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The Jim Carroll Website Home > Research > Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Updated 31 December 2010

Here you will find a few of the many reviews of Jim Carroll's books. Check out the Bibliographies page for more.

Reviews of The Petting Zoo (2010)

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Nancy Rommelmann, Review of The Petting Zoo. OregonLive.com 18 Dec. 2010.
In a thoughtful review, Rommelmann says she "imagined [Carroll] in a train yard, at night, for 20 years, coupling and uncoupling the cars, laying and tearing up the track, in order to build a path of transcendence for us." Download PDF

Susanna Sonnenberg, Review of The Petting Zoo. SFGate.com 26 Dec. 2010.
While Sonnenberg feels the "novel has its discrete pleasures," she is disappointed that the plot repeatedly "stalls out."

Ed Voves, "Critics' Picks: Best Books of 2010." Review of The Petting Zoo. California Literary Review 18 Dec. 2010.
Volves describes The Petting Zoo as "one of the most noteworthy novels of 2010" by virtue of its being the "'alpha and omega' of Carroll's work as a writer of fiction." Download PDF


Reviews of Void of Course (1998)

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Paul McDonald, Review of Void of Course. Louisville Eccentric Observer, 1998.
"Jim Carroll reaffirms his prowess as mentor and scribe of the human condition."  

Stephen Perrin, "Jim Carroll: The Poet Speaks." Beat Scene 32 (1999): 59.
"The problem with Carroll is that he has always had two voices and most commentators have chosen to privilege the street talking wise ass adolescent narrator of the diaries over the more measured tones which tend to dominate his poetry. In a some ways this vocal schizophrenia can be seen as a dramatisation of the conflict between America and Europe." Perrin reviews both Pools of Mercury and Void of Course.

Heather Perry, Review of Void of Course. The Trumpet, 1999.
"Jim Carroll's work in Void Of Course is truthful and strong which is inspiring to the teenagers of today."

Benjamin Segedin, Review of Void of Course. Booklist 95.4 (15 Oct. 1998): 389.
"Carroll exhumes his life and loves, and his candor at times startles."

Review of Void of Course. Publishers Weekly 28 Sept. 1998: 96.
"An alternately self-exposing and swaggering Bukowskian diarist, Carroll reinforces his rock-star-like pop culture niche with his latest volume of poetry, which somewhat resembles a compilation of power ballads."


Reviews of Fear of Dreaming (1993)

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Cassie Carter, "Integrity of Vision." Exclusive to The Jim Carroll Website.
Exclusive to The Jim Carroll Website.

Merry Fortune, Review of Fear of Dreaming. Poetry Project Newsletter, 1994.
Merry Fortune's free-flowing, poetic review of Fear of Dreaming was published in the newsletter of the St. Mark's Poetry Project, the very place where Carroll got his start as a poet.

Benjamin Segedin, Review of Fear of Dreaming. Booklist 90.4 (15 Oct. 1993): 412.
"Touching, disturbing, and deeply personal, Carroll mines Catholic symbolism and mean-street and drug imagery with poignant intensity."

Richard Sutherland,"BOOKS: Fear of Dreaming." Eye Weekly 17 Feb. 1994.
Download PDF
or visit the site.


Reviews of Forced Entries (1987)

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"Diaries of the Damned: The editors pick at the writings of Jim Carroll." Columbia Journal of American Studies 1:1 (1995).
Available www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/cjas/11/3.html
This article includes two separate reviews: one of The Basketball Diaries and one of Forced Entries. As an added bonus, it features a unique Jim Carroll autograph that says, "Dev Duckster lives!" as well as the full text of Carroll's poem "Midnight."

William Hochswender, "The Way They Were in Greenwich Village." Los Angeles Times Book Review 18 Oct. 1987: 10.
"[T]he real attraction of Carroll is the energy of his language, whether applied to fantastically baroque nods or to mundane urban realities." And "When, ultimately, Carroll finds his redemption in California . . . we sense that eneormity of the underground experience, as lived, in ways a documentary history can only grope for." Download PDF

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Books of the Times." New York Times, 9 July 1987: C23.
Review of The Basketball Diaries and Forced Entries. Download PDF

Mark Stevens,"The Cockroach Chronicles." New York Times, 1987.
Stevens says Forced Entries "provides plenty of diverting tinsel," enumerating Carroll's activity at the Factory and Max's Kansas City, but says "Mr. Carroll aspires to something wieghtier, however--a story of struggle and redemption."


Reviews of The Basketball Diaries (1978)

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"Diaries of the Damned: The editors pick at the writings of Jim Carroll." Columbia Journal of American Studies 1:1 (1995).
Available www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/cjas/11/3.html
This article includes two separate reviews: one of The Basketball Diaries and one of Forced Entries. As an added bonus, it features a unique Jim Carroll autograph that says, "Dev Duckster lives!" as well as the full text of Carroll's poem "Midnight."

Tricia Ireland, "Author's Honesty Makes Book Entertaining." Orion Online [Chico State University, CA]. 3 May 1995.
Download PDF or visit the site.

Jamie James. "The Basketball Diaries." American Book Review 2.3 (1980):9.
This is the all-time best review of The Basketball Diaries. Much quoted. Download PDF

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Books of the Times." New York Times, 9 July 1987: C23.
Review of The Basketball Diaries and Forced Entries. Download PDF

Cindy Rogowitz, Review of The Basketball Diaries.
http://pptnt.cpcnet.com/lancaster/pub/13/10.95/bball10.95.html

Mary-Anne St.Onge, Review of Basketball Diaries. Exclusive to The Jim Carroll Website.
Special to the Jim Carroll Website.


Reviews of Living at the Movies (1973)

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Gerard Malanga,"Traveling and Living." Poetry, 1974.
A glowing review of Living at the Movies. Download PDF

Michael Stephens, Review of Living at the Movies. Guardian, circa 1973.
Another glowing review. I don't have publication details for this article; Jim Carroll gave it to me. Download PDF


Review of Organic Trains (1967)


Ted Berrigan, "Jim Carroll." Culture Hero, 1969.
Poet Ted Berrigan describes first meeting Carroll and praises his first book, Organic Trains.

   

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