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At Home in the World: A Memoir.

MAYNARD, Joyce.

1,693 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312195567 / ISBN 13: 9780312195564
Published by Picador [1998], New York, 1998
Hardcover
From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Small 4to. Black and grey paper over boards, pictorial dust jacket. xiv, 347pp. Pictorial endpapers. Fine/near fine. A tight and handsome first edition of this literary memoir about this writer's affair at age 18 with the 53-year-old J.D. Salinger. On the half-title page, Maynard pens "for Joyce" at the top in blue fineline, then draws a cartoonish smiling figure skater with arms aloft holding a flower; she does not sign, strangely, though her first name is incorporated into the inscription!. Bookseller Inventory # 35543

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Bibliographic Details

Title: At Home in the World: A Memoir.

Publisher: Picador [1998], New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Imprint. Acclaimed journalist and novelist Joyce Maynard writes about her extraordinary life, including the story of her year-long affair with the reculsive author of "Catcher in the Rye". J.D. Salinger. At the time of their relationship she was just eighteen and he, fifty three.

Review:

Joyce Maynard's memoir, At Home in the World, is an attempt to make peace with herself. At times, however, it's hard not to see it as an act of war--on her parents and, most notably, on J.D. Salinger. Maynard's account of her year-long relationship with the reclusive American writer is the centrepiece of the book and the publicity pivot on which it turns. And how not? She first encountered Salinger when he wrote her a fan letter following her world-weary but not necessarily wordly wise New York Times Magazine cover piece, "An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life." He was then 53 and, as Maynard paraphrases, wanted her "to know that I could be a real writer, if I would just look out for myself, as no other person is likely to."

By the time she was 19, she was living with the increasingly controlling Salinger and doing her best to adhere to his regimens, from homeopathy at any price to a mostly macrobiotic diet heavy on frozen peas What's worse, he does his best to turn the hugely driven young woman into a mistrusting, publicity-shy prig, not to mention helping her perfect her already anorexic bent. Maynard is such a skilled writer that it's hard not to take her side as the relationship falters. In fact, even when it's going well, it's not easy to sympathise with a man whose idea of an endearment is: "I couldn't have made up a character of a girl I'd love better than you."

But Maynard is as hard on her younger self as she is on the great man. Though she had published intimate essays since her early teens, and long been feted for her "honesty," it has taken the overachiever many years to realise that she had carefully left out her most personal burdens--her father's alcoholism, her mother's nighttime "snuggling" and overwhelming intrusions, the distance between her and her older sister.

Still,At Home in the World is more than a clearing house for past parental and amorous wrongs. It's a cautionary tale about using language and the pretence of truth to obscure key realities. --Kerry Fried

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