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House Of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home (2011)

by Mark Richard(Favorite Author)
3.77 of 5 Votes: 4
038551302X (ISBN13: 9780385513029)
Nan A. Talese
review 1: I received House of Prayer as an Early Reviewer book. I signed up for it originally because the tag line is 'A Writer's Journey Home,' and I always like to read writers writing about writing. House of Prayer, No 2, is indeed a memoir written by Hollywood screenwriter, Mark Richard, about his childhood and early adult years in the deep South. His childhood is colored by his problems with his hips, which cause him to go through awful treatments as doctors try to fix his bones. Lying in body casts, he is a vociferous reader, but once out of the casts, he becomes the kind of troublemaker that you warn your daughters away from. When I started reading House of Prayer, I had just finished Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, which is about Viet Nam. The styles were so very different. Ma... moretterhorn is written in the typical past tense while House of Prayer is written in the present tense. It was a jarring distinction and at first I didn't like it, and in fact, found it rather pretentious, but eventually it started to grow on me and by the time I reached the middle of the book, I didn't notice it anymore. I found myself sympathizing with the young Richard at the beginning of the book, deemed a "special' child by teachers, forced to endure agonizing remedies for his hips, and dealing with a father who grows increasingly cold. As Richard grew older, however, my sympathy started to wane. Each page related another story of rebellion and lawlessness, as Richard's life spirals out of control. At one point I remember thinking that I didn't really want to read anymore about a guy who couldn't follow the rules, caused himself and others a lot of grief, and then wrote about about it and got rewarded for being such a jerk. And then the story turned and became a story of redemption and it totally changed the way I thought of Richard and his book. Nicely done! Recommended!
review 2: Mark Richard, it wasn't you. It was me. I was simultaneously reading MOBY DICK, so you really never had a chance. I will note, though, that while I really enjoy your sentence constructing and quirky vocabulary and precise eye for shocking detail (a python attached to a baby's head! holy shit!), your breezy dealings with human relationships come off kinda glib and dismissive. That said, I love your short stories, The Ice At the Bottom of the World. But, This Wasn't You, Excellent. less
Reviews (see all)
One of the best memoirs I've every read. Poetic. Heart-breaking. Beautiful. Also, funny and sweet.
Fantastic book. I loved the unusual style. The writing and story telling was excellent.
Amazing story - I've read it three times, and each read was just as good as the first.
I couldn't even finish this book...not my cup if tea. Maybe I'll try it again later.
This is an amazing book!
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