Joe Queenans’s “Closing Time”

Just a literary quickie tonight, as the kids set off fireworks and the mosquitoes nip my ankles. I’m sleep-deprived — humidity? The excitement of throwing a tiny dinner party last night? But I thought I’d post a tiny something about a terrific book before I go eat my leftover ribs.

As far as I can figure, Joe Queenan is exactly my age. He grew up poor and brutalized by a monstrous alcoholic father  in Philly, I grew up middle class and loved in Canada. I took his memoir of his father, “Closing Time” from the library last week, and staying up to read it is one of the reasons I couldn’t sleep last night. Can you say page turner? It’s plainly one of those books, like Chris Buckley’s excellent “Losing Mum and Pup” that was written as an exorcism after a parent’s death. Joe grew up poor Irish with a brutal drinking father, Buckley in wealth and comfort — the Catholic Church is the only thing these men had in common.  Queenan’s book is an American “Angela’s Ashes” and how he pulled himself out of his destiny, as Frank McCourt did decades before, is fine reading.

Check it out. Forgiveness can be hard.



Filed under Free, History, Library Card

2 responses to “Joe Queenans’s “Closing Time”

  1. danielle hamilton

    i know joe queenan, grew up poor and irish like him; went to st joe with him and have read all his books. some of them bring me back to the days spent philosophizing in st joes cafeteria. closing time said it all esp how reading helped the children of that lower class working poor irish catholics with dysfunctionalism in the Dna . the american dream unfulfilled for some and realized by others. his astute social commentary and acerbic wit have not changed cept in the honing. he spake the truths in that book and personifies the sardonic black irish humor.

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