1. At age 26, Robert Timberg was a handsome young man in uniform. That was before a land mine in Vietnam left him so disfigured that he terrified little children on the street. Dr. Lynn Ketchum, a respected plastic surgeon who did reconstructive surgery on many injured soldiers, wrote in his personal journal that he had many patients in his career with facial burns, but none as bad as Bob Timberg. Timberg’s new memoir, called Blue Eyed Boy, is the story of his long struggle to recover from his wounds and find his place in the civilian world.
Listen to the interview. 

    At age 26, Robert Timberg was a handsome young man in uniform. That was before a land mine in Vietnam left him so disfigured that he terrified little children on the street. Dr. Lynn Ketchum, a respected plastic surgeon who did reconstructive surgery on many injured soldiers, wrote in his personal journal that he had many patients in his career with facial burns, but none as bad as Bob Timberg. Timberg’s new memoir, called Blue Eyed Boy, is the story of his long struggle to recover from his wounds and find his place in the civilian world.

    Listen to the interview. 

  2. vietnam

    war

    veteran

    injury

    memoir

    interview

    fresh air

  1. It’s never easy to talk with aging parents about the end of life, but it was maybe particularly difficult for New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and her parents. Chast joined Fresh Air today to talk about her new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? In the interview she tells us about hiring a lawyer who specialized in talking about the difficult topics of death and money:

"This person was really good. And I think he was able to … somehow make them trust him enough that they could open up a little bit about things that they really never wanted to open up about, like money and talking about the future. I was there with them when he came over and we talked about things like health care proxy forms. Things I had never thought about, things I had never heard of. It was very, very helpful."



Image courtesy of Roz Chast/Bloomsbury View in High-Res

    It’s never easy to talk with aging parents about the end of life, but it was maybe particularly difficult for New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and her parents. Chast joined Fresh Air today to talk about her new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? In the interview she tells us about hiring a lawyer who specialized in talking about the difficult topics of death and money:

    "This person was really good. And I think he was able to … somehow make them trust him enough that they could open up a little bit about things that they really never wanted to open up about, like money and talking about the future. I was there with them when he came over and we talked about things like health care proxy forms. Things I had never thought about, things I had never heard of. It was very, very helpful."

    Image courtesy of Roz Chast/Bloomsbury

  2. roz chast

    cartoon

    aging

    death

    parents

    memoir

    fresh air

  1. Tony Dokoupil didn’t know his father was a drug-smuggler until he was almost 30. When he found out, he wanted to figure out the whole story. His new memoir is called The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, And The Golden Age of Marijuana. In today’s interview, he shares that story with us:

"In the late 1970s, 90 percent of the marijuana was coming into Florida. It was primarily Colombian, some of it was Jamaican. My father’s weed would be delivered to an old fishing shack in the [Florida] Keys. … It’s only one road that connects that necklace of islands and everyone knew that that was the road on which marijuana was smuggled into the country. So to smuggle on that road took an incredible amount of tolerance for risk.
So my father, despite being a partner in the operation, volunteered, for $25,000 a shot, to drive Winnebagos of weed out of the Keys and into America, just for the sheer thrill of it. He had no financial reason to do it. He had no operational reason to do it. … But by then he was addicted to the sensation of it, to the risk.


photo of Tony Dokoupil and his father via NY Daily News View in High-Res

    Tony Dokoupil didn’t know his father was a drug-smuggler until he was almost 30. When he found out, he wanted to figure out the whole story. His new memoir is called The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, And The Golden Age of Marijuana. In today’s interview, he shares that story with us:

    "In the late 1970s, 90 percent of the marijuana was coming into Florida. It was primarily Colombian, some of it was Jamaican. My father’s weed would be delivered to an old fishing shack in the [Florida] Keys. … It’s only one road that connects that necklace of islands and everyone knew that that was the road on which marijuana was smuggled into the country. So to smuggle on that road took an incredible amount of tolerance for risk.

    So my father, despite being a partner in the operation, volunteered, for $25,000 a shot, to drive Winnebagos of weed out of the Keys and into America, just for the sheer thrill of it. He had no financial reason to do it. He had no operational reason to do it. … But by then he was addicted to the sensation of it, to the risk.

    photo of Tony Dokoupil and his father via NY Daily News

  2. marijuana

    drug-smuggling

    tony dokoupil

    weed

    memoir

    interview

    fresh air

  1. 
"The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she’s so smart. Her first best quality — and one that’s far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she’s writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers’ minds."

That’s Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan speaking about Diane Johnson and her new memoir, Flyover Lives. Unlike many of her previous books (like Le Divorce and L’Affiare) that take place in Paris, Flyover Lives takes us to Johnson’s roots in the American Midwest.

You can read the review here.

image via Chicago Tribune  View in High-Res

    "The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she’s so smart. Her first best quality — and one that’s far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she’s writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers’ minds."

