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The Boomer Hardcover – May 9 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st Edition edition (May 9 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375410090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375410093
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 13.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Tracing the life of his protagonist, identified as "the boomer," from birth to death in childlike, "see Spot run" prose, Vintage Books editor-in-chief Asher delivers a spare outline of one man's life, which nevertheless manages to capture many boomer-generation milestones and anxieties with winning pathos. Divided into 100 paragraph-long chapters, the book is illustrated with clever clip art and '50s-style graphics that counterpoint the events experienced by the unnamed boomer. The facile childhood chapters describe school, vacation, homelife and even the boy's favorite lunch. But soon, with adolescence, the boomer's world becomes more complicated, and the rudimentary prose takes on a more satiric note. Leaving his unhappy family for college, the boomer enjoys sex, drugs and independence. Then simple pleasures soon give way to the responsibilities of adult life: "The boomer graduated with honors. He got a good job in a large company. He rented a small walk-up apartment. A woman gave him a cat." The boomer eventually marries this woman, and when she has a son, he decides to love his wife. The family accumulates material goods, and acquires a soon to be beloved dog, as the boomer gets steadily promoted at his job. The boomer's son goes to college and tells his father that he's gay, the dog dies, the boomer enters a serious depression and gets into a car accident. Life is not quite the same after that, and the confused boomer moves in with another woman during his midlife crisis. The narrative maintains its deadpan tone throughout, summarily stylizing the character's life into flat, expository pantomime, but the implications are unmistakable. The boomer emerges as a sympathetic character who lived through '50s conformism, late-'60s rebellion, '70s aimlessness, '80s consumerism and beyond, and his death has full emotional impact. Asher's protagonist is sure to remind America's largest demographic of someone they know very well. Illus. from the CSA Archives, augmented by Chip Kidd. QPB alternate. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The editor-in-chief of Vintage Books takes on the baby boomers as they drift to the far reaches of middle age.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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By Bud Sewell on June 22 2000
Format: Hardcover
Marty Asher has produced a compelling book of 101 paragraph-length chapters which chronicles the life of what we assume to be a typical man of his times - a Boomer. Each chapter is accompanied by a sort of free association illustration which could have been ripped from the pages of any popular magazine in the 1950s. The result is a compelling piece of literature that says in a few words what it has taken John Irving a lifetime to write.
The book is really about all of us, however. And how we always have been. In the end Asher's Boomer, while the details of his life are different, reminds one of Hawthorne's wayward Puritans, Sloan Wilson's "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and today's Microserfs. Asher pulls it off in an amazing economy of words, almost conversationally, as if someone asked, "What was your father like?"
Buy this book, read it and circulate it among your friends. You'll think about it and carry it around in your mind a few days and hopefully it will sink in.
And it IS worth buying for the pictures!
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Format: Hardcover
As member of Generation Y (maybe, my apathetic generation is more aptly termed Generation Why?), I might not seem like the target customer for a book about baby boomers. Indeed, I am not. I did, however, find the book immensely enjoyable. Mr. Asher, with his vignettes captured my father's quintessence and influenced my own writing. I am an aspiring novelist and his unique brevity has helped me to think outside the constraints of the normal novel. For that, I thank him.
After I read his book clandestinely in the back of a bookstore, he came to Powell's Books in Portland, OR. I went to the reading to meet the man. He took the time to talk to me after the reading and when I mentioned jokingly that I would love to buy his book, but that I was too poor(which is completely true- I'm a starving student), he BOUGHT ME THE BOOK! Yes, it is true, the man took money from his own pocket so that I, a complete stranger, could have his book. If that doesn't say something about the man's character, I'm not sure what could.
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Format: Hardcover
As I finished The Boomer by Marty Asher last night I sensed that this book was one which would keep me thinking for some time to come. For as I read the book I became painfully aware that the main character, Boomer, is destined to live a life filled with angst, frustration and ultimately disappointment. And I imagine that most readers will feel as I did that the author has perhaps glimpsed a part of many of the baby boomers lives and written about them within the pages of this book. And how many of us born before the 60's, who lived through such interesting times on their way to maturity, have been disappointed with what has become of their lives and are now only too painfully aware of this. Expecting so much, its as if not only the boomer, but an entire generation found that all they hoped for sadly didn't materialize.
The Boomer is a short book written with few words and meaningful illustrations that had me sitting up and saying WOW! As a child of the 60's and baby boomer who walked on many protest lines throughout the years, the book at times made me sad to think of what happened to many of us as life caught up with us and sadly interfered. In a most clever manner, The Boomer, asks us to evaluate what went right or what went wrong. I did find that at the end there was a general feeling of sadness as to some of the things which may be passing by my generation today but if this was the point of the read, then Mr. Asher has done a fine job. And more important, The Boomer made me sit up and think about the direction of my life.
I did enjoy this book and do recommend it. I also hope that it will not only appeal to the baby boomers among us but also to older and younger people as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this up at the library, curious not because I'm a boomer but because my father is, and read it on the subway ride home. No book, no film, no artifice has ever left me feeling as disconsolate and crushed as The Boomer. The lesson, as I interpreted it, is this: Prolonged happiness is impossible, since success is empty, love fails you, and you can't outrun your growing capacity for pleasure and acquisition. I think cars are the only things in this book that are given names.
I can't articulate a rating for The Boomer. Three stars is an arbitrary selection. It affected me -- it wounded my interior. I see my father in it, and I know that he would see himself, and yet he has never cautioned me (as the book does not caution) against absorbing the disconnective malaise of his life. Sending him this book would be an act of terrorism.
On the subway ride home: how easy it was to read something so hard.
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By Lauregon on May 18 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a gem! Reminiscent in form of Ken Sparling's "Dad Says He Saw You At The Mall," this eentsy novel is the newest contribution to the genre known as "flash fiction" or "sudden fiction", or, as in the title of Jerome Stern's little book, "Micro-fiction." Chapters only a small page long tell the account of this boomer's life. Every jot and tittle relating to boomers that you've ever heard of is included here. The conceits, the preferences, the loves, the possessions, the pasttimes---they're all tucked into this tale. The main character---the boomer---for all this book is so abbreviated---is somehow oddly quite dimensional. He's also a sad, tragic character, whose life is disappointing, but the book is not. It's an amazing little jewel, a story of today, a sociological study---for better or worse--- of contemporary life. The illustrations are wonderful too.
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