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Dan Barry: Author and Columnitst for The New York Times

WHAT'S HAPPENING?

Sept 13, 2012 | 7PM "Hope Diamond" - Dan Barry speaks at Boston College Each summer, Boston College asks its incoming freshmen to read a book whose theme can provide a starting point for reflection and conversation that will later be illuminated through an address by the author at the annual First Year Convocation in September. The book for this year’s class is Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball’s Longest Game by Dan Barry.

Oct 23, 2012 | 7PM 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony Award winners and runners-up will be honored at the 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City. Details are forthcoming for this event. Stay tuned.

Recent Work

For Patsy Cline’s Hometown, an Embrace That Took Decades Dec. 24, 2012 - A modest tin-roof house stands as a monument to a dropout turned country singer who gained more recognition from Winchester, Va., after her death at 30 than during her life. Full Story

With the Why Elusive, Two Boys, Two Burials Dec. 18, 2012 - The people of Newtown buried two boys on Monday afternoon, in the first of the many funerals to follow last week's massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The boys were both 6 years old. Full Story

Divining the Weather, With Methods Old and New Dec 10, 2012 - Bill O'Toole works as the seventh prognosticator of J. Gruber's Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack, a line of work that began in 1797 with a star-savvy blacksmith. Full Story

Storm-Tossed Memories Nov 18, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy transformed cherished snapshots into an open-air exhibition of people's lives. Full Story

Back When a Chocolate Puck Tasted, Guiltily, Like America Nov 17, 2012 - Consumers already knew that not everything is good for you, and this was never truer than with a Twinkie, a Sno Ball, or a Ring Ding — the Ding Dong equivalent in the Northeast. Full Story

In a Small Ohio City, an Almost Sacred Day of Civic Purpose Nov 7, 2012 - The jaded might contend that in a presidential election, one vote among tens of millions has no meaning. In Elyria, Ohio, voting is simply what you do. Full Story

Hoops Springs Eternal Nov 5, 2012 - It's basketball season again. The hoop beckons. Do you hearken to its call? Full Story

Evoking 18th-Century Drama, a Tragedy on the Bounty Nov 4, 2012 - A vessel of timber and lore was hammered by the hurricane, and the captain has not been found. Full Story

With a New Menu and a Makeover, a Promise to Keep Going Oct. 18, 2012 - One constant in a struggling city like Elyria, Ohio, is the shared determination to make it through this day and into the next. Full Story

In the Hard Fall of a Favorite Son, a Reminder of a City's Scars Oct. 17, 2012 - Ike Maxwell walks the streets of Elyria, Ohio, as if determined to break through life's defensive line. Often he is shouting. But what is he trying to say? Full Story

After a Childhood Pouring Refills, Reaching Beyond the Past Oct. 16, 2012 - Bridgette Harvan, 21, has worked at her grandmother's diner since she was 9. But as the breakfast regulars reminisce of better days in Elyria, Ohio, she dreams of a brighter future in a rejuvenated town.. Full Story

New Mayor, Big To-Do List Oct. 15, 2012 - Mayor Holly Brinda, a fourth-generation resident of Elyria, Ohio, remains hopeful despite cutbacks that have cost city jobs and reduced city services. Full Story

At the Corner of Hope and Worry Oct. 14, 2012 - A small cafe, in the small city of Elyria, Ohio, is being tested by a tough economy. It is the kind of place where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each hope that his promise of a restored American dream will resonate. Full Story

Pull Me Up: A Memoir

NOTABLE REVIEWS

New York Times

May 12, 2004 - Review by Wendy Wasserstein. "...In the flat world of parking lots, tract homes, yellow school buses and Little League, Mr. Barry has managed to find the richness of heart of a now oddly distant America." Full Review

New York Times

May 16, 2004 - Review by Phillip Lopate. "I hope we can always celebrate a writer who, trying to make intelligent sense of life's confusions, gives us a memoir that is witty, self-aware and peopled with strong characters. That's the case with Pull Me Up, by Dan Barry." Full Review

New York Newsday

May 16, 2004 - Review by John Anderson. "A poetic personal memoir, a kind of "portrait of the journalist as a young man," it's full of eloquently restored memories and often rueful reminiscences about an Irish-inflected Long Island boyhood, the venial barbarity of an all-boys Catholic education, the emergence of a journalistic talent and a victorious bout with cancer..."

New Orleans Times-Picayune

Jun. 27, 2004 - Review by William C. Gibson. "We humans love to tell stories, and we tell them for all sorts of reasons -- to instruct, to entertain, but mostly to help us make sense of the world around us. While all peoples have storytelling traditions, the Irish are, arguably, the best storytellers. In his new memoir, Pull Me Up, New York Times reporter and columnist Dan Barry shows that he is a worthy bearer of that heritage..."

BOOKS

Pull Me Up: A Memoir

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Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 13, 2005
ISBN: 9780393049602
ISBN10: 0393049604
Pages: 325 pages

Barry family

The Barrys of Deer Park, posing on their one-third-of-an-acre piece of Long Island.

Out in front of Church

First Holy Communion preening in front of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, 1966.

Having carved out a niche for himself with a regular column in The New York Times, Barry now trains his keen eye on his own story in Pull Me Up. The eldest of four children, he recounts his amusingly idiosyncratic childhood in a slightly off-kilter Irish-American clan of Deer Park, Long Island, including a father who believes in UFOs and a mother whose collection of seashells and garden statuary threatens to overtake the very refuge it guards.

But Barry's youth gives way to a young adulthood when his career as a reporter begins to accelerate while his parents face financial setbacks and deteriorating health. Barry paints a tender but troubling portrait of his forbears. His mother faces lung cancer with quiet stoicism, nursing a beer and countless cigarettes by the blue light of the television. His father screams in agony from the bedroom upstairs, begging to be rid of the pain caused by the untreatable migraines he has endured for nearly 20 years.

But despite the obvious suffering -- including his own bout with cancer inhs early 40's-- Pull Me Up is not a memoir of overwhelming heartbreak. Instead, Dan Barry delivers a story of poignant beauty and wry humor from the details of his suburban American family's life, in true reportorial fashion.