    That’s Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan speaking about Diane Johnson and her new memoir, Flyover Lives. Unlike many of her previous books (like Le Divorce and L’Affiare) that take place in Paris, Flyover Lives takes us to Johnson’s roots in the American Midwest.

    You can read the review here.

    image via Chicago Tribune 

  2. fresh air

    book review

    maureen corrigan

    diane johnson

    midwest

    memoir

    le divorce

  1. Gary Shteyngart is our guest today for his memoir Little Failure.

  2. fresh air

    gary shteyngart

    james franco

    little failure

    memoir

  1. Tomorrow Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston talks to Fresh Air about her new memoir, “A Story Lately Told,” (the first of two parts) focusing on her childhood and modeling career before Hollywood.
Her story begins with a barefoot runner delivering a telegram to her father, director John Huston while on the set of The African Queen deep in the Belgian Congo. Upon receiving the telegram, Huston shares the news of Anjelica’s birth with Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and his wife, actress Lauren Bacall.


No big deal…
Huston shares insights on her unusual childhood and coming-of-age in the cultural epicenter of New York in the ’70s.



image via the nowness View in High-Res

    Tomorrow Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston talks to Fresh Air about her new memoir, “A Story Lately Told,” (the first of two parts) focusing on her childhood and modeling career before Hollywood.

    Her story begins with a barefoot runner delivering a telegram to her father, director John Huston while on the set of The African Queen deep in the Belgian Congo. Upon receiving the telegram, Huston shares the news of Anjelica’s birth with Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and his wife, actress Lauren Bacall.

    No big deal…

    Huston shares insights on her unusual childhood and coming-of-age in the cultural epicenter of New York in the ’70s.

    image via the nowness

  2. fresh air

    interview

    anjelica huston

    john huston

    the african queen

    hollywood

    katharine hepburn

    lauren bacall

    humphrey bogart

    memoir

  1. National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

 I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.


image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk View in High-Res

    National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

     I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.

    image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk

  2. fresh air

    interview

    jesmyn ward

    men we reaped

    national book award

    memoir

    death

    loss

    writing

  1. Tomorrow National Book Award winning writer Jesmyn Ward joins us to discuss her new memoir “Men We Reaped" a story of death, loss, and love. She reads from her book: 

This is where the past and the future meet. This is after the pit bull attack, after my father left and after my mother’s heart broke. This is after the bullies in the hallway, after the nigger jokes, after my brother told me what he’d done as we stood out on the street. This is after my father had six more children with four different women, which meant he had ten children total. This is after my mother stopped working for one White family who lived in a mansion on the beach and began working for another White family who lived in a large house on the bayou. This is after I’d earned two degrees, a crippling case of homesickness, and a lukewarm boyfriend at Stanford. This is before Ronald, before C.J. This is before Demond, before Rog. This is where my two stories come together. This is the summer of the year 2000. This is the last summer I will spend with my brother. This is the heart. This is. Every day, this is. 

image via the Australian View in High-Res

    Tomorrow National Book Award winning writer Jesmyn Ward joins us to discuss her new memoir “Men We Reaped" a story of death, loss, and love. She reads from her book:

    This is where the past and the future meet. This is after the pit bull attack, after my father left and after my mother’s heart broke. This is after the bullies in the hallway, after the nigger jokes, after my brother told me what he’d done as we stood out on the street. This is after my father had six more children with four different women, which meant he had ten children total. This is after my mother stopped working for one White family who lived in a mansion on the beach and began working for another White family who lived in a large house on the bayou. This is after I’d earned two degrees, a crippling case of homesickness, and a lukewarm boyfriend at Stanford. This is before Ronald, before C.J. This is before Demond, before Rog. This is where my two stories come together. This is the summer of the year 2000. This is the last summer I will spend with my brother. This is the heart. This is. Every day, this is.

    image via the Australian

  2. fresh air

    interview

    jesmyn ward

    men we reaped

    memoir

    mississippi

    national book award

  1. Novelist Kate Christensen, author of the memoir Blue Plate Special, talks to Dave Davies about exposing her father’s abuse:

I remember looking up at the group of grownups [at a dinner party], and feeling an upwelling of anger at my father. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I don’t even know where it came from, what caused me to blurt out, ‘My father hit my mother and she cried,’ to the group.
And there was a silence, and my father was ashen, and there was a sort of collective in-drawing of breath from the people in the group, and I realized that was just not cool, what I had just said. And on the way home my father yelled at me for it, and said, ‘Don’t ever do that again! Don’t ever say something like that in front of my friends! You just really embarrassed me, and everyone was horrified and you should never do that again.’
And my feeling wasn’t righteousness or pride in having told the truth, it was horror that I had committed such a faux pas, and that if things like that happened you just weren’t supposed to talk about them. And you certainly weren’t supposed to announce it at a dinner party.”

