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book review: "Growing Up"...

Monday, June 20, 2016
... by well known writer  Russell Baker. This book was printed in 1984, so it's not new news. It was apparently a best seller, when published, and won a Pulitzer Prize for biography. Baker worked first for The Baltimore Sun, and then The New York Times, at one point covering the White House for the Times.

I went to the library last week, visited the resale shop run by 'Friends of', to find some easily portable, inexpensive reading material. Preparing to leave town for a few days and needing to know I will have printed matter readily available. I read myself to sleep every night, so am intentionally deliberate about not ever running out of books or magazines.

He starts the story telling about family history, sharing background about grandparents and how they met. He relates of how desperately his mother insisted he should 'make something of himself' from his earliest years. As a child, she pushed him into selling and delivering the Saturday Evening Post, from a canvas sack slung over his shoulder. Baker readily admits he met with limited success due to a marked lack of interest and enthusiasm for knocking on doors. His mother sent his younger sister out with him, when he came in reporting no one wanted to purchase the magazines.Whereupon small but highly aggressive Doris put his salesmanship to shame.

When he wrote a paper as a youngster, for an assignment in school that was well received and showed his mom, she began to encourage him into journalism. His mother, delighted to find  something he seemed to have a bent for, began to suggest he could 'make something of himself' writing as a profession. Which lead him down the path of wordsmithing. Apparently a good choice, as he has had a very successful career. I think I remember he has published other books?

I'm not very far into the book, only on page 135. But thoroughly entertained.


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