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Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electr Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electric, one-of-a-kind memoir.      From scheming and gambling with her force-of-nature grandmother, to brawling with eleven-year-old girls on the concrete recess battle yard of MS 172, to hours lounging on Adirondack chairs beside an immaculate croquet lawn, to holding court beside Joey O’Dirt, Goiter Eddy, and Roger the Dodger at her Dad’s local bar, Tara leapfrogs across these varied spheres, delivering stories from each world with originality, grit, and outrageous humor.   But The Clancys of Queens is not merely an authentic coming-of-age tale or a rowdy barstool biography. Chock-full of characters who escape the popular imaginings of this city, it offers a bold portrait of real people, people whose stories are largely absent from our shelves. Most crucially, it captures—in inimitable prose—the rarely-heard voices of New York’s working-class women.   With a light touch but a hard hit, The Clancys of Queens blends savvy and wit to take us on an unforgettable strata-hopping adventure.


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Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electr Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electric, one-of-a-kind memoir.      From scheming and gambling with her force-of-nature grandmother, to brawling with eleven-year-old girls on the concrete recess battle yard of MS 172, to hours lounging on Adirondack chairs beside an immaculate croquet lawn, to holding court beside Joey O’Dirt, Goiter Eddy, and Roger the Dodger at her Dad’s local bar, Tara leapfrogs across these varied spheres, delivering stories from each world with originality, grit, and outrageous humor.   But The Clancys of Queens is not merely an authentic coming-of-age tale or a rowdy barstool biography. Chock-full of characters who escape the popular imaginings of this city, it offers a bold portrait of real people, people whose stories are largely absent from our shelves. Most crucially, it captures—in inimitable prose—the rarely-heard voices of New York’s working-class women.   With a light touch but a hard hit, The Clancys of Queens blends savvy and wit to take us on an unforgettable strata-hopping adventure.

