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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The 731 Legacy | Main | Bete, Tim: Guide to Pirate Parenting »

Madigan, Tim: I'm Proud of You

  

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Gotham Books © 2006, 196 pages
4 stars

In the fall of 1995 Tim Madigan interviewed Fred Rogers for an article he was writing on TV violence for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It turned out to be the beginning of a friendship--mostly conducted long distance, by email and phone--that would profoundly affect Madigan and would last until Mister Rogers' death early in 2003. In I'm Proud of You Madigan discusses Mister Rogers' role in his life during their seven-year friendship, explaining how Rogers' support and unconditional love helped him through problems with his marriage and his brother's untimely death from lung cancer. Madigan quotes liberally from Rogers' correspondence and from their conversations, both of which are infused with Rogers' spirituality: Mister Rogers was an ordained minister, and references to prayer and God were a staple of his communication.

[INSET TEXT: I am of a cynical bent, and find it difficult to believe in the possibility of--or even the desirability of--unconditional love (with an exception granted for one's children).] By all accounts, Fred Rogers was possessed of an otherworldly goodness. It's impossible to come away from Madigan's account or other write-ups of Mister Rogers unimpressed.

"I had always hated to swim, but didn't have the heart to say so then. So Fred led me into the club's locker room, introduced me to the attendant and a few of his other friends, found me a swimsuit that would fit, then quickly and unselfconsciously stripped off his clothes. On the way to the pool with a towel over his shoulder, he stepped on a locker room scale and smiled. 

"'One-four-three,' he said. 'I've weighed exactly one hundred and forty-three pounds for as long as I can remember. Did you know that in sign language that means, 'I love you'? One finger for I; four fingers for love; three fingers for you. Isn't that wonderful?'"

He was, Madigan's book makes clear, constantly thoughtful, apparently always on the lookout for a means of expressing his support to his friends, and to their friends and family.

Madigan's life was much improved by his relationship with Mister Rogers, particularly since the friendship straddled such rough patches in Madigan's life. Madigan is honest about those difficulties, and quite willing to expose his vulnerability. Indeed, his account is so honest it sometimes feels as if the author has rubbed his raw wounds on the page. I wouldn't do it, certainly, and, truth be told, I'm tempted to feel embarrassment on his behalf. The title of the book, for example, is a reference to Fred Rogers' response to a letter Madigan wrote him in 1996, explaining how he craved acceptance from his father as a child and that he was still looking for acceptance from a father figure:

"That is the question I have of you this morning, Fred. Will you be proud of me? It would mean a great deal to me if you would. I have come to love you in a very special way. In your letters, and during our brief time together in Pittsburgh, you have done so much to teach me how to be a person and a man. And now I have this favor to ask of you. 

"Will you be proud of me?"

I am of a cynical bent, and find it difficult to believe in the possibility of--or even the desirability of--unconditional love (with an exception granted for one's children). So I confess that the intensity of the relationship between these two men strikes me as strange. But the book offers an interesting look at the sort of man Fred Rogers was, from someone with a unique perspective on the subject.

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Comments

1.

Hey, my name is Raechel and I run a book review website too. It's called Bookarazzi. The url is http://bookarazzi.blogspot.com. I was just checking out other reviews and I saw your site. Hope you check out mine!




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.