audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ A Confessional
By Isaac Fitzgerald
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER USA TODAY BESTSELLER Winner of the New England Book Award for Nonfiction "The best of what memoir can accomplish . . . pulling no punches on the path to truth, but it always finds the capacity for grace and joy." -Esquire, "Best Memoirs of the Year" A TIME Best Book of the Season * A Rolling Stone Top Culture Pick * A Publishers Weekly Best Memoir of the Season * A Buzzfeed Book Pick * A Goodreads Readers' Most Anticipated Book * A Chicago Tribune Book Pick * A Boston.com Book You Should Read * A Los Angeles Times Book to Add to Your Reading List * An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Month Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives-or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self. Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others. Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline. "Fitzgerald nestles comfortably on a bar stool beside writers like Kerouac, Bukowski, Richard Price and Pete Hamill . . . The book's charm is in its telling of male misbehavior and, occasionally, the things we men get right. The fights nearly all come with forgiveness. It is about the ways men struggle to make sense of themselves and the romance men too often find in the bottom of a bottle of whiskey . . . an endearing and tattered catalog of one man's transgressions and the ways in which it is our sins, far more than our virtues, that make us who we are." -New York Times Book Review "Isaac Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays is a bighearted read infused with candor, sharp humor, and the hope that comes from discovering saints can be found in all sorts of places." -Rolling Stone, "Top Culture Picks of the Month" "Dirtbag, Massachusetts is the best of what memoir can accomplish. It's blisteringly honest and vulnerable, pulling no punches on the path to truth, but it always finds the capacity for grace and joy." -Esquire, "Best Memoirs of the Year" "Told without piety or violin strains of uplift, but rather, an embrace of the chaos of just getting by." -Chicago Tribune, "Books for Summer 2022: Our Picks" "Fitzgerald reflects on his origins-and coming to terms with self-consciousness, anger, and strained family relationships. His writing is gritty yet vulnerable." -TIME, "27 New Books You Need to Read This Summer" "Fitzgerald never stopped searching for a community that would embrace him. That search took him from San Francisco to Burma (now Myanmar), and he candidly shares the formative experiences that helped him put aside anger to live with acceptance and understanding." -Washington Post, "12 Noteworthy Books for July" "Fitzgerald's project of openhearted self-interrogation still feels refreshing in a culture where men are socialized to bury their pain, or worse, turn it back on the world as misplaced resentment . . . In their casual, looping...