30 review for The Clancys of Queens: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    it takes a village borough to raise a child. queens, represent! yes, queens. and before you get all sniffy, you should know that queens was chosen as the #1 best u.s. travel destination, according to a 2015 lonely planet article. suck it, brooklyn! before this, i'd only read one other book celebrating queens: Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens, and it was ... very okay. this book, however, does queens proud, and the author is living proof that awesome people come outta queens*. (a it takes a village borough to raise a child. queens, represent! yes, queens. and before you get all sniffy, you should know that queens was chosen as the #1 best u.s. travel destination, according to a 2015 lonely planet article. suck it, brooklyn! before this, i'd only read one other book celebrating queens: Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens, and it was ... very okay. this book, however, does queens proud, and the author is living proof that awesome people come outta queens*. (and we'll just forget it's also where donald trump is from) racially profiling her based on her name, i assumed at least part of this book would take place in woodside, where i live, and which has historically been an enclave for irish immigrants. however, while her father is in fact irish-american, her upbringing and home(s)life was a unique one that throws demographic statistics out the window. clancy grew up as a rambunctious baby chameleon, splitting her time between three radically different homes: her father's trailer-sized converted boat shed in working-class broad channel (a neighborhood 20 blocks long and 4 blocks wide), bellerose - her grandparents' middle-class italian-american neighborhood; a tight-knit community where her grandparents' septuagenarian neighbors became her extended family, and her mother's boyfriend mark's immense estate in the hamptons, with its croquet court and lagoon-inspired pool. with the flexible adaptability of youth, clancy would be picked up from her father's working class neighborhood in a limo and, after having spent the weekend sharing the pullout couch, visiting her father's local bar and eating chicken fingers and maraschino cherries with people like 'goiter eddy' and 'joey o'dirt', she'd be shuttled off to see her mother, where fine dining, cocktail hour, and philosophical discussions while watching the sunset were a daily occurrence. in between these two extremes, she was being fed, yelled at in vulgar italian slang, and loved by a foul-mouthed, larger-than-life grandmother. her life was a mishmash of public schools and private planes, which is queens all over. one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, queens is the perfect atmosphere for the schizophrenic-seeming upbringing of a girl self-identifying as a "scatterbrained, disheveled imp." her writing is really fresh and voicey, and her stories are frequently hilarious, (even unintentionally, like when she mentions her "cheap Stuy Town apartment." those days are long gone, sister!) she's able to poke fun at her college affectations: By my sophomore year I was using the words hegemony and patriarchal in sentences (luckily, that shit was short-lived). And then, right before Christmas 1999, I did the thing all girls like me, no matter where they're from, do in college: a girl. not that lesbianism was an affectation for her, but along with pompous academic jargon, sexual experimentation is definitely a thing college kids try on, and it's a cute juxtaposition. but most especially funny are those situations where her disparate worlds collide, like the annual invasion of the bridgehampton estate by the horde of riccobonos, or when she applies the learned behaviors of one tara to the world of a different tara, as she does when her grandmother, on a trip to atlantic city, discovers that the hotel neglected to provide the complimentary basket o' treats to which she was entitled, and orders eleven-year-old tara to call the front desk and have them bring it up: The very first time she asked me to make that call, I was embarrassed and looking for a way out, so I asked, "Grams, why don't you just do it?" "Minchia! Why, she asks!? Why?! Because I don't talk nice, that's why! But you do! You call and you use the nice words, like Mastagotz taught you." I knew exactly what she meant, but I hadn't known that she, or anyone in my family, had noticed that I sounded different when I spoke with Mark, that I used "nice words," or that I dropped my accent as low as it could go. In fact, I don't think I was even aware that I did it, until right then. If I was indeed a little supergirl, able to jump social strata in a single bound, this was the first time I had been asked to hop into the phone booth, swap outfits, and use my powers in my civilian life. But, of course, I did as Grandma asked: "Good afternoon, I'm calling from Room 203. I don't mean to be a bother, but it seems we're missing our complimentary gift basket. Would it be possible for someone to send it up?" You bettah get right on it - otherwise my grandma's gonna come down there and rip your fucking heart out! "Thank you ever so much!" That was that - I broke superhero protocol for twelve bucks' worth of half-decent snacks. And it felt great. and this story, depicting the particular melting pot of the specialty foods section of c-town: I still remember shopping there with Grandma, back when I was in PS 133, when she spotted a box of jelly candies, technically Bhagat's Keshar Badam Halwa with Saffron, sitting next to the red tin cubes of Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno cookies. Grandma flagged down a lady in a sari. "Eh! These any good?" The lady nodded and smiled. "They are sweet." "I like sweet," Grandma said, throwing a box into her cart. "And these?" the woman in the sari asked, pointing at the tin boxes of cookies. "Sweet," Grandma said. So the lady took a box of those, as well - two people from very different parts of the world, brought together, if only for a second, by an exchange of their ridiculously cumbersomely named desserts. that's what it's like to live in queens, the borough of diversity this book is less a formally perfect example of the memoir genre, and more of a loosely-bound collection of anecdotes, but i think that her style suits the content much better than a linear transmission of experiences would. the loosey-goosey, rambling quality of it makes her voice that much more appealing and brings the stories into the realm of conversational/confessional where one story will lead to another in a way that makes sense without being a paint-by-numbers a to b to c narrative. it covers her childhood, adolescence, and college experiences; coming-of-age, coming out, goofing off and getting drunk, and in-between all of that is a genuinely touching, loving tribute to her family - both her genetic relatives and the people she picks up along the way who become her emotional family. reading this made me long to be part of this emotional family; to have a drink and a laugh shooting the shit with mizz tara clancy. she's the kind of cool girl you want to hang out and swap outrageous stories with over beers until the bars close. although, since she's a bartender, "closing time" might be extended, yeah? so, let's hang out, tara clancy! i'll just be sitting here in queens eating refried beans, waiting for your call. * i was not born here, just lived here for fifteen years, so i am most definitely not calling myself an awesome person. sadly, mos def is from brooklyn. also - those of you who read this far, there is a goodreads giveaway for this up until 9/30: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh... come to my blog!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    3.5 stars. It took me a while to warm up to The Clancys of Queens, but by the end I wanted to read more. It's essentially a coming of age memoir about Tara Clancy's life growing up in Queens in the 80s and 90s. Normally, I expect this type of memoir to focus on hardship -- dysfunctional families, poverty, addiction -- so it took me a while to realize that this book is really quite the opposite -- it's essentially a good humoured celebration of Clancy's family, friends and neighbourhood. Clancy c 3.5 stars. It took me a while to warm up to The Clancys of Queens, but by the end I wanted to read more. It's essentially a coming of age memoir about Tara Clancy's life growing up in Queens in the 80s and 90s. Normally, I expect this type of memoir to focus on hardship -- dysfunctional families, poverty, addiction -- so it took me a while to realize that this book is really quite the opposite -- it's essentially a good humoured celebration of Clancy's family, friends and neighbourhood. Clancy comes from an mixed Irish Italian background. Her parents divorced when she was two. She absolutely adores both parents -- warts and all. She reserves a special place for her grandmother who swore like a sailor. She pays tribute to her mother's wealthy long time boyfriend, who gave her a unique perspective for a kid growing up in working class Queens. She had a bunch of tough as nails girlfriends, and they all get a nod. And mostly she pays tribute to Queens as a culturally and economically diverse place that allowed her to grow up tough and smart. This was a quick fun read. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    3.75 Stars Tara Clancy spent the first two years of her life with both of her parents, but they split and then divorced before she could develop memories of their family together. After that, she divided her time between “middle-class” Bellerose, where her Grandparents and her Great-Aunt lived in their Italian-American community, the kind of place where “everybody knows your name” – and by extension who your family is. Every other weekend, Tara would spend with her NYPD warrant-squad father in a 3.75 Stars Tara Clancy spent the first two years of her life with both of her parents, but they split and then divorced before she could develop memories of their family together. After that, she divided her time between “middle-class” Bellerose, where her Grandparents and her Great-Aunt lived in their Italian-American community, the kind of place where “everybody knows your name” – and by extension who your family is. Every other weekend, Tara would spend with her NYPD warrant-squad father in a converted boat shed he rented in “working-class” Broad Channel, a relatively small island in Jamaica Bay, connected to Howard Beach area on one side and Seaside / Rockaway on the other, in close proximity to JFK. Their weekends together were typically spent hanging around the local Irish Pub, shooting the sh*t with the locals or with the Clancy clan, her father’s large Irish-American family. On the other every-other weekend, Tara was picked up after school by a limo driving her to the Bridgehampton, where her mother's boyfriend, Mark, and her mother would spend alternate weekends at his restored farmhouse, complete with a croquet court and a lagoon-inspired pool, which Mark had designed so that young Tara could have a pool. Three very disparate environments to some, but what they all had in common was Tara’s ability to accept them as they were. Each had their own draw, and in each location the draw was really more about spending time with Tara, listening to Tara than the perks involved. The “moon and stars talks” she has with Mark as the years go by were my favourite part of this book. These talks lead her to a different way of looking at things, a different viewpoint, and an appreciation of all the avenues life has to offer. They excite her and ignite her imagination. Her writing sounds like the best combination of three people, her grandmother’s seeming inability to go very long without yelling some profanity, typically in Italian, of course, but there are “translations” for those of you yet unaware of some of these. Alongside this is her grandmother’s unabashed willingness to bare all emotionally, when called for. One of those women we generally refer to as “larger than life.” Add in Mark’s calm, measured philosophical voice, a teacher’s voice, but in learning by thinking – not by doing. All that combined with his ability to love another woman’s child deeply. Then there’s the voice of Tara-the-child, who relays in impish glee her life’s journey – so far, that is. She’s still young. That impish glee in relaying all these tales of her youth is very present. What shines through, as well, is her strong love for her family and the place which she still calls home, even if she’s moved to Manhattan. A charming coming-of-age memoir, a loving tribute to her family, those she was born with and those who are her family by virtue of love, marriage, and a bond that is made of love. Pub Date: 11 Oct 2016 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Crown Publishing, NetGalley and author Tara Clancy

