I grew up in the Midwest too, Illinois rather than Minnesota. But it was pretty much the same childhood and many of the author's recollections might as well be my own. I had the off-brand Stingray and the same sibling rivalries (mine were all sisters but siblings are siblings). So I enjoyed this memoir, probably more than most others would. Still, I can't help comparing the writing style to that of Bill Bryson's, and that's where Mr.Rushin comes up short. It's probably an unfair comparison but I couldn't get The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid out of my head the entire time I was reading this. It's simply a better book with a similar subject. ( )
  5hrdrive | Apr 2, 2018 |
For anyone that grew up in suburban America of the 1960s, Sting-ray Afternoons is a font of nostalgia. Rushin streams a list of products marketed to middle-class America and the desires of a boy assaulted by this marketing while growing up with three brothers and a sister
  MichaelC.Oliveira | Feb 13, 2018 |
Steve Rushin's memoir of growing up in the 1970s Minnesota will pleasantly resonate with those who grew up at the same time no matter where you grew up. His memories brought back plenty of my own, such as:

- Getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch hours of cartoons ("until that terrible moment when American Bandstand begins");
- Hopefully thumbing catalogues at Christmas time ("The Sears Christmas Wish Book... was more than a catalogue of consumer goods. It was a glossy catalogue of children’s dreams");
- Sunburns in summer ("Life is a series of blistering sunburns, the skin bubbling up like the tar bubbles in the streets of South Brook.");
- Sledding in winter ("The thirty minutes spent getting dressed and ascending this hill is a pittance to pay for the breathtaking twenty seconds of descent.");
- The music ("The Hotel California itself scares the wits out of me, with its satanic guests stabbing beasts with their steely knives and its unreasonably inflexible checkout policy.");
- How much more common smoking was back then ("Dad doesn’t smoke, but... gives them to a grateful seatmate, who blows the smoke into his face for the duration of the flight. Nobody finds this arrangement the least bit disagreeable.");
- And of course, riding bikes around the neighborhood ("Six hi-rise bikes parked side by side turned any suburban cul-de-sac into the parking lot of a biker bar").

As a journalist he obviously has a way with words, but he's also laugh-out-loud funny and wise at the same time, as well as easy to relate to. And as much as I'd like to regale you with lots of quotes I enjoyed from the book, I'll leave you with just one more:

"There is no such thing as a carefree childhood, only a childhood that shifts the burden of care onto someone else. [Mom] is that someone else." ( )
  J.Green | Dec 6, 2017 |
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A bittersweet memoir of the author's 1970s childhood nostalgically shares observations of his family life as it was shaped by influences ranging from the Steve Miller Band and Saturday morning cartoons to Bic pens and Schwinn Sting-Ray bikes.

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