The Pharmacist's Mate

Amy Fusselman

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The Pharmacist's Mate

The Pharmacist s Mate Named It Discovery Writer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly Amy Fusselman took readers and critics alike by storm when McSweeney s published this powerful little book In The Pharmacist s Mate she

  • Title: The Pharmacist's Mate
  • Author: Amy Fusselman
  • ISBN: 9780142002353
  • Page: 247
  • Format: Paperback
  • Named It Discovery Writer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Amy Fusselman took readers and critics alike by storm when McSweeney s published this powerful little book In The Pharmacist s Mate, she writes of her father s death and her own attempts to become pregnant, weaving in excerpts from her father s World War II journal written while he was a pharmacist s mate onNamed It Discovery Writer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Amy Fusselman took readers and critics alike by storm when McSweeney s published this powerful little book In The Pharmacist s Mate, she writes of her father s death and her own attempts to become pregnant, weaving in excerpts from her father s World War II journal written while he was a pharmacist s mate on the Liberty ship George E Pickett Fusselman creates a work both startlingly real and deeply funny all wrapped up in writing so clever and warm it will leave you feeling that everything will be okay.

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    One thought on “The Pharmacist's Mate

    1. Elyse on said:

      *NON FICTION* GREAT DISCOVERY ads like a fiction!!!This is a story about Amy Fusselman. She tells us - in detail like I've never read before - her struggles to get pregnant. the months before and after the death of her dad. The narrative is sparse- ( can't 'not' notice how eye-catching it is)s marvelous weird funny d.poetic and SHORT! ( less than 100 pages) "The Pharmacist's Mate", juxtaposes Amy Fusselman's story of death, insemination, and music, with excerpts from her father's World War II j [...]

    2. David on said:

      the marcel dzama cover on nice paper aside. this is the quietest book on the shelf. and the most powerful. the tiniest little book of beauty and sadness and goodness. it fills your heart up with handclaps and tambourines and perfect harmonies. i read this wrapped up in an afghan that my grandmother had made before she died. wrapped up against the winter coming in through the cracks of the windowsills. through the 1950s thin paned windows themselves. it came right through the window and walls. to [...]

    3. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly on said:

      I grabbed this in a bookstore thinking it might be a chess book. It isn't. It's a memoir. Amy Fusselman is trying to get pregnant while mourning--and terribly missing--her father who has just died of complications brought by his emphysema(after being comatose for a while). He started smoking very young (at age 12), stopped when he was already 50 years old but, despite quitting, he still had emphysema. This could have been written by my sister. She is also childless, our father had emphysema, sta [...]

    4. Meghan on said:

      I read this in my early twenties and one particular anecdote stuck with me, a paragraph about the author and a moment when she is exercising on the elliptical machine a few weeks after her father died, and she feels his presence there in the air all of a sudden.Anyway, this is a memoir written in the style of disconnected paragraphs similar toDept. of Speculation, and it's about the death of the author's father and her attempts to get pregnant, interspersed with snippets from her father's WWII d [...]

    5. Joanna on said:

      This book is like an exceptional piece of jewelry: small, exquisite, gorgeously rendered, and valuable. The title refers to Fusselman's father's time working on a ship, as opposed to 'mate' as we tend to consider it in terms of partnership. It is just this kind of seamlessly logical but emotionally unexpected divergence that is given full range through the brief 86 pages of this story.The author is telling the story of her struggle to get pregnant in the months before and after the death of her [...]

    6. Chazzbot on said:

      This 86-page mini-memoir comes with a cover price of $16 and a lot of random, seemingly unedited blurbs (rare is the paragraph in this volume that is longer than five lines) as the author muddles through various attempts at impregnation and the death of her father. There is little coherence or logic here, and the volume reads like a last-minute collection of diary entries cobbled together by an MFA student facing a deadline. I am informed by the back cover flap that the author, from 1993-98, "pu [...]

    7. CDB on said:

      "And this is how I come face to face with my selfishness, because I don't know if I can enjoy this goldfish without knowing that he loves me, or if not loves me, then at least depends on me, i.e swims up to my fingers greedily when I fill them with salty-smelling rainbow-colored flakes, and wiggle them over his head.And this is disturbing to realize, that I have such difficulty enjoying anything that doesn't know I exist. Especially when I stop and think how big the world is, the world that is n [...]

