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The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s Audiobook

The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s

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Publisher's Summary

Boomers and Bullies

In The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s, critically acclaimed author Daniel Altieri has turned his attentions to something completely different - a foray into an East Coast childhood of the Eisenhower era. The Death of Fernie is a free-spirited tale with special resonance for the postwar generation, who grew up in that time of imagination and awakening. It's written mainly from the point of view of the boys, preadolescents in the scary post-grammar-school world. A tale of bullies and abuse, of rich flights of imagination and reflection, when phones dialed, there were three channels on TV, and flying saucers hovered everywhere.

It's 1958 in rural Connecticut, and three boys between 10 and 11 years old - Tommy (from a stable, "normal" family), Jose (Hispanic, Catholic), and Jimmy (underfed child of a poor, single, alcoholic mother, has a severely retarded sister) - have been pals since first grade. But it's September, and the safe, cozy innocence of elementary school is behind them. Now they must enter the scary, new world of junior high school. In their small New England mill town, every kid from whatever side of the tracks goes to this same big school: kids from green-lawned houses where mothers put clear plastic on the lampshades and carpets, kids from houses where dilapidated sofas and car parts clutter the sagging porches and sumac-overgrown yards - it doesn't matter; they all get tossed together in a survival-of-the-fittest way. It's a hard time for our three pals. And it's about to get harder.

Daniel Altieri is the coauthor of several international best sellers: The Court of the Lion, Iron Empress, and Shangri-La: The Return to the World of Lost Horizon.

©2015 Daniel Altieri (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

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  •  
    Socratic Eclectic 04-18-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful Remembering of Times Past"
    What did you love best about The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s?

    The book brought back my own memories of growing up. The story pulls you along a nostalgic trail but with the foreshadowing of menace all around at the same time


    What other book might you compare The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s to and why?

    A bit of J.D. Salinger combined with a dash of Hemmingway's Nick Adams stories.


    What does Clay Lomakayu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The reading brings the book alive as you hear the characters speaking and feel the tension in the action.


    If you could take any character from The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Jose. He seems more sensitive, somehow less street smart, but very wise underneath all that.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the audible book so much that I went ahead and purchased a paper copy on Amazon.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-18-15
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    "Great evocative writing!"

    The author has really captured what it was like to be a young boy in the 50s. The story draws you in from start to finish, and the narrator definitely does the story justice. A great read!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jel 05-09-15
    Jel 05-09-15
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    "Enchanting"
    Where does The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best yet


    What about Clay Lomakayu’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful. Could listen to him all day.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    laughed and cried - that's what growing up is


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mitch 05-06-15
    mitch 05-06-15
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    "Fantastic! What a listen!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s the most enjoyable?

    There was a wonderful sense of being there with these children. A distance that disappeared between listener and performer and performer and writer... a sense of
    immediacy that only some great and descriptive and poetic writing can achieve. There was also a softness yet emotional range and power in this narrator's delivery. And it was
    also the flow, the sheer sense of movement from one day to the next--the passage of time as it came through the pages of this little book.


    What other book might you compare The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s to and why?

    Truman Capote's Other Voices Other Rooms and a little bit like Flannery O'Connor's incredible recreation of the gruff characters and voices in all her works.


    What does Clay Lomakayu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator's emotional range and sense of the experience on the pages before him.
    I really liked his treatment of the epilogue--a sadness and melancholy that came through; and I Ioved the short story Frankie. I felt this guy, too, but indirectly. Not as much as I felt Jimmy's unspoken misery and the narrator's portrayal of Fernie's wretched and painful existence in the novel.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s and why?

    Jimmy-- he came through in so few remarks; and the dialogue created a picture of this little boy who wanted and needed so much more. Like the epilogue asked what would become of this bright little fellow . And the sadness and tragedy of seeing all his quirky knowledge and misguided adventure swatted away in the parking lot.


    Any additional comments?

    MAKE A MOVIE-- it's definitely time for another STAND BY ME... and this time with even
    younger kids and their imaginations.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrance 05-03-15
    Terrance 05-03-15
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    "Spectacular: A Tremendous Listen!"
    If you could sum up The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s in three words, what would they be?

    Alive and Real!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s?

    When the three little boys follow the sirens and flashes to the bottom of the mountain and realize the extent of the change that has come to their world. I am not going to give anything away. And you can't make me.


    What does Clay Lomakayu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has an amazing gift for storytelling. Picking out the slightest change in emotion or
    mood in the tale with the shifts in his voice, always subtle and almost imperceptible until you begin to feel what he is recreating for us.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Looking through the binoculars as Fernie rushes out of his house and hearing him over the distance.


    Any additional comments?

    Real shades of Twain and Harper Lee. Very sad and very funny. Immensely moving little book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 04-28-15
    Michael 04-28-15
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    "Wish I could have had a boyhood like this."
    What did you love best about The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s?

