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Growing up in a doomed hometown with a missing father and a single mother, Nicholas Dawidoff listened to baseball every night on his bedside radio, the professional ballplayers gradually becoming the men in his life. A portrait of a childhood shaped by a stoical, enterprising mother, a disturbed, dangerous father, the private world of baseball, and the awkwardness of first love, The Crowd Sounds Happy is the moving tale of a spirited boy's coming-of-age in troubled times.
“A beautiful portrait of a wounded family.... The Crowd Sounds Happy is inquisitive and graceful.”
—The New York Times
“Marvelous.... Whether he’s regaling us with the biographies of the ‘75 Red Sox, describing rundown...New Haven and New York in the mid 1970s, or painting a heartbreakingly nuanced portrait of his relationship with his parents, you’ll simply want the story—his story—to continue on and on.” —Chicago Tribune
“Evocative.... The crackle of Dawidoff’s writing and his unstinting...sensitivity make his...journey compelling.” —The Washington Post
“Poignant and darkly funny.” —The New York Observer
“Filled with so many passages of recognizable truth.” —The Nation
"The Crowd Sounds Happy vividly captures the crosscurrents of a childhood at once unusually happy and unusually haunted. Dawidoff writes like an angel, and his memoir bids fair to join Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life on the short shelf of great books about American boyhood." —Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
"This beautiful book is like a sharp knife--painful, gleaming and utterly precise." —Joan Acocella, author of Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints
"A tender, exquisitely observed recollection of childhood, a failed and hurtful father, and hope." —Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams
"A father-son-baseball story like no other. Dawidoff limns the double life of adolescence so acutely that I found myself wincing at least once a paragraph. I devoured and savored this beautifully written book, even as it broke my heart." —George Howe Colt, author of The Big House
"I've never read a memoir whose author has remained truer to his boyhood self. The young Dawidoff who loved Ted Williams, Elvis Costello, and Samuel Johnson has grown up to write like an original amalgam of all three, and the result is an intricately recollected, uncommonly frank self-portrait with something terrific on page after page." —Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections
“Chronicles childhood longing with the precision of a fan filling in a scorecard.” —Play, The New York Times Sports Magazine
“A fine new memoir. . . . Dawidoff has earned his baseball pedigree.” —The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)
“An elegiac memoir. . . . Dawidoff has far more on his mind than the national pastime—even though that was his ultimate salvation in a rough upbringing.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Fresh and startling. . . . An insightful story of youthful angst and committed self-determination.” —The Anniston Star
“A wonderful new memoir.” —Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics
“A tremendous coming-of-age memoir that thanks to exquisite writing and engaging candor and detail, will fill a tremendous place in your mind and in your heart.” —The Baseball Book Review