    8. Rand on said:

      Read this a long long time ago, but probably did not finish it. The only thing I can recall about it is that it was very ery sad adn somber and subdued. At the time of my reading, it prefigured a few important life events that I was perhaps not prepared for when they ended up happening (however remotely) and I know that I did not pay attention to this book's demands very well at the time, though it certainly did seem "right" for me to ignore this book while I was pretending to be reading it, as [...]

    9. Nate D on said:

      The previous generation dies, the following generation tries to get born, the generation in between mediates. This is Universal Experience. Which makes it literarily convenient if these things line up in your life, though not necessarily thrilling for others to read about. Even if you convey them with a certain spare grace and poetry.But I think I spent only one dollar on this, and read it entirely on my ride home from work, so I can't really complain.

    10. Paul on said:

      I'm going to call this book the little wonder from now on. Because it is so little, and so wonderful. And on page 52, just below the word shimmering, there is a small thread shaped like a sperm. And that is very appropriate for this book. Maybe other copies have this too. I certainly hope that they do.

    11. Emma Bolden on said:

      This book is the perfect mix of funny, tender, sad, and awkward. It made me want to hug everyone. But not in a creepy way, in a "Hey, this thing we are all experiencing called life? It's tremendously difficult and strange but also often wonderful, right?" kind of way.

    12. Edith on said:

      C'était un candidat à l'élagage à la biblio où je travaille. Finalement ça avait l'air trop intéressant pour l’élaguer alors je l'ai emprunté. Et j'ai bien aimé ma lecture. :)

    13. W.B. on said:

      It's a good read so far, but very sad. I bought this book by almost complete chance and it turns out it's about her father dying at the same time she's trying to get pregnant.This is weird, because her father and my father died in almost identical circumstances and I just realized (while reading this last night) that the previous day was the anniversary of my father's death. Strange how we miss these things for a moment when life gets so messed up with demands and details of the present.But I en [...]

    14. Diane on said:

      Oh, chocolate fudge sundae! I don't know how to write a paper on this! What will I write??? PANICKING!!! :OThis book probably has the most memorable first line I've ever read: "Don't have sex on a boat unless you want to be pregnant." It doesn't really sum up what the story is about unlike other books, but the opening line was important. And it doesn't hurt to say that when my friends read the line, they all exclaimed 'Uy! mukhang maganda to ah!'. The humor did not dwindle or stayed in the first [...]

    15. Lana. on said:

      3.5 / Intriguing writing. Grief and longing are so real and intertwined in the writer's life that it is overwhelming for someone like me who's not experienced it to that degree. So, while I was caught in it, I wasn't sure I would like the book. I didn't feel hopeful or that it was necessarily "fun" as the notes indicated. Rather, only when I read the Afterward (which wasn't even part of the original publication) with the more standard, linear narrative, that I find things I can relate to - expre [...]

    16. Scott Woody on said:

      8/The Pharmacist's Mate is an exploration of a woman's residual trauma from a childhood molestation. The book has a unique style with lots of random textual insertions: poems, diary entries, shopping lists, etc but doesn't have a ton to recommend for it. Additionally, the book uses a tried and true McSweeney-ism wherein the second half the of the book is printed such that it starts on the last page and works it way to the middle. This kind of thing was cool the first time I saw it, but does not [...]

    17. Tara on said:

      Oh, how I loved you little book. And I mean, really really loved. Others do not seem to share my penchant for adoring and carrying around this book, but it doesn't matter to me, I will re-read--and love again--this book. Not that much really happens. But the voice of the narrator, and the little journal entries from the seaman father, were light, funny, conversational engaging. It skips and beats, goes in long rushes, then gently reveals the sadness underneath the story (don't worry, though, it [...]