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    My dislike is my reaction to the book, not the author. That she wrote the book and is making something of her life is marvelous, but that has nothing to do with the value of the book or my reaction to it! Many people nowadays write books about themselves. This may be therapeutic to them but that doesn't make the books valuable to others. I think the book will appeal to a younger person more than to an adult. Lots of swearing. It is written in the language of a young person. It is almost a coming My dislike is my reaction to the book, not the author. That she wrote the book and is making something of her life is marvelous, but that has nothing to do with the value of the book or my reaction to it! Many people nowadays write books about themselves. This may be therapeutic to them but that doesn't make the books valuable to others. I think the book will appeal to a younger person more than to an adult. Lots of swearing. It is written in the language of a young person. It is almost a coming of age story, about leaving childhood and making something of one’s self. It is about successfully surmounting personal difficulties. The author is from large families both on her mother’s and her father's side. They are raucous and loud spoken and brash. She, the author, Tara, is unique in that she is an only child. In contrast, her parents can always rely on their parents and family. Family is important. She comes to live with her maternal, of Italian descent, grandmother and her relationship with her is important. I see Tara in her grandmother. These families, with all the cousins and aunts and uncles remained a blur to me. Yet even if diffuse to me, I sense they remain central to her and gave her a sense of security. I am much too insular to be able to relate to this. It is something foreign to me. When Tara's parents divorce and remarry issues of where she belongs arise. Every weekend she is off to a different home and place; her mother's new husband is floating in money, something she certainly wasn’t accustomed to before. Yet her sense of family, its inherent warmth and security, remains one I can scarcely grasp although important to her. The book is about her figuring out where she belongs and what she wants to do with her own life. The result is this book. The book also touches upon lesbian issues which may attract those readers who must learn how to cope with others' disapproval. Tara has in her mother wonderful support. The author reads her own book. There is a lot of screaming and swearing. Maybe I should call it raucous exuberance? I found it difficult to listen to over an extended period of time. On the whole, I couldn’t relate to the book and found it boring. The writing has no flair.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chadwick

    I'm pretty sure I'd stand in line to hear Tara Clancy read her grocery list. If you've never heard her tell a story, you simply must. Trust me on this. She is a storytelling marvel. You can find her on "The Moth," NPR, YouTube, and elsewhere. Or, better yet, you can listen to her read this book. THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS is a smart, tough, and tender memoir. And it's laugh-out-loud funny. (Literally. I received many strange looks as I walked around town, listening and giggling like a fool.) It's a warm I'm pretty sure I'd stand in line to hear Tara Clancy read her grocery list. If you've never heard her tell a story, you simply must. Trust me on this. She is a storytelling marvel. You can find her on "The Moth," NPR, YouTube, and elsewhere. Or, better yet, you can listen to her read this book. THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS is a smart, tough, and tender memoir. And it's laugh-out-loud funny. (Literally. I received many strange looks as I walked around town, listening and giggling like a fool.) It's a warm coming-of-age (and coming out) story set in 1980s and '90s Queens, filled with the ups and downs of her unruly Irish-Italian family and a large cast of friends and neighbors. It's not all a bed of roses -- there are hardships and heartache, struggles with drugs and alcohol, and devastating losses. But she's nothing if not resilient and adaptable. She's also the quintessential wise-cracking and unsentimental New Yorker, so even the low points of her story are told with wry humor. When she relates the deaths of loved ones, she makes us laugh as well as feel her pain. Things can get a bit manic and New-York-zany at times, but that's also part of the charm. The story zips along like Clancy talks: a mile a minute. Much of the material here has previously been part of her storytelling career or has appeared in print form, so the book runs the risk of becoming a collection of anecdotes: a bit disjointed and rough around the edges. But for the most part, it comes together nicely as a coherent whole. Clancy and her editor have done a good job of fashioning her stories into a nicely balanced and structured book. This is a fine first book, and I'm sure it would be a good read in print form. But, for me, the appeal was all in the audio version. I needed to *hear* this one, with that perfect accent, her impeccable comic timing, and the laughter in her voice. It's a delight, from beginning to end (even the "Acknowledgements" section is a treat when read by Clancy). Listen to this book if you get a chance. Or read a print copy. Either way, you won't regret it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This was a self-debate upon rating for me. It became 2.5 star rounded up for the humor. Not all the humor, some of the humor. I'm being charitable for my own usual standards in this case. So take it with a grain of salt. But it's also, that exact level of humor, a kind of Catch-22 disguised conundrum. When is too much, too much? The nearly constant hilarity becomes a stilted stylized mania of its own, IMHO! If you like old out-takes of Robin Williams doing his act on uppers, you'll like this boo This was a self-debate upon rating for me. It became 2.5 star rounded up for the humor. Not all the humor, some of the humor. I'm being charitable for my own usual standards in this case. So take it with a grain of salt. But it's also, that exact level of humor, a kind of Catch-22 disguised conundrum. When is too much, too much? The nearly constant hilarity becomes a stilted stylized mania of its own, IMHO! If you like old out-takes of Robin Williams doing his act on uppers, you'll like this book. I tend to want to take it only in very small doses. This one I read piecemeal with only taking a couple of chapters at a time. If I had not, it would have been rated 1 star. That "inside joke" of name dropping and fad or mod style naming/ connecting with interface for "cool"- gets old with me, REAL QUICK! There are some aspects of her memoir itself too, that I took as impossible or at the least terribly negligent in any real concern by numerous parental units. Especially with her Mother taking her to see the Mother's friend in L.A. It is beyond any believable scenario that her Mother would not have "noticed" what kind of place the shop was. And to leave her there alone with clients and customers coming in to purchase. As barely 14 and with Tara's type of risk/ outside edge/ extrovert history? That didn't happen that way. This reminds me of so many "making the story better" memoirs that abound. Very close to the "no wire hangers" abuse tales category. But this one was saved by the glimpses you see of her awareness of the clashes and the reactions to the different parental environments. She would have been better staying more of the time with the geriatric crowd. Many kids of divorce, especially girls, seem to seek a "Father", even if they know their Father fairly well. The Mark as mentor and stepfather model being set with "long talks" role? His inputs helped her want different things, I'm sure- influenced her path. But it would never had made such an intersect with her goals here- without the material perks of that economic impression of his estate. The outcome of his reversal in fortune by the time she was an adult and thus their association breaks, with the Mother too- that does not surprise me. From both directions- "the stuff" mattered- it's not all about "our finer natures" and philosophical debates here at all. That's something that most readers for this reaction won't understand, perhaps. Or perhaps I'm wrong. Some of you might. But that Tara self-realization helped me to get by some of the silliness of the rest. Be aware there's quite a bit of foul language. And some truly off-putting nasty descriptions of people and places she experienced. That WAS a factor that should have rounded it down to 2 stars for me, because it's basically gratuitous. Makes her look dumb too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jody McGrath

    * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review * This is the story of Tara Clancy half Irish American and half Italian American. Her parents split when she was quite young, so her upbringing was unusual and amazing. She spent weekdays with her Italian Grandparents in their lower middle class Italian American community. Many of these people were older and she mentions talking louder than any other 1st grader in her class because she was use to talking to 75 year olds. Her w * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review * This is the story of Tara Clancy half Irish American and half Italian American. Her parents split when she was quite young, so her upbringing was unusual and amazing. She spent weekdays with her Italian Grandparents in their lower middle class Italian American community. Many of these people were older and she mentions talking louder than any other 1st grader in her class because she was use to talking to 75 year olds. Her weekends were split between her mom and dad. Her dad, a NYPD bounty hunter, lived in a boat shed in a poor neighborhood in Jamaica Bay. It was a one room shed, but she made some of her most amazing memories there. Her dad would take her with him to the local Irish bar and grill every Saturday, and they would become regulars, Tara being spoiled rotten by the burly Irish lot. The she would go to her mother's boyfriend's home in the Hamptons. There she would talk about the universe and philosophy', go antiquing , and learn a third way of life. Due to her age, Tara never thought any of this was strange. She was such a headstrong, curious, and self-knowing child, that she took it all in stride and loved every bit of. This is a beautiful coming-of-age memoir that explores her unique life. How the three lives she led, made her into the woman she is today. How the love and acceptance of so many unique and diverse people helped her achieve everything she has, and reminds her that her roots are strong and deep, it will take a lot more than a hurricane to put Tara down. I sincerely recommend this book to any memoir or biography lovers. It is beautifully and wittily written, with an amazing voice. The people in the story, who have all agreed to allow Tara Clancy to use their real names are just as amazing as she is. This is definitely worth the read and it is a very quick read at that. A+

  8. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    I saw Tara Clancy at Book Riot Live, where she appeared on a panel about using humor to tackle tough topics. She had me belly laughing the entire time… until the moment when I was legit crying (and trying unsuccessfully to be low-profile about it). I knew immediately that I had to read everything she’s ever written. Which meant getting my hands on a copy of her debut book, a memoir about growing up in working-class Queens. Much like Clancy herself, the book is amusing, entertaining, and full of I saw Tara Clancy at Book Riot Live, where she appeared on a panel about using humor to tackle tough topics. She had me belly laughing the entire time… until the moment when I was legit crying (and trying unsuccessfully to be low-profile about it). I knew immediately that I had to read everything she’s ever written. Which meant getting my hands on a copy of her debut book, a memoir about growing up in working-class Queens. Much like Clancy herself, the book is amusing, entertaining, and full of heart. I wait with bated breath for her next one. — Steph Auteri from The Best Books We Read In December 2016: http://bookriot.com/2017/01/03/riot-r...

  9. 4 out of 5

    lucky little cat

    Eh, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, only set in Queens in the 1980s and 90s. You're right, that's not the Queensboro Bridge Tara Clancy hasn't forgotten one damned thing about her old neighborhood, huge Italian/ Irish/ rich/ poor/ working class family, or weird friends. Our gain! p.s. I didn't think the friends were all that weird. Her word for them. Eh, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, only set in Queens in the 1980s and 90s. You're right, that's not the Queensboro Bridge Tara Clancy hasn't forgotten one damned thing about her old neighborhood, huge Italian/ Irish/ rich/ poor/ working class family, or weird friends. Our gain! p.s. I didn't think the friends were all that weird. Her word for them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Martie Nees Record

    Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016 Publisher: Crown Publishing I requested this e-book review copy in exchange for an honest review before I even read the blurb on the book. The reason for my request was the title. I grew up in Queens, NY. And to my delight I learned that the protagonist lived (in one of her three childhood neighborhoods) just a few blocks away from my childhood home. So for me parts of this book are like walking down memory lane. I expected to enjoy reading about my old stomping grounds. It Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016 Publisher: Crown Publishing I requested this e-book review copy in exchange for an honest review before I even read the blurb on the book. The reason for my request was the title. I grew up in Queens, NY. And to my delight I learned that the protagonist lived (in one of her three childhood neighborhoods) just a few blocks away from my childhood home. So for me parts of this book are like walking down memory lane. I expected to enjoy reading about my old stomping grounds. It was an extra treat to learn that this is a delightful, colorful and fun (some laugh out loud moments) coming of age memoir. Tara Clancy is the daughter an American Italian mother and an American Irish father. Her parents’ divorce when she is around five years old. She spends her childhood growing up in three vastly different homes and lifestyles in NY, which is the essence of her memoir. Home one is in Bellerose, Queens. (This is the address near my childhood home). She and her mom live with her grandmother (who is a force to be reckoned with) in what she refers to as an Italian village since her grandmother and her great-aunt live next door to each other both in mother daughter homes, both with many children and grandchildren; who needs friends when you have about a million cousins? Be prepared to do much laughing. Her grandmother could be the character Marie from the TV show Everybody loves Raymond, but with an Italian accent and dialogue filled with American Italian curse vernaculars. If you don’t know what the word “fongul” means, Google it; and then you will get my drift. Clancy’s writing is so clear you will feel like you are sitting on the stage of a sitcom watching actors play geriatric Italians in all their glory as they lovingly (in their suffocating ways) drag the kids along for the ride. Home two is with her American Irish dad who lives in Rockaway Beach, Queens. When she is with him every other weekend she lives in a one room boat that sits on the front lawn of her dad’s friend house. Her dad is a blue collar cop that often takes his daughter with him to the Irish bars. Do not imagine you will be reading about a sad “I was a bar stool child” memoir. She hints there were times the drinking went too far. However basically, these bars are packed full of rowdy, lovable characters and Tara loves hanging out with them. Rockaway is where the reader first meets seven year old Tara. She is getting her “lights knocked out” in a boxing match with one of her friends; sounds terrible to an adult, young Tara is having a grand time. She is very disappointed when a limo comes to pick her up. A limo in a working class neighborhood usually means it is a prom or a wedding, for Tara it means she is going to her third home. Clancy does a great job showing us the extremes in her life when she enters the limo and looks out the window at her boxing buddies still holding onto the chain fence. Home three is in the ultra rich area of the Hamptons in Long Island, NY where she spends every other weekend with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend (during the weekdays she and her mom live in Bellerose, Queens). Weekends on the Hampton estate are the norm for Tara. But when she brings her friends to visit expect another comedy sitcom to begin. These are kids from concrete playground Queens. You can almost see their jaws dropping as they walk around the mansion and spend their evenings having intellectual conversations with her mom’s boyfriend. For her friends it is like a pleasant visit to the moon. I laughed through most of this book. For example there is a chapter surrounding her Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) all girls softball team. Clancy calls the teams “Our Lady of Something or Other” playing against “Saint Something or Other” with all teams playing for blood. Think A League of Their Own with ten to twelve year old girls that think nothing of sliding into home base on asphalt, ouch. Then there is what I found to be the Tara’s funniest escapade. Her mom takes fourteen year old Tara out of state to meet her mom’s friend. Her mom has an ulterior motive for this visit. Her friend is a lesbian and her mom wonders if Tara is gay (which she is, but this is something Tara doesn’t know about herself until she is in college). The visit was supposed to be a way to let Tara know that her mom has no biases on one’s sexuality. A sweet gesture that backfires on her mom since her friend works in an S&M sex toy store. Innocent Tara is left alone for five minutes in this store. I will not spoil the fun by telling you what happens in that chapter, but I’m still giggling about it. Her mom and her mom’s friend were terrified that they traumatized Tara. Have no fear she was not. She grew up to be a healthy woman with a great sense of humor and to be one hell of a story teller. In all three of Tara’s worlds of extremes she grew up feeling safe, loved and happy. We all should be so lucky. Find all my reviews at https://books6259.wordpress.com/

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I had heard Tara Clancy on The Moth, and knew I needed to get this book in audio. Her accent and voices make the stories even funnier than they already are, and some of the stories of her childhood had me laughing in the car while I listened.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    I won this Free book from Goodreads First Reads. Thank you Goodreads for picking my name to win this book. Tara Clancy narrates the story of her Irish-Italian family background in Queens, N. Y. There are some laugh out loud moments when Tara describes her grandmother and great aunt. They all live together in a large home. She describes the highs and lows of her life growing up in Queens with uncanny truth and detail. I loved the book and Tara's style of writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rana

