Surfing Armageddon

Book Reviews | Dec 13th, 2007

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Author: George Tabb
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Genre: Biography
Pages: 280
Retail Price: 9.99
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George Tabb’s first book, Playing Right Field, was a simultaneously funny and heartbreaking account of his childhood in Connecticut. That book follows Tabb’s early life as an outsider – the seemingly lone Jew in Greenwich, CT – whose suffering at the hands of his classmates was a pleasant diversion compared to his home life.

Surfing Armageddon picks up where Playing Right Field leaves off, with a teenage Tabb and his dysfunctional family moving to Florida so his sadistic father could realize his whacked-out dream of recreating the Tara plantation from Gone With The Wind. Tabb, meanwhile, now faces the awkwardness and humiliations of high school life, his problems compounded by an idiot-like naivety toward sex and drugs, and again being the only Jew – and also now a hated northern Yankee – in the vicinity.

Tabb’s stories are poignant and sometimes wrenching, but often tempered by cringe-worthy comedy. It’s trademark Tabb – a mix of sadness and sweetness, frank honesty and funny self-deprecation, and a remarkable memory for the details that tell an engaging narrative. Tabb’s style also hasn’t changed – he writes with short sentences and paragraphs, sometimes only one-word long, which can either sound endearingly child-like or like an irritating hiccup. But it’s clearly his voice and you’ll read it just as he tells it – with tears and laughter.

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