    18. Jennifer on said:

      A short quirky read about infertility and grief. Is it innovative and beautifully structured? I don't know about that. Short chunks of prose poem interconnect--sometimes profound, maybe not groundbreaking. At one point, the author is asked to be a sound designer of a play and falls into a world where people discuss metaphors about time, and I've met people in the arts who remind me of her. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the book had been longer it would be impossibly twee. The discussion of [...]

    19. Stacy on said:

      Eighty-nine pages. Short passages. This novella packs a punch. The narrator's attempts to get pregnant using increasingly sophisticated medical interventions; intertwined with the narrator's attempts to come to terms with her father's death; both of these interspersed with excerpts from her father's diary from WWII when he was a "pharmacist's mate" in the merchant marines. Yes, it all adds up. It's funny without trying too hard. It's poignant and poetic and feels real, even when the author is de [...]

    20. gingerkitty on said:

      okay, so I didn't read the last 10 pages because I spilled tea all over the book and the pages are stuck together, so if I may have missed a critical part. Let me say though, for such a short book, it took me along time to get through it. I found the author's stream of consciousness writing style kind of off putting, and was more interested in her dads journal entries. I guess I just didn't really relate to the main character very well, so didn't really care about her plight. This book does have [...]

    21. Amy on said:

      I hate the star scoring system. This book was delightful: candid, moving, funny, excitingly structured, if not ruthlessly edited. Slender: 102 pages including the afterword. I liked holding it in my hand, so light! Dave Eggers called it "a brief miracle of a book." The Village Voice review said it was, ultimately, more like a stack of post-it notes by the phone than it was a book. Both are kind of right.

    22. Beth on said:

      I hesitate to say anything too critical about this book, since it does seem like it comes from a very honest place; Amy Fusselman isn't a bad writer, and she is clearly searching for something profound in her period of difficulty (the death of her father, her struggle to conceive, her participation in what sounds like an atrociously bad play). I guess I'm glad that she wrote it all down in ~100 pages, not 500. And I'm glad I got it for free from the give-away pile at my local bookstore.

    23. Kate on said:

      It only takes about an hour or two (with plenty of interruptions) to read the author's thoughts on time and space, living and dying and making babies. I like the author's brain. I also very much like her dad's writing as well.Just like her book "8", this is probably not a book I will actively recommend to very many but will enjoy privately and will recognize wonder and awesome in anyone that likes it too.

    24. Julie Franki on said:

      A slim volume, this is one of those perfect little books I'm glad I own, because having read it it is now my good friend. Its protagonist narrates this tale in first person; she wants a baby, and is having trouble conceiving. She resorts to an ancient Chinese herbal regimen, which tastes terrible. This book isn't so much about the plot as the voice of the narrator, and her inner life, and, wellI just really like her. I think you will too.

    25. James Specht on said:

      I was a little hesitant to read this book; it has the dubious honor of having recommendations from both Dave Eggers and Rosie O'Donnell on the back of the book. It was an interesting read, curiously devoid of too much emotion but not in an nihilistic way. Each chapter is almost like a haiku. It's beautifully matter of fact about the author's father dying while she is trying to conceive.

    26. Traci on said:

      This is a really beautiful, small book about a woman whose father is dying at the same time she is having a difficult time trying to conceive a child. The heartbreaking-ness is interspersed with excerpts from her father's WWII Navy diary. It is a really pretty and sweet book, from the usually pretty great McSweeney's.

    27. Shannon on said:

      I randomly picked this one off my shelf and I'm not really sure why it was even on my shelf. I have no clue what this story was aboutank goodness it was a super short readI kept reading hoping I'd get that ah'ha moment but it never came. I usually am pretty happy with the books I read but not this onerry!

    28. Rebecca on said:

      I bought this book on a whim and carried it around for 14 years before I got around to reading it, and I'm glad I waited because I think it was more relevant to me in my 40's than it would have been a decade before. An uplifting, humorous, thought-provoking, irreverent yet respectful and sensitive account of growing up, letting go of one's parents and embracing motherhood.

    29. Lori on said:

      It only took me an hour and 20 minsbut I loved it. I think the front cover describes it well"A Story of Birth, Death, Guitars and Goldfish" I really like when she talks abou the golfish in the end and how it made her think about her selfishness's an amazing, cute little book!

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