    I was about two paragraphs into the acknowledgements section before I realized the book was over. And boom, my heart literally skipped a beat with sadness. I wanted more stories, I want to hear about Mark, and more about Ali, and more about everybody.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I listened to the audiobook and was that a good decision. You would think she led a "typical" Queens life, but she had a special circumstance that ended up shaping who she is. It was well written and well narrated. Loved it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    I enjoy memoirs and this one was a lot of fun. Tara is a spunky child how has a lot of energy. I kind of wonder if she had ADD before it was officially a thing. This brought back childhood memories for me when kids went outside and got into all kinds of trouble instead of sitting for hours in front of an electronic device. I really enjoyed the relationships she has/had with her Mom, Dad, Grandma, Mike and all the people in the neighborhood and her family. To be a kid again when you could just ru I enjoy memoirs and this one was a lot of fun. Tara is a spunky child how has a lot of energy. I kind of wonder if she had ADD before it was officially a thing. This brought back childhood memories for me when kids went outside and got into all kinds of trouble instead of sitting for hours in front of an electronic device. I really enjoyed the relationships she has/had with her Mom, Dad, Grandma, Mike and all the people in the neighborhood and her family. To be a kid again when you could just run into all the different neighbor's houses and it doesn't even phase them. well worth my time. I won this on Goodreads and glad that I did.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Sometimes I just want to have fun. Curious about Tara Clancy's new memoir I read one of her stories published in the New York Times. I was amused and took a chance on The Clancys of Queens. I gulped it down in two sittings, laughing out loud. Tara's family--no pseudonyms used--are unique and quirky, strong and sure. Tara's childhood was unique. Her mismatched parents split when Tara was two. She grew up bouncing between their two worlds:in Queens with her mother's big Italian family, and staying Sometimes I just want to have fun. Curious about Tara Clancy's new memoir I read one of her stories published in the New York Times. I was amused and took a chance on The Clancys of Queens. I gulped it down in two sittings, laughing out loud. Tara's family--no pseudonyms used--are unique and quirky, strong and sure. Tara's childhood was unique. Her mismatched parents split when Tara was two. She grew up bouncing between their two worlds:in Queens with her mother's big Italian family, and staying with her Irish cop father in a one bed boathouse, their social life centered at the local bar. When her mother met a wealthy self-made man, limo pickups to his place in Bridgehampton was thrown into the mix. There she lived the high life and participated in long, intellectual talks while watching the sun set. Tara's superpower was being "able to jump social strata in a single bound!" Tara's tom-boy, super active, no holds barred antics recalled to mind the cartoon intro to the Dennis the Menace tv show of my childhood: remember the tornado that represented Dennis? Tara was like that. What I loved about her family was their acceptance of Tara. When she climbed a tree in her new satin dress, staining it with tree sap, she explained to her dad that he hadn't mentioned "no tree climbing." And I love that her dad, the warrant cop, laughed. Tara's mother decided to nudge her daughter to discover her sexual identity. They went to visit her mom's college lesbian friend. What her mom didn't know was the nature of her friend's business--a S&M sex toy store! It's hard to believe this isn't fiction! When Tara falls in love in college, her mom's attitude was "I told you so." Tara's drop-out teen years made a 180 turn in her junior year of high school. She opened King Lear, the first book she'd ever read on her own, and cut classes to finish reading it. Suddenly Tara knew her future. Her senior year she took AP Shakespeare and graduated on the honor roll. She went on to college and a career in writing and story telling appearances on The Moth. Yes, I had stumbled on another book where Shakespeare is the hero, changing lives for the better! Clancy has written a delightful memoir and I had great fun reading it. I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I love the cover of The Clancy's of Queens: A Memoir by Tara Clancy. Also the title is very good. The rest of the book really disappointment. That is unusual because I love to read about generations of family. Anyone can look at my list of books that I have read and see all the reviews signally that I loved them and wanted to recommend them to my friends. Tara Clancy’s story is of her growing up in Queens with divorced parents who both worked. She enjoyed the times that she had with her mother an I love the cover of The Clancy's of Queens: A Memoir by Tara Clancy. Also the title is very good. The rest of the book really disappointment. That is unusual because I love to read about generations of family. Anyone can look at my list of books that I have read and see all the reviews signally that I loved them and wanted to recommend them to my friends. Tara Clancy’s story is of her growing up in Queens with divorced parents who both worked. She enjoyed the times that she had with her mother and father separately and was dropped off to be cared for by her constantly swearing grandmother. OK I learned a tiny bit of Italian but I wish that I had never been exposed to those words. Her childhood makes me realize that mine was G rated. At first, her stories were interesting but also very chilling. Gee, she did things at a young age that would have never entered my thoughts. She was constantly bouncing around. I have babysat children who did that when I was growing up and I remember being very grateful when their parents came home. That is similar to what it was like reading this book. I do appreciate that she realizes that she couldn’t get into college after her high graduation because of skipping so much school and smoking so much pot. I had to push myself through this little book. Her adventures came in chapters with no pauses or contemplation. I felt that I was stuck in a “run on sentence of experiences. She did include bits of her relatives’ lives that drug me down more and more as the book went on. The first part was better than the middle and the end. In the beginning, I was interested although shocked at her experiences but as the book went on, I developed sort of a fatigue of profanity, the wildness of Tara and her relatives. Not recommended for my friends. It will leave you worn out and depressed. I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book as a win from LibraryThing from the publishers in exchange for a fair book review. My thoughts and feelings in this review are totally my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars For me, much of this book was sweet nostalgia. I grew up in the same area at the same time; and I'm part of a large Italian family, with some Irish on the other side. Clancy captures the setting perfectly - anyone who had any connection to the time, place, and situation will connect to this memoir with fondness. It even brought back some memories I probably wouldn't have recalled on my own. And seeing in print the Italian words that have felt like a private language within my family for 3.5 stars For me, much of this book was sweet nostalgia. I grew up in the same area at the same time; and I'm part of a large Italian family, with some Irish on the other side. Clancy captures the setting perfectly - anyone who had any connection to the time, place, and situation will connect to this memoir with fondness. It even brought back some memories I probably wouldn't have recalled on my own. And seeing in print the Italian words that have felt like a private language within my family for so long was warm, fuzzy, and fun. However, there is a lot here that sets it apart. Clancy has some distinct experiences that few, if any, can identify with. While it makes for interesting reading, it fails to reach the heights that some memoirs do - bridging gaps between cultures, genders, and generations by sharing similarity. Instead, she draws distinctions. Coupled with her very chummy voice, the reader can find herself wedged out of the experience. For fans of Clancy, this is probably a perfect read; if you're already "in" with her, this will feel like she's just telling you her whole life story. For people new to her, this is still worth a read. There are many lovely moments captured by Clancy in her distinct voice, resonant of a specific time and place. My thanks to Penguin House for an ARC of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    M. Sarki

    https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/178537... I wanted this book to slay me. To be more than empty words on a page. I bought this edition because Atticus Lish recommended it. I believed he wouldn’t put his name to something not worthy of his praise. I was wrong. And I am disappointed. I read today a review in which it was stated that the book begins slow but finishes strong. There is no time but the present. I cannot wait for any book to get better by suffering through inferior prose in order to get t https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/178537... I wanted this book to slay me. To be more than empty words on a page. I bought this edition because Atticus Lish recommended it. I believed he wouldn’t put his name to something not worthy of his praise. I was wrong. And I am disappointed. I read today a review in which it was stated that the book begins slow but finishes strong. There is no time but the present. I cannot wait for any book to get better by suffering through inferior prose in order to get to what matters. I wish I could get my money back, but purging this subordinate text from my machine will just have to do.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melyssa Williams

