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The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys [Paperback]

Chris Fuhrman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.50
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Book Description

30 Sep 2001
Set in Savannah, Georgia, in the early 1970s, this is a novel of the anarchic joy of youth and encounters with the concerns of early adulthood. Francis Doyle, Tim O'Brien, and their friends are altar boys - but they are also pranksters, artistic, and unimpressed by adult authority.

Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; New edition edition (30 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820323381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820323381
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,391,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"The freshness of Fuhrman's novel comes from his ability to squeeze out of a time of transition universal evocations of rebellion against growing up. . . . Fuhrman provides his story and characters with enough originality to keep the narrative clipping along and his reader totally absorbed."--"Chicago Tribune"

About the Author

Chris Fuhrman grew up as a Catholic in Savannah, Georgia, where he was born in 1960. He received his master's degree from Columbia University. Fuhrman died of cancer in 1991 while working on the final revision of "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," his first and only novel.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
By eighth grade, Jesus Christ had been bone meal and rumors for most of 1,974 years, but we were only thirteen. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but you got the synopsis a bit wrong 8 July 1998
By A Customer
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is brilliant. It made me, for the first time in many books, both laugh out loud and nearly cry. I have never read a more accurate or moving account of being young. The synopsis at the top of this page, however, makes a big mistake in describing the book. Francis, the narrator did not ever attempt suicide, that was his girlfriend Margie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books... 30 Nov 2006
I felt compelled to review this book due to the lack of reviews it has received so far and in the hopes of converting some new readers. I've read it something like four times now, and it is always an absolute joy to read, from cover to cover. I chanced upon the book a few years ago by way of coincidence: one of my favourite musicians of the time (Josh Homme) had sound tracked a film based upon a novel. While browsing Amazon for the soundtrack i stumbled across this book. The film, as it happens, turned out to be decidedly average, despite a top soundtrack. The book on the other hand is fantastic and now happens to be one of my all time favourite reads. It's a moving coming of age novel focusing on the friendship of four rebellious thirteen year old boys attending a Catholic school in 70's Georgia. The age of the four boys makes for a poignant story as it is the age at which, as i think the main character states in the book, "it is still possible to do things for the first time". Through his simple, unpretentious prose Fuhrman manages to render these pinnacle moments of young lives - the first kiss, the first time drunk & stoned, the intense bonds of adolescent friendship with aching beauty and clarity, some how managing the whole time to avoid cliche or nostalgia. By turns sad, funny, surreal and exciting, the book is written with such skill that i often found it practically possible to taste the air. It's tragic that the author died so young and was never able to see his book published.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant coming-of-age story 13 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Chris Fuhrman's short novel The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys is a slight but poignant coming-of-age story with a truly shocking ending. As the title suggests, the main characters in this novel are a gang of 13 and 14-year-old boys, students in a Savannah Catholic school, and the plot revolves around their pranks, troubles, and young love. For me, Fuhrman artless prose exactly captured the world of boys who were not yet men, whose female contemporaries suddenly had become (at least developmentally) women. The jacket biography says that Fuhrman died in his 30s while finishing this, his only book, and it was published through the efforts of a close friend (One is reminded of John Kennedy Toole, whose prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces escaped obscurity only because his mother took it from editor to editor until she found a publisher). Were he still alive, I would very much look forward to Furhman's next book. As it is, Dangerous Lives is a worthy and worthwhile memorial.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally somebody writesthe truth about us teenagers feelings 7 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
I personnally think that "The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys" is the best book I've ever read. I am a teenager and it totally captured a tremendous amount of my thoughts as they really are, not "fake" ideas about teenagers like some authors do. I tried to do what the love of Francis's life did, and to see some of my feelings written out like this was simply amazing, and also very breath-taking. Never have I read a book like this before, and never willl I read one like it again. The ending of this book was so unexpected, it made me cry (honestly.) Then, to find out after I read the book and was ready to look for more work by Mr. Fuhrman, i was terribly shocked to read that he died. That made the book even sadder. This book cannot even be rated on the scale, it's to good to be put in a number.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys 16 Jan 2000
By Christina Howard - Published on
I have repeatedly read The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys over the past five years. It has been swapped from family member to family member and from friend to friend. The ability the book has to appeal to such a wide audience, and continually gain a person's interest (even after reading it several times before) amazes me. This charming coming of age novel speaks to the experiences and innocent emotions each of us encounters during the akward age of adolescence. Chris Fuhrman captures the true essence of growing up, and tells his story in a way that will captivate each of his readers
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling debut novel that proudly serves as requiem. 28 Aug 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Sadder than Chris' unfortunate death is the fact that this jewel-like book fell beneath the long and opaque shadow of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." A fine book, "Midnight," and as a Savannah native I can personally attest to the charm and nostalgia it evokes. But for too many people, "Midnight" is the Savannah story. They will stop there and never read THIS story of Savannah -- a smaller story, a hidden story.

When I met Chris Fuhrman I was just a little kid, a nuisance at a dinner party. And Chris was tall, sunny-eyed, and somehow glorious as a teen-ager. And although our families did not often mix, the field on which Chris and I did meet was nearly always that strange and bizarre world of adult cocktail parties.

What Chris captures about Savannah in "Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" is not it's grandious homes and Civil War memories, not it's history and high society, not it's culture or its pungent marshland atmosphere. Chris captured my world in small. My youth and my childhood are inextricably bound within that story. I guess what needs saying is: I was there and Chris got it right!

Most people reading this have not and will not ever live in Savannah. Fine. Read the book anyway -- especially if you've read "Midnight." Chris' Savannah is just as real. In truth, it's what's THERE
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best reading experiences I've ever had 3 Nov 2000
By John N Dedeke - Published on
I came across this book ... I almost didn't buy it, but the fact that I did will go down in my own personal history as one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. After merely the first chapter, I was ready to call this book my all time favorite, and the rest of the novel does not disappoint. I don't know that I've ever been so moved before by a book, and I can't say for sure that you will (unless you're an alienated kid from the suburbs looking for love), but the book is a true gem and a pleasure to read nevertheless. After all of the ups and downs of the emotional ride that this novel presents, the biggest blow of all came when I discovered that the author, a newfound god in my estimation, had never lived to see its publication. If there is one single book that can totally sum up the joy, terror, beauty, humor and horror of youth and coming of age, it is Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words are useless 8 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
After reading 'Altar Boys', I fondly looked back at the creation of other coming of age novels. Nothing I've read comes close to telling the trials and the daily struggles of being that misfit kid. Almost a parody, this tale of catholic life had me laughing, but shaking at the same time. It's not very often a book is this honest and understanding. A personal favorite.
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