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Book cover of Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage from the Sixties

Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage from the Sixties

by Jeff Durstewitz, Ruth Williams

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pages: 352
Paperback
ISBN: 9780553380484






Available to Buy

Overview of Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage from the Sixties

An unforgettable dual memoir that explores an extraordinary friendship ... and illuminates a generation.

It began in 1969, when a group of bored Long Island high school reporters wrote, for a lark, an obnoxious note to Ruth Tuttle, the editor of a school paper in small-town Mississippi. The ringleader, Jeff Durstewitz, impulsively dropped the letter into a mailbox, never suspecting that within a few days he'd receive an electrifying response. In the following flurry of letters, genteelly Southern Ruth and brash New Yorker Jeff explored their feelings about God, race, sex, and life -- and an enduring friendship was begun.

Over the next thirty years, this long-distance bond sustained Ruth and Jeff through love affairs and heartbreak, social change and disillusionment, divorce and the loss of a cherished friend. As their letters chart their passage from youth to middle age, their memoir captures not just the hopes of an era yearning for revolution and the soul of a country on the brink of change, but also the essence of being bright, young, and passionate. Sharp, funny, and true, here is a mirror for a generation -- both then and now.

Synopsis of Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage from the Sixties

An unforgettable dual memoir that explores an extraordinary friendship ... and illuminates a generation.

It began in 1969, when a group of bored Long Island high school reporters wrote, for a lark, an obnoxious note to Ruth Tuttle, the editor of a school paper in small-town Mississippi. The ringleader, Jeff Durstewitz, impulsively dropped the letter into a mailbox, never suspecting that within a few days he'd receive an electrifying response. In the following flurry of letters, genteelly Southern Ruth and brash New Yorker Jeff explored their feelings about God, race, sex, and life — and an enduring friendship was begun.

Over the next thirty years, this long-distance bond sustained Ruth and Jeff through love affairs and heartbreak, social change and disillusionment, divorce and the loss of a cherished friend. As their letters chart their passage from youth to middle age, their memoir captures not just the hopes of an era yearning for revolution and the soul of a country on the brink of change, but also the essence of being bright, young, and passionate. Sharp, funny, and true, here is a mirror for a generation — both then and now.

Publishers Weekly

A rueful, sometimes funny look back at the dreams and excesses of the '60s counterculture, this dual memoir records a friendship that began in 1969, when Durstewitz, a hip high school senior from Long Island, N.Y., met Ruth Tuttle, a conservative Southern girl from Yazoo City, Miss. On a lark, he and his school chums wrote her a mock-indignant letter trashing the Deep South and the school paper she edited. When she unexpectedly replied, Jeff and two pals drove to Yazoo to meet her, sparking a Yankee/Dixie friendship that helped steer both of them through later affairs, marriages, crises and breakups. Rebelling against her parents, Ruth rushed into an unhappy first marriage with an LSD-popping, socialist anthropology major, which led to her nine-month stint as an organizer for the extremist National Caucus of Labor Committees. Jeff, an anti-Vietnam War activist, played in a rock band and smoked pot in the college president's office during a sit-in. Both later became entrepreneurs: she started an advertising agency, while Jeff spent several years running a Ben & Jerry franchise after rooming with the ice cream company's founders. Told in alternating voices and supplemented with correspondence, this memoir aims to relate an emblematic '60s coming of age story, but after the rush of the authors' first meeting, the story grows plodding, lacking the irony or hindsight that could have made it memorable. Still, many readers will identify with the descriptions of the era and the emotional roller-coaster that marked the authors' transition to adulthood, with all its compromises. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

A rueful, sometimes funny look back at the dreams and excesses of the '60s counterculture, this dual memoir records a friendship that began in 1969, when Durstewitz, a hip high school senior from Long Island, N.Y., met Ruth Tuttle, a conservative Southern girl from Yazoo City, Miss. On a lark, he and his school chums wrote her a mock-indignant letter trashing the Deep South and the school paper she edited. When she unexpectedly replied, Jeff and two pals drove to Yazoo to meet her, sparking a Yankee/Dixie friendship that helped steer both of them through later affairs, marriages, crises and breakups. Rebelling against her parents, Ruth rushed into an unhappy first marriage with an LSD-popping, socialist anthropology major, which led to her nine-month stint as an organizer for the extremist National Caucus of Labor Committees. Jeff, an anti-Vietnam War activist, played in a rock band and smoked pot in the college president's office during a sit-in. Both later became entrepreneurs: she started an advertising agency, while Jeff spent several years running a Ben & Jerry franchise after rooming with the ice cream company's founders. Told in alternating voices and supplemented with correspondence, this memoir aims to relate an emblematic '60s coming of age story, but after the rush of the authors' first meeting, the story grows plodding, lacking the irony or hindsight that could have made it memorable. Still, many readers will identify with the descriptions of the era and the emotional roller-coaster that marked the authors' transition to adulthood, with all its compromises. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Library Journal

New York high school student Durstewitz first saw Williams when her picture appeared in her Yazoo, MS, high school newspaper in 1969. Jeff and his friends sent Ruth a sarcastic letter poking fun at her and the South. When Ruth replied with a letter of similar tone, Jeff was soon on his way to Mississippi to meet her. This visit began the lifelong friendship that forms the center of this warm dual biography. Told in alternating chapters and excerpts from the friends' letters, the book leads the two from high school through college during the Vietnam War to the adjustment activists made after the war and up to middle age and family life in the 1990s. Along the way, we see failed romances and marriages, Ruth's brief association with Lyndon LaRouche's National Cause of Labor Committees, and Jeff's involvement with the founders of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. The lasting bond and openness between the two authors is the work's strength. Read it as an example of how two people, going through crazy times, deal with the business of living. For public libraries.--Stephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

David Craig

[A] small masterpiece...a tell all memoir by two nobodies that is as involving as any celebrity exposé.
—People Magazine

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