    Since quarantine, I've been getting my books at the Dollar Tree, and have found some surprisingly great reads! This is one of them. I'm a sucker for a memoir and this one is delightful. Tara is genuinely lovable and funny, and while her story could have gone off a deep end or gotten depressing, she never told it that way, and it makes you love her more.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Humorous memoirs often work too hard for yucks by going overboard on the adjectives. Tara Clancy sometimes does this but not that often, and even when she does, she's got the chutzpa and authenticity to pull it off. I'd give an example, but I listened to the audio, so no notes. Clancy reads it herself and does a fantastic job - like she was born to it. Bad joke, but at least no adjectives.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    In fairness, I'm not going to rate this book because I only made it about halfway through. Life is too short and I have thousands of TBRs; one of them is bound to be more appealing. Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of memoirs. But what I found irritating about this one is the writing style. It's 90% pure description, and I felt like I was being overloaded with minute details rather than experiencing any character development or insights. Here's an example, describing her as a chil In fairness, I'm not going to rate this book because I only made it about halfway through. Life is too short and I have thousands of TBRs; one of them is bound to be more appealing. Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of memoirs. But what I found irritating about this one is the writing style. It's 90% pure description, and I felt like I was being overloaded with minute details rather than experiencing any character development or insights. Here's an example, describing her as a child riding to her uncle's home in the back of a limo: "Popping open the seat belt that only two minutes ago I'd promised my dad I'd keep on for the whole ride, I unpeel the sweat-glued backs of my thighs from the leather seat and slide across the bench until I'm sitting at the very center with my feet propped on the carpeted hump in the floor. Then, in an attempt to spread myself out and make the space feel a bit smaller, I chest-pass my overnight bag all the way across the car to the bench seat opposite me. The bag is a nylon, eighties-style gym duffle, and looking at it lying there all small and limp has the opposite effect, but it feels good to be flinging shit around anyway." At this point she launches into a minute description of every switch on the control panel and how she pushes every one on and off (windows, moon roof, locks, radio, mood lighting, temperature, intercom) and everything that is each of the drawers: "a refrigerator egg holder-style caddy holding a half dozen highball glasses . . . I pull the square crystal stopper from the first of three spirit-filled decanters . . . a tiny television, but I don't find a single Smurf, Jetson, or Flintstone . . . an ice bin filled with half pint glass soda bottles . . . " And on and on and on. Or this on a flower bed: ". . . .a Technicolor jumble of hollyhocks, hibiscus, alium and gladiolas, brimming with bees and butterflies, which happened to frame the entrance to the next stop on my tour, the Barn. Though it had once been a fully functional, classic, big red barn, Mark had turned it into one huge sitting room. He put in a proper wooden floor, added paned windows and double-glassed doors on the westernmost side, and faced all the chairs and sofas in that direction for watching the sunset. . . " This style of writing just wears me out. I couldn't finish the book, but someone else might enjoy it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Having read Marty Nee's review, I eagerly anticipated this book. I was not disappointed! Tara lived with both her parents for only a few years before they divorced. From that point on, she split her life into three very different parts. She lived with her dad on his weekends in a tiny converted boat shed. Every Saturday night she and her dad would visit the local bar where Tara was well acquainted with all the patrons. On her mother's weekends she would travel by limo out to the Hamptons. Her mo Having read Marty Nee's review, I eagerly anticipated this book. I was not disappointed! Tara lived with both her parents for only a few years before they divorced. From that point on, she split her life into three very different parts. She lived with her dad on his weekends in a tiny converted boat shed. Every Saturday night she and her dad would visit the local bar where Tara was well acquainted with all the patrons. On her mother's weekends she would travel by limo out to the Hamptons. Her mom worked for a very wealthy man. Although they loved each other, they had both decided that marriage was not for them and never did marry. She learned about the finer things in life along with different manners and a different way of speaking. Week days she and her mom lived with their close knit Italian family. Tara has a wonderful ability to describe what each unique part of her life was like with humor. Her descriptions were fantastic with grandma cursing in Italian, watching her dad get dressed up to look for a date using her as bait, and riding her little electric car around the Hampton estate with her packed lunch in tow. Despite moving from home to home she was able to develop and sustain some good friendships. Life in her neighborhood school was not easy but close friends made it bearable. Tara's writing style made the story flow and her sense of humor caused me to have some laugh out loud moments! I reached the end of the story and found one more classic example of Tara's humor. In the section titled ABOUT THE AUTHOR she had simply written: " See previous 250 pages or so...add one incredible wife and two amazing sons." Thanks allowing us a chance to share your life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jay bookworm

    As I finished the last page of this book I thought, with deep feeling, wow you really can't judge a book by its cover or by a fantastic synopsis on Goodreads. I won an ARC of this book and thought it sounded like an interesting memoir but now I know it was also fun and it reminded me of the Goldfinch (hey, they are my thoughts not yours) and also made me think about how impactful family and sometimes random individuals can be in your life. Just like that last sentence, there's a lot in this book As I finished the last page of this book I thought, with deep feeling, wow you really can't judge a book by its cover or by a fantastic synopsis on Goodreads. I won an ARC of this book and thought it sounded like an interesting memoir but now I know it was also fun and it reminded me of the Goldfinch (hey, they are my thoughts not yours) and also made me think about how impactful family and sometimes random individuals can be in your life. Just like that last sentence, there's a lot in this book. What a fantastic experience watching her life unfold through her eyes. Although a tough kid, you can feel her love of how her life led her to where she is now. She knew it sometimes in the moment and sometimes only in the retelling of some of these stories as she wrote this memoir. I really enjoyed this book. Thank you Tara. Thank you Goodreads for providing a platform for readers to find great writers. And, way to go Penquin Random House for working with this beautiful, multifaceted, intriguing and grateful writer. May we all wear with pride the scars on our skin.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    This is a memoir about growing up in working class Queens. Get it on audio if you do read this--she is a terrific performer as noted at Book Riot Live. The first half seemed slow to me but the back half was much stronger--Tara writes about her teenage years much more effectively than the preteen years. She paints quite a funny portrait of all the loud, crazy, loving Italian and Irish family members she had as well as her wild group of friends.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Loved this so much! It is so rare that a book, especially a memoir, makes me laugh out loud, but this did over and over again. It was so relatable and honest and Clancy has a way of drawing you right into her world. I listened to the audio version which I highly recommend. The author is the narrator. Excellent! It is like a one woman show, a hilarious monologue that I simply didn't want to end. I can't wait to discuss this in my bookclub and I'm super excited that the author will be visiting our Loved this so much! It is so rare that a book, especially a memoir, makes me laugh out loud, but this did over and over again. It was so relatable and honest and Clancy has a way of drawing you right into her world. I listened to the audio version which I highly recommend. The author is the narrator. Excellent! It is like a one woman show, a hilarious monologue that I simply didn't want to end. I can't wait to discuss this in my bookclub and I'm super excited that the author will be visiting our library in February!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Lyn

