Tina Jordan
October 26, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Elsewhere

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Richard Russo
publisher
Knopf
genre
Nonfiction, Memoir

We gave it a B+

The scrappy strivers who dot Russo’s fiction (Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool) spring to real life on the pages of Elsewhere. Like so many of his characters, Russo grew up in a bleak upstate New York town that had been a thriving manufacturing hub — a place so depressed that by 1967, when he graduated from high school, ”you could have strafed Main Street with an automatic weapon without endangering a soul.” Russo escaped thanks to his single mom, Jean, and here he offers a poignant tribute to a woman who — elegantly coiffed and perfectly lipsticked — shouldered her way through life with pluck, luck, and sheer bravado. B+

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