Fred A Levy Haskell (fredcritter) wrote,
Fred A Levy Haskell

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James Thurber, The Years With Ross

I found James Thurber's The Years With Ross on my mother's bookshelf when I was visiting the other day and asked if I could borrow it. It didn't particularly surprise me to see it there -- I grew up in a home where the current issue of The New Yorker was always on the coffee table.

I think this book's weakness is also its strength -- it's thoroughly episodic and anecdotal. Its weakness in that I found it hard to get any over-all sense of anything and because I really prefer to be able to get into the "flow" of a book; its strength because Thurber is just so darned good with anecdotes, short descriptions, and clever turns of phrase. I kept wanting to read passages aloud to whoever happened to be around, although I (mostly) restrained myself. Come to think of it, I guess by the end I was able to put together some sort of mental image of Harold W. Ross, so I guess the book fulfilled its purpose, even though the way it got there was somewhat frustrating to me.

The other problem I had was, having been only slightly more than two years old when Ross died, I am not familiar with some of the key people and events Thurber refers to sketchily, as if "Everybody who read this will surely know about...." I almost want an annotated version!

In all, I'd have to say it was well worth reading.

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