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Download Too Good to Be True: A Memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Too Good to Be True: A Memoir, by Benjamin Anastas Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (235 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Anastas Narrator: Tim Lundeen Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781469207605
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When he was three, in the early 1970s, Benjamin Anastas found himself in his mother’s fringe-therapy group in Massachusetts, a sign around his neck: Too Good to Be True. The phrase haunted him through his life, even as he found the literary acclaim he sought after his 1999 novel, An Underachiever’s Diary, had made the smart set take notice. Too Good to Be True is his deeply moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity—and the first, cautious steps taken toward piecing a life back together.

“It took a long time for me to admit I had failed,” Anastas begins. Broke, his promising literary career evaporated, he’s hounded by debt collectors as he tries to repair a life ripped apart by the spectacular implosion of his marriage, which ended when his pregnant wife left him for another man. Had it all been too good to be true? Anastas’ fierce love for his young son forces him to confront his own childhood, fraught with mental illness and divorce. His father’s disdain for money might have been in line with the ’70s zeitgeist—but what does it mean when you’re dumping change into a Coinstar machine, trying to scrounge enough to buy your son a meal? Charged with rage and despair, humor and hope, this unforgettable book is about losing one’s way and finding it again and about the redemptive power of art.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 2/10/2014

    " It started out well but floundered toward the end. I felt like telling the author to get a job, for cryin' out loud. You have a son to support. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abbey | 2/3/2014

    " started slow, and a little too self-depricating, but ended up redeeming itself in the end. I hope this author has found a path. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia | 2/1/2014

    " This was a sad book really. Ending on an equally sad note. That said, the author captured the despair of "failing," in a writer's life. A little dark but one could definitely feel what it must have been like to be down so low. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara Molinaro | 1/29/2014

    " Good grief, what a pity party. I'm still not sure what Anastas thinks he is owed in life, but in this memoir, I found it impossible to empathize with his predicament(s) as his arrogance is basically seeping through the pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randy | 1/25/2014

    " I don't read too many memoirs these days as they too often are either redundant or overly sentimental or too much navel-gazing, but this memoir got intriguing reviews and the reading lived up to the hype. Not too anything, Anastas takes us on a journey of his adult life as a reflection of his childhood, and rather than a telling of his experience we travel with him as he discovers who and why he is the man he is and the man he wishes to be. Smart, clever, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, often touching but never sappy, I read the book in almost one sitting [largely because of a long wait at an airport] and delighted in staying in his story. It's also an especially telling view of the hardships of the writer's life, which some of us know too well, even those, like the author, who has published to good reviews, and who has an agent, and a publisher and writing "cred" and nonetheless ends up broke, in debit, in despair, and in the grip of writer's block until he tells his own story. The best way to reveal this lovely memoir is to let the author/subject speak: "How much of our lives do we write, and how much of them are written for us? I've been thinking about this problem lately, looking back over the trail that brought me to this place, and reading my progress at every step along the way - as adrift as I have been from the usual compass points, as unaware of my direction - for signs of an author, for the fingerprints left behind by some great invisible hand. My life is not a story. It has never been a story, not for me, not even while I've been taking great pains with this testament to tell it truthfully on the page. I am in too deep to call it a story... I can say this: there is something in me that has wasted too much time in longing, an instinct that has whispered in my ear, tugged me by the sleeves, kept me circling back into the pages of a story that I didn't write myself." If you have an interest in the impact of eccentric families and family trauma, if you have an interest in how people develop, or not, into maturity, or if you simply enjoy a story well told, you will like this memoir. A page turner of good writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 1/22/2014

    " My sister reserved this book at the library (as she does most of the books I read). So when I picked it up from the library I read it. Not a book I would normally choose. It was ok. It was well enough written that I read it but I did kind of wonder how someone that had that big an issue with money wasn't going for credit counseling instead of personal counseling. And I'm just not literary enough to get the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia Harrison | 1/13/2014

    " Loved this memoir about being a struggling writer. He puts the truth out there. After 2 well reviewed novels he is still an adjunct college prof making $24,000. While, I, OTOH, also pubbed two novels to no national acclaim and am an adjunct who might have made $24,000 in my best year. It's good to be married to the love of your life who has a good job and good insurance or have a patron if you want to write. I felt bad for him, loved how he pulled himself together to be a good dad, loved the retro $9.99 price on Kindle. But it was too short! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawna | 1/10/2014

    " Bleak, beautiful and concise. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Corinne | 12/5/2013

    " I'm not a writer, I suppose if I was I would be able to appreciate the struggle. it was like watching /reading a train wreak of despair. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marian | 11/21/2013

    " Uneven. Some of the chapters worked, and others floundered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 9/9/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. The first quarter his humor on the situation draws you in, then in the second quarter it gets real. It gets real sad after that but the last part is beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nellie | 8/12/2013

    " Loved the brutal honesty of the book. Also great was the vivid imagery of Brooklyn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aura | 8/3/2013

    " Kinda disappointing. I had read a lot of reviews of this book and had expectations. While the story was definitely intriguing and honest in its account of the author's failures, I didn't feel much emotion toward him. I felt for his kid and girlfriend but something felt detached in his telling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 7/24/2013

    " Reminiscent of Nick Flynn. I didn't find myself caring very much about the central premise. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tara | 7/11/2013

    " Self-indulgent, limp, un-edited. Not worth the time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaqi | 3/19/2013

    " Memoir of Ben's failures as a romantic partner and wage earner, with lots of hand wringing over his performance as a father. A quick read, but the book lacked focus and the transitions were poorly executed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marc | 12/13/2012

    " Powerful, heartbreaking and painful. It brings a much needed male perspective to going through a divorce and trying to rebuild your life. Highly recommended. "

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