Dreaming: Hard Luck And Good Times In America

Dreaming Hard Luck And Good Times In America In this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a fa

  • Title: Dreaming: Hard Luck And Good Times In America
  • Author: Carolyn See University of California Press
  • ISBN: 9780520204829
  • Page: 301
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir, Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a family tradition, Dreaming is no victim s story With a wry humor and not a trace of self pity, See writes of fights and breakups and hard times, but also of celebration and opIn this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir, Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a family tradition, Dreaming is no victim s story With a wry humor and not a trace of self pity, See writes of fights and breakups and hard times, but also of celebration and optimism in the face of adversity The story of See s family speaks for the countless people who reached for the shining American vision, found it eluded their grasp, and then tried to make what they had glitter as best they could.

    One thought on “Dreaming: Hard Luck And Good Times In America”

    1. This was a very tender book for me. Carolyn See was one of the important Los Angeles writers standing like beacons when I was learning to write, and her mother-daughter novel "Rhine Maidens" was an exemplar for me. AS a person, she was such a generous figure on the literary scene, encouraging new writers, especially women, at a time when successful women were traditionally seen as territorial and adversarial to one another==not so very long ago.I am the daughter of a woman who'd lived a hardscra [...]

    2. I'm on a Carolyn See bender - rereading all my faves of hers. I read Dreaming when it came out (20 years ago - ack!), and a few times later, but this time I read it as research for a new novel I'm working on, and this reading made it all the richer. See is brave and honest and funny and heartbreaking and best of all, she is tender and realistic as she writes about her alcoholic family --- about a family coming of age in L.A. at the same time that L.A. came of age in America. Her mother was bruta [...]

    3. This is a memoir by (the now late) Carolyn See, author, Washington Post book critic and mother of Lisa See (one of my favorite authors). I had absolutely loved Lisa See’s nonfiction work On Gold Mountain about her family, so when I came across this memoir of Carolyn See’s on I was intrigued. Carolyn See certainly had an interesting life. This memoir was moving and funny, though it did feel disorganized. She included a lot of background information on her relatives, and reflected on how thei [...]

    4. For years, I assumed the revered Carolyn See was a fine Southern California author, with lovely prose and a point of view that perfectly summed up living in this Left Coast metropolis. But after finally reading one of her books, I can't believe how little thought she put into it. This book reads like a first draft, with no thought put into correcting even the minor mistakes, inconsistencies, and awkwardnesses that riddle the book.There are parts involving alcohol that were insightful. I was read [...]

    5. I am partial to memoirs, and this one left me breathless. See's family would be hard to invent; if it had been invented, I would have probably thought the author was laying it on a bit thick. What a story! There is no arguing about the characters since they are real, but I did have a hard time with the fact that Carolyn See didn't just cut out her evil mom from her life, and even admired her (in a very compartmentalized way) til the end and put her in a "category of her own" (while admitting tha [...]

    6. Great memoir by writer Carolyn See. Lots of alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, family dysfunction. Great writing. Couldn't put it down. The only reason I didn't give this five stars was because I felt like the level of redemption and transformation was so minimal in so many of these people. It made me sad, and perhaps I am critiquing their lives, rather than the book, but as someone who is all about recovery and transformation, I had to take off a star for that lack. I have read books b [...]

    7. I found my way to this book after reading three of Lisa See's books. I thought that by reading about her mother's life, I would learn a little more about her upbringing and how she came to identify so strongly with her Chinese roots. Didn't turn out that way. It's as if I was reading about a completely different Lisa and that really disappointed me.Aside from that let down, the book was really interesting and a true page turner. I couldn't believe all the craziness this one family endured! The a [...]

    8. This book was just ok for me. I think my problem with it is that the author was into excessive drinking and drugs throughout the book and I had trouble relating. The part about her childhood and alcoholic parents was interesting but when it got up to the sixties and seventies with the rampant drug use and alcoholism it was difficult for me to relate because during the same period I had three small children and just wasn't into the drug scene. I kept hoping she would stop drinking, if for no othe [...]

    9. great to hear about what echo park was like in the 50s, what topanga was like in the 60s, what UCLA was like in the 70s. from a literary perspective. see recounts her sordid and abusive childhood, and her escapist adulthood with a humor that is at times unbelievable, but she's redeems her past through narrative art. i guess the therapy worked. a commonplace story in the best way: easy to identify with, and hope for the rest of us.

    10. This memoir was hard to put down, because it was like trying to revert your eyes from a train wreck. A compelling read, a little confusing in a few places where the time didn't match something she had said earlier, but overall well written. Her story describes dysfunctional family to the max. In the end, time heals, two generations down the line, but that gives even the most dysfunctional family hope and maybe let's the not so dysfunctional family realize how blessed that just might be.

    11. Such a bright and fast-moving voice! This books is incredibly readable, but not without its dark undertow. While I enjoyed Carolyn See's story-telling, I will remember most her subtle "show-don't-tell" way of exposing the depression and desperation she and her family experienced in their pursuit of a possibly deformed American dream. "Is this it?" she imagines us all wondering, and, really, who hasn't?

    12. An extremely engagingly written memoir full of life and energy and reflection on what it's all about. As an aside, I cannot believe how many substances the people in the author's life—and the author herself—ingested over the decades. Carolyn See recently died in her eighties; I have read one other of her books, the good-natured Making a Literary Life: Advice for writers and other dreamers (2002).

    13. To the author's credit, she discloses she's not written chronologically and apologizes for it. I figured she wrote it in a way that was easy to follow, perhaps a new style.Ugh, no. It wasn't easy to follow and unfortunately became so redundant I had to wonder, once again, if the author had an editor.

    14. Carolyn See is as true a Californian as she is a writer. She is tough and kind, smart and funny, cool and hot, and definitely a writer to read and, if you're a writer, to emulate. This book is one of the best memoirs I've read, and I always recommend it to people who want to write memoirs.Then again, I also recommend it to people who simply want to read a good book.

    15. Carolyn See is a wonderful writer and this book really resonated with me because of my own parent's rather bleak childhoods growing up in Los Angeles during the depression--the more so since my father also had alcoholic parents and also lived in Glassell Park.

    16. FantasticFunny heartbreaking scary beautiful - a life well lived - a life and lives exposed and torn and stitched back together to make a beautiful tapestry of love and hope and the American Dream

    17. A 3.5. Wonderful writing and very engaging, but the cruel behavior of a crowd of dysfunctional people became taxing.

    18. I really wanted to like this book. It was written by a UCLA professor and I had attended UCLA. But it just bummed me out. I am sure it was well written but it lacked humor and positivity.

    19. A tough, no-holds-barred autobiography that shows the many difficult problems Carolyn See (Lisa's mother) had to surmount to become a famous author.

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