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Cover for Do-Over!


In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments

Robin Hemley


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Robin Hemley's childhood made a wedgie of his memory, leaving him sore and embarrassed for over forty years. He was the most pitiful kindergartner, the least spirited summer camper, and dateless for prom. In fact, there's nary an event from his youth that couldn't use improvement. If only he could do them all over a few decades later, with an adult's wisdom, perspective, and giant-like height . . .

In the spirit of cult film classics like Billy Madison and Wet Hot American Summer, in Do-Over! Hemley reencounters papier-mâché, revisits his childhood home, and finally attends the prom -- bringing readers the thrill of recapturing a misspent youth and discovering what's most important: simple pleasures, second chances, and the forgotten joys of recess.

Praise For Do-Over!: In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments

"Robin Hemley may not be able to play Greensleeves on the recorder, but he does know how to write a highly entertaining book." —A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

"An utterly beguiling attempt to recover the past not by remembering it but by physically occupying it, or at least trying to."—David Shields, author of The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

"Do-Over! is one of the funniest, wisest, most perfectly observed books I've ever read.  Robin Hemley possesses a keen insight into the all-too-human wish to rectify our past mistakes.  He also knows that we are better for having made them."-Bernard Cooper, author of The Bill From My FatherBernard Cooper, author of The Bill From My Father

"While it is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, what makes this book so absolutely endearing is the honesty and tender, humane insight of the author, and his reluctant, hard-won willingness to forgive his former self.  A screwball premise winningly pulled off, "Do-Over" should charm readers everywhere." -Phillip Lopate,  author of Portrait of My Body     

"Robin Hemley is on my very short list of writers I not only wish to read, not only need to read, but downright can't wait to read.  Do-Over! is quintessential Hemley, full of wit and invention and brilliant language and warm humanity and when you least expect it-mid-bellylaugh, mid-bon mot-he will sneak up on you with a dazzlingly smart, deep-cutting insight into human nature.  Do-Over! is an instant classic."-Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Little, Brown and Company, 9780316020602, 336pp.

Publication Date: May 11, 2009

About the Author

Robin Hemley is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on DO-OVER!. He has published seven books, and his stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and many literary magazines and anthologies.

Robin received his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop; he currently directs the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City, IA.