By Joe Queenan
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670020638, 352pp.)
Publication Date: April 16, 2009
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A deeply funny and affecting memoir about a great escape from a childhood of poverty
Joe Queenan's acerbic riffs on movies, sports, books, politics, and many of the least forgivable phenomena of pop culture have made him one of the most popular humorists and commentators of our time. In Closing Time Queenan turns his sights on a more serious and personal topic: his childhood in a Philadelphia housing project in the early 1960s. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Closing Time recounts Queenan's Irish Catholic upbringing in a family dominated by his erratic father, a violent yet oddly charming emotional terrorist whose alcoholism fuels a limitless torrent of self-pity, railing, destruction, and late-night chats with the Lord Himself. With the help of a series of mentors and surrogate fathers, and armed with his own furious love of books and music, Joe begins the long flight away from the dismal confines of his neighborhood-with a brief misbegotten stop at a seminary-and into the wider world. Queenan's unforgettable account of the damage done to children by parents without futures and of the grace children find to move beyond these experiences will appeal to fans of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr, and will take its place as an autobiography in the classic American tradition.
Joe Queenan is the author of seven books and a regular contributor to The New York Times, Barron’s and The Los Angeles Times, a columnist for Chief Executive, and writes about movies and music for Great Britain’s The Guardian. Formerly an editor at Forbes and Spy, television critic at People, and a columnist at TV Guide, GQ, Smart Money, Men’s Health, Barron’s Online and Movieline, his stories have appeared in scores of national publications, including The New Republic, Time, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the New York Observer, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Us, Golf Digest, The Weekly Standard, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Vogue, Town & Country, Allure, and New York. His work has appeared overseas in The Independent, The Spectator, The Toronto Globe & Mail, the Times of London, and Bon. Queenan has been a guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman", "The Daily Show", "Today", "Good Morning, America", "Charlie Rose" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", a frequent guest on "Imus in the Morning", and appeared more than two-dozen times on "Politically Incorrect". He regularly writes and hosts radio features for the BBC, and for three years was host of the BBC weekly radio program "Postcard from Gotham". In 2005, he won a Sports Emmy for his work on HBO’s "Inside the NFL". He is married, with two children, and lives in Tarrytown, N.Y.