Image via Paper Magazine

    Novelist Kate Christensen, author of the memoir Blue Plate Special, talks to Dave Davies about exposing her father’s abuse:

    I remember looking up at the group of grownups [at a dinner party], and feeling an upwelling of anger at my father. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I don’t even know where it came from, what caused me to blurt out, ‘My father hit my mother and she cried,’ to the group.

    And there was a silence, and my father was ashen, and there was a sort of collective in-drawing of breath from the people in the group, and I realized that was just not cool, what I had just said. And on the way home my father yelled at me for it, and said, ‘Don’t ever do that again! Don’t ever say something like that in front of my friends! You just really embarrassed me, and everyone was horrified and you should never do that again.’

    And my feeling wasn’t righteousness or pride in having told the truth, it was horror that I had committed such a faux pas, and that if things like that happened you just weren’t supposed to talk about them. And you certainly weren’t supposed to announce it at a dinner party.”

    Image via Paper Magazine

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Kate Christensen

    Blue Plate Special

    Memoir

    Domestic Abuse

  1. When you say I was a victim I say, ‘Was I?’ I don’t really identify that way. I see it as, I was a young girl far from home, and this man, he liked to paw me, repeatedly. But … I didn’t allow myself to be upset by it. I didn’t allow myself to really feel the full extent of the rage that might’ve been a more appropriate response than the passivity and the silence that I met it with.

    — Author Kate Christensen tells Dave Davies about being molested by one of her high school teachers

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Kate Christensen

    Blue Plate Special

    Memoir

  1. Maureen Corrigan on the role of Elsa Schiaparelli in writer Patricia Volk’s new memoir Shocked:

Volk’s own memoir zig-zags between the two titanic female figures — her mother and Schiaparelli — who impressed their ideas of beauty and womanhood on her. Schiaparelli was one of those “ugly-beautiful” women who make their mark through the force of personality and imagination. An intimate of Surrealist artists like Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali, Schiaparelli blurred the lines between art and fashion. Inspired by Dali’s loony recreation of the Venus de Milo with drawers, “Schap” as she was called, designed a women’s skirt suit with drawers and hardware for pockets.


Elsa Schiaparelli by Andre Durst, 1936

    Maureen Corrigan on the role of Elsa Schiaparelli in writer Patricia Volk’s new memoir Shocked:

    Volk’s own memoir zig-zags between the two titanic female figures — her mother and Schiaparelli — who impressed their ideas of beauty and womanhood on her. Schiaparelli was one of those “ugly-beautiful” women who make their mark through the force of personality and imagination. An intimate of Surrealist artists like Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali, Schiaparelli blurred the lines between art and fashion. Inspired by Dali’s loony recreation of the Venus de Milo with drawers, “Schap” as she was called, designed a women’s skirt suit with drawers and hardware for pockets.

    Elsa Schiaparelli by Andre Durst, 1936

  2. elsa+schiaparelli

    Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Maureen Corrigan

    Patricia Volk

    Shocked

    Andre Durst

    Books

    Memoir

  1. Charles Rowan Beye is a professor who’s been married three times - to two women and a man. From Maureen Corrigan’s review of his new memoir “My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man’s Odyssey”:

    Eventually, however, even Beye’s mother couldn’t blink away his budding homosexuality. Beye was in junior high and enjoying a limited menu of sexual adventures with mostly straight boys, when the local Episcopal priest informed Beye’s mother that her son’s name was scrawled, along with a sexual slur, on a men’s room wall. Mother promptly dispatched her wayward son to a psychiatrist who — counter to almost every other psychiatrist in every work of gay literature ever written — turns out to be a compassionate man. The shrink simply counsels the 15-year-old Beye to be more discreet.

    Things take an even more unexpected turn when Beye meets an intellectually sparkling woman named Mary in college and, at the end of their first hour of conversation in a drugstore booth, Beye looks at her and declares: “This has been great … I think we should get married.” At 21, he had never slept with a woman. Nevertheless they do marry, happily, and when Mary suddenly dies of a freak heart condition a few years later, Beye remarries and fathers four children — all along maintaining his core identity as a gay man and enjoying an abundant sex life, described in great fleshy detail here, with gay and straight men.

  2. Charles Rowan Beye

    Maureen Corrigan

    sexuality

    memoir

  1. When Jess Goodell worked in the Marine Corps’ first Mortuary Affairs Unit in Iraq, she had to gather the remains of fallen soldiers, inventory what was in their pockets, and identify the bodies.

    Her new memoir "Shade it Black: Death and After in Iraq," describes how her immersion in death affected her life when she returned home.

    Tuesday on Fresh Air: Jess Goodell

  2. author

    iraq war

    memoir

    npr