SCOREKEEPING: Essays From Home
A good memoir like Bob Cowser’s SCOREKEEPING is something to be treasured, something which is by parts autobiography, history and essay. In the wrong hands, memoirs can become maudlin or trite, but Cowser is sure of his ground and has written a deeply satisfying book --THE NASHVILLE SCENE
The careful precise work of an observant, practiced writer…His subtle kind of scorekeeping-- by turns witty, sad, poignantly reflective, very funny and gently wise in the ways of parents and siblings and families-- is what distinguishes the pros from the amateurs in the memoir craft.--WATERTOWN (NY) DAILY TIMES
Cowser does not flaunt his considerable skill. Instead, these conversational stories sneak up quietly, affectingly on the reader-- BOOKLIST
In 1970 Esquire named the rural West Tennessee college town of Martin as one of the nine happy towns left in the United States. Bob Cowser, Jr., offers a dissenting opinion on this assessment of the bucolic environs of his youth in his collection of forthright reflections on boyhood in Martin and episodes in the other locations that have thus far constituted “home.” Ranging in tone from confessional and contemplative to candid and comic, the pieces in Scorekeeping: Essays from Home form an exceptional portrait of smalltown life as witnessed by an introduced specimen—the son of English professors among insular townies—with an unflinching eye and creative wit.
As Cowser leads us through his formative experiences in Martin and later New Orleans and Lincoln, Nebraska, he offers a balanced and inviting combination of episodes—of the regret inherent in his father’s longrunning quest for a good BBQ sandwich and of too loosely interpreting Redbook’s advice on attending high school reunions, of the abduction and murder of a classmate and of revelation in a favorite uncle’s AIDS-related death. Siblings, parents, schoolmates, and mentors form a richly realized constellation of figures around Cowser as he recalls the loves, losses, developments, and divergences that constitute coming of age in the rural American heartland of the late twentieth century. The geographic location of home shifts, but Cowser’s ties to family, community, and upbringing remain constants in the face of growth and change. The resulting essays map the rough-hewn formation of an adult identity and the development of the accepting hindsight required to reflect back and keep score.
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Personal Essays (Anthology)