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. I have never laughed so hard while reading a book. Never wanted a Italian family more than I do right now. 7 years ago, I lost my great grandma and this book just made me miss her more because she was exactly like Tara's grandma.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I do not read many memoirs, I usually only do after the buzz surrounding them reaches enough of a fever pitch that I concede. I read The Clancys of Queens because the author was at Book Riot Live and while I didn't see her (sorry, was working, saw literally no one) I heard constant raves and her book there sold out, was restocked, then sold out again. So I gave it a shot. Of the memoirs I do read, very few actually deal with childhood because I find myself very impatient with the way people write I do not read many memoirs, I usually only do after the buzz surrounding them reaches enough of a fever pitch that I concede. I read The Clancys of Queens because the author was at Book Riot Live and while I didn't see her (sorry, was working, saw literally no one) I heard constant raves and her book there sold out, was restocked, then sold out again. So I gave it a shot. Of the memoirs I do read, very few actually deal with childhood because I find myself very impatient with the way people write about their childhoods. This memoir is the first one I can recall that didn't bore me or lose me in its chapters on Clancy's childhood. In fact, these were the best parts of the book. The only reason it has 3 stars and not 4 is that some of the momentum and spark of the early chapters is diluted somewhat in the later chapters. I enjoy reading memoirs by people who are nothing like me and reading The Clancys of Queens was like being transported into an entirely different world. The book works so well because Clancy manages to paint a vivid picture of exactly what it was like to live in that world, the Irish and Italian-heavy neighborhoods of Queens where not much has changed in the last 100 years or so. She has enough madcap tales of her childhood and adolescence that it's no surprise she's told stories for The Moth before. But ultimately it wasn't those stories that I loved, it was the descriptions of the neighborhood, the descriptions of the people in her life. The section on her grandmother was by far my favorite. I opted for the audiobook since Clancy reads it herself and I feel like it is the only way to experience the book. When you hear Clancy's strong Queens accent, you're already halfway transported to where she wants to take you. And I always love hearing writers read their own memoirs so I can really feel like I understand what they want to say and how they want to say it. If you're looking for a mostly-happy book that will make you smile a lot (which is not the kind of thing I read very often) this is it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Given her Queens Irish/Brooklyn Italian lineage, it's no wonder that Tara Clancy is a force of nature. Lessons and wisdom picked up from the various corners of her life have sparked her curiosity, her drive. As a child, she was really a handful, and she spares no one, especially herself, in her memories. She gives full credit to the players in her life, uses real names, cites coming of age and inspirational events. However, the title is misleading since the Riccobonos of Brooklyn, the Italian si Given her Queens Irish/Brooklyn Italian lineage, it's no wonder that Tara Clancy is a force of nature. Lessons and wisdom picked up from the various corners of her life have sparked her curiosity, her drive. As a child, she was really a handful, and she spares no one, especially herself, in her memories. She gives full credit to the players in her life, uses real names, cites coming of age and inspirational events. However, the title is misleading since the Riccobonos of Brooklyn, the Italian side of her family, plays an even larger part in her development. From early days, her time is divided between weekends with her NYPD father in a converted boat shed at the end of the A train in Queens, and limousine-chauffeured visits to Bridgehampton, with her mother and Mom's "boyfriend" Mark at his palatial estate. At each of these locations, a different part of her is stimulated. Always beloved by her family, her personality is allowed to thrive, but it is late night talks with Mark that stimulate her imagination, leading her unawares into exploring life's bigger questions. I've heard her TED talks, and as she is irresistible to listen to, she is equally irresistible to read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I loved this book. It's a memoir of a scrappy Italian-Irish kid (Tara Clancy) growing up between Queens and the Hamptons. I love anything that is about moving between social strata, because it illustrates the peculiarities of each group through the eyes of a person that has seen the other side. That's my jam. As a result, I initially thought that my fascination would lie with the double-life she was living between the working class Queens and the uber rich Hamptons. However, I was far more inter I loved this book. It's a memoir of a scrappy Italian-Irish kid (Tara Clancy) growing up between Queens and the Hamptons. I love anything that is about moving between social strata, because it illustrates the peculiarities of each group through the eyes of a person that has seen the other side. That's my jam. As a result, I initially thought that my fascination would lie with the double-life she was living between the working class Queens and the uber rich Hamptons. However, I was far more interested in her wild personality and her interactions with her family, friends, and neighbors in Queens. She was a rowdy, unabashed kid with a penchant for mischief. I, a bookish nerd, would never have had the nerve to be as extroverted and spontaneous as she was. I envied her freedom of manner, and just loved her descriptions of her exploits. I was able to live that scrappy-kid-life vicariously. Also, bonus points for her imitation of her grandmother. Her grandmother was hilarious, and I died laughing whenever she appeared in the book. Last but not least, listen to this as an audiobook. Her accent is everything, and I think a lot would be lost without her narration.

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