    I was born a little later and grew up in a big city. My parents were overprotective, so I never got to roam free like the kids in this story. And certainly I never played hooky and spent the day in the woods or climbing mountains. So this was a vicarious taste of what I missed. And wow, it was so real. I never knew a guy like Fernie, but now I do.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s?

    I think it's when Tommy knows he's free. Don't want to spoil it, but there's a moment of deep honesty Tommy experiences in the privacy of his head that you only get from really good writing.


    Have you listened to any of Clay Lomakayu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first.


    If you could take any character from The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    JJimmy. Poor hungry Jimmy.


    Any additional comments?

    Nostalgia for a boyhood I never had.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Nunn Mendocino, CA, USA 04-25-15
    D. Nunn Mendocino, CA, USA 04-25-15
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    "Altieri Does it Again!"
    If you could sum up The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s in three words, what would they be?

    A great listen!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I suppose it was Tommy as I had the most in common with him growing up. I grew up in California and am a bit younger than Tommy(I went to Junior High in the mid '60s) but I felt an affinity for his "normalcy".


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Anything to do with overcoming bullies always gets my attention, so I suppose I would start there.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh and it made me feel emotional. I love friendships of seemingly different kinds of people, so Death of Fernie hits you on those levels too. You can't help but relate.


    Any additional comments?

    I have enjoyed Daniel Altieri's works up till now a lot. For example The Court of the Lion is a real page turner. Fernie is completely different but the author's skills as a story teller are equally on display. I liked listening to Fernie and thinking about the 1950s in Connecticut as opposed to imagining Ancient China while reading. A different, but equally compelling experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Howard Ray 04-23-15
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    "Like being a boy again!"
    If you could sum up The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s in three words, what would they be?

    Trip in time


    What other book might you compare The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s to and why?

    To Kill a Mockingbird


    Which character – as performed by Clay Lomakayu – was your favorite?

    Jimmy


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed, cried and got angry!!!Mostly I just imagined how my own life was reflected in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Rekindling memories of my own life and experiences when I was the same age! The details are vivid and descriptive in a way that conjures long forgotten memories of events long forgotten!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corrine 04-22-15
    Corrine 04-22-15
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    "It was like being a kid again myself..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s the most enjoyable?

    I like the way the story, though it centers around a group of preadolescent boys, gives a glimpse of the lives of the mostly working-class grownups--parents, teachers, cops, etc.--all around them.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Definitely Jimmy. a miniature tragic hero.


    Have you listened to any of Clay Lomakayu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Have not had the previous pleasure.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    You can't help but feel sad for Fernie.


    Any additional comments?

    Kids... you gotta love 'em, right? This audiobook in Mr. Lomakayu's hands (well, vocal cords and emotions) is one tremendous listen. It's both funny and sad, sounds like the old neighborhood. Talk about being transported--Scotty and Kirk haven't got anything on this travel in time. I really felt I knew these characters, the good the bad and the ugly, which poor Fernie appears to be, right down to his dirty shirt, empty lunchbag, beaten face and half pack of cigarettes. This book nails it all. I grew up around the same time, when kids roamed free and got into all kinds of scrapes and adventures, and not so far from this rural Connecticut setting, in upstate NY, so I should know. I can just about smell the air. Classic stuff, and and a must-read for the Google generation that may have spent their entire childhoods indoors and missed it all...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Mendocino, CA USA 04-16-15
    Jay Mendocino, CA USA 04-16-15
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    "Attention, Baby Boomers, or anyone who was a kid!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely. It's an ideal story for listening, because the language is so evocative and descriptive.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The human complexity of it. It's a timeless story of bullying (among other things), but the author has seen to it that we, the readers (listener, in this case), get a taste of the bully's private pain, and experience paradoxical pangs of sympathy for him. This is grownup stuff, skillfully presented in a story about little boys.


    Have you listened to any of Clay Lomakayu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't. This was my first.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Death of Fernie: The Best Little Book Ever Written About Real Little Boys in the 1950s and why?

    Tommy, the narrator and main POV, is the one we get to know best, and he is on a steep learning curve as he comes of age in this story. But then there's Fernie himself, truly a "lost boy," of the sort all of us have known: Born unlucky, never had a break, short life, gone...


    Any additional comments?

    The author has skillfully woven in a parallel story of sorts in the form of excerpts from sensational pulp science fiction novels of the era, shoplifted by Tommy and his pals, making them hard-won treasures to be savored. There's soaring escapism in these outer-space tales, and plenty of sly humor as well. The contrast between the preposterous adventures of scientists and astronauts light-years from earth and way in the future contrasts wonderfully with the completely real 1950s Connecticut small-town life of this band of boys. There's another character in this book, not even human, which figures prominently. That's all I'm going to tell you!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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