The World's Largest Man: A Memoir

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Winner of the 2016 Thurber Prize

The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr.

Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father—a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, “a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers.”

Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn’t have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized—for better and for worse—how much of his old man he’d absorbed.

Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World’s Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir—the story of a boy’s struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man’s reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.

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About the author

HARRISON SCOTT KEY’s writing has been featured in The Best American Travel Writing, the New York Times, Outside, Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest, Image, Creative Nonfiction, The Mockingbird, The Green County Independent, The American Conservative, Brevity, Gulf Coast, and Oxford American, where he is also a contributing editor. He teaches at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children. Harper published his first memoir, The World’s Largest Man, which won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
May 12, 2015
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780062351524
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Parenting / Fatherhood
Humor / Form / Essays
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This funny and wise new memoir from Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, will inspire laughter and hope for anyone who’s ever been possessed by a dream of what they want to be when they grow up.

Little-known author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. He's talking about dreams here, the destiny that calls every living soul to some kind of greatness. What Mr. Twain doesn't say is: A dream is also a monster that wants to eat you. Nobody tells you this part of the American Dream — until now. In this new memoir, Congratulations Who Are You Again, readers join Harrison Scott Key on his outrageous journey to becoming a great American writer.

As a young boy in Mississippi, Harrison possessed many special gifts, such as the ability to read and complete college applications. And yet, throughout young adulthood, he failed at many vocations, until one day, after drinking perhaps too many beers and dusting off his King James Bible, he stumbled across a passage about a lonely pelican, which burst into flame inside him. In a mad blaze of holy illumination, Harrison realized his dream: to set the world afire with the light inside him. He would write a funny book. This was his dream.

With unforgettable wit and tenderness, Congratulations Who Are You Again is Harrison’s instructive tale of pursuing his destiny with relentless and often misguided devotion, transforming his life beyond all comprehension: He becomes a signer of autographs, a doer of interviews, a casher of checks that are "worth more money than my father had ever imagined any of us might see, this side of a drug-related felony."

On this journey, Harrison finds that as he gains the world, he stands on the precipice of losing everything that means the most: his family, his mind, his soul. Hilarious, honest, and absolutely practical, Congratulations Who Are You Again is a no-holds-barred look at the life of every ambitious human creature, whether you want to write books or make music, start a business or start a revolution. This is a book for the dreamers.

 

 

Winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize
Mississippi's #1 Bestseller of 2015 and 2016 (The Clarion-Ledger)
A New York Times Bestseller

In Dispatches from Pluto, adventure writer Richard Grant takes on “the most American place on Earth”—the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta.

Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters—blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta’s lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families—and good reasons for hope.

Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself. It’s lively, entertaining, and funny, containing a travel writer’s flair for in-depth reporting alongside insightful reflections on poverty, community, and race. It’s also a love story, as the nomadic Grant learns to settle down. He falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home. Mississippi, Grant concludes, is the best-kept secret in America.
Drawing on her thirty years' experience practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine, teen health expert Dr. Meg Meeker explains why an active father figure is maybe the single most important factor in a young woman's development. In this invaluable guide, Meeker shows how a father can be both counsel and protector for his daughter as she grows into a spiritually and mentally strong young woman.

From cradling his newborn to walking her down the aisle, a father must relish his paramount responsibility—guiding the course of his daughter’s life. Meeker reveals

• how a man can become a "strong father"
• how a father's guidance influences every part of a woman's life, from her self-respect to her perspective on drugs, alcohol, and sex
• how to lay down ground rules that are respected without creating distance in your relationship with your daughter
• why you need to be your daughter's hero
• the mistakes most fathers make and their serious consequences
• how to help daughters make their own good decisions and avoid disastrous mistakes
• how a father's faith will influence his daughter's spiritual development
• how to get through to you daughter, even during her toughest don't-talk-to-me years
• true stories of daughters who were on the wrong path—and how their fathers helped to bring them back

Learn how to grow, strengthen, or rebuild your relationship with your daughter to better both your life and hers in the bestselling Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.
From NFL player turned film and TV star Terry Crews comes a wise and warmhearted memoir chronicling his lifelong quest to become a good man, loving husband, and responsible father.
 
What does it mean to be a man? Terry Crews, TV’s iconic “Old Spice Guy” and co-star of the hit Golden Globe Award–winning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has spent decades seeking the answer to that question. In Manhood, he shares what he’s learned, telling the amazing story of his rise to fame and offering straight-talking advice for men and the women who love them.
 
A self-described “super-driven superstar alpha male,” Terry Crews embodies the manly ideal for millions worldwide. But as he looks back on his difficult childhood and shares hard-learned lessons from the many humbling experiences he endured to get where he is today, he shows how his own conception of manhood is constantly evolving.
 
Crews offers up a lively, clear-eyed account of the ups and downs of his twenty-five-year marriage, revealing the relationship secrets that have kept it going—and the one dark secret that nearly tore it apart. Along the way, he shares his evolving appreciation for looking good, staying fit, and getting it done for the people you love.
 
Being a man is about more than keeping your core strong. It’s about keeping your core values stronger. With insightful observations on spirituality, work, and family, Terry Crews shows men how to face their inner demons, seek forgiveness from those they’ve wronged, and tear down the walls that prevent them from forging meaningful relationships with others.
 
From the NFL gridiron to the Hollywood backlot, Terry Crews has survived it all with his sense of humor—and his marriage—intact. In Manhood he shows men everywhere that real strength is not measured in muscle mass—unless that muscle is the heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
This funny and wise new memoir from Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, will inspire laughter and hope for anyone who’s ever been possessed by a dream of what they want to be when they grow up.

Little-known author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. He's talking about dreams here, the destiny that calls every living soul to some kind of greatness. What Mr. Twain doesn't say is: A dream is also a monster that wants to eat you. Nobody tells you this part of the American Dream — until now. In this new memoir, Congratulations Who Are You Again, readers join Harrison Scott Key on his outrageous journey to becoming a great American writer.

As a young boy in Mississippi, Harrison possessed many special gifts, such as the ability to read and complete college applications. And yet, throughout young adulthood, he failed at many vocations, until one day, after drinking perhaps too many beers and dusting off his King James Bible, he stumbled across a passage about a lonely pelican, which burst into flame inside him. In a mad blaze of holy illumination, Harrison realized his dream: to set the world afire with the light inside him. He would write a funny book. This was his dream.

With unforgettable wit and tenderness, Congratulations Who Are You Again is Harrison’s instructive tale of pursuing his destiny with relentless and often misguided devotion, transforming his life beyond all comprehension: He becomes a signer of autographs, a doer of interviews, a casher of checks that are "worth more money than my father had ever imagined any of us might see, this side of a drug-related felony."

On this journey, Harrison finds that as he gains the world, he stands on the precipice of losing everything that means the most: his family, his mind, his soul. Hilarious, honest, and absolutely practical, Congratulations Who Are You Again is a no-holds-barred look at the life of every ambitious human creature, whether you want to write books or make music, start a business or start a revolution. This is a book for the dreamers.

 

 

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