I don’t particularly care for this treat. I’m partial to Marie Calendar’s chocolate cream pies and Schwann’s microwave brownies and fudge ice cream sundae cups, and of course I’ll take a Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae any day. However, I just finished reading A Fistful of Fig Newtons by Jean Shepherd.
You may remember this author as the creator of the tale on which the movie, A Christmas Story, was based. Not to be confused with the American country music singer who’s last name is spelled with an A instead of an E, Jean Shepherd was born on July 26th, 1921 in Chicago, Illinois. He died on October 16th, 1999 at the age of 78 in Sanibel Island, Florida. A writer of humor and satire, he served in the military from 1942-1944. He was also a radio and television personality, best known for A Christmas Story (1983) which he narrated and co-scripted and which is still broadcast each year on Turner Network Television during the holiday season. To learn more about him, click here.
A Fistful of Fig Newtons is more of the same, stories about Jean Shepherd’s imaginary life as Ralph, the kid who wanted and received a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. In the title story, he and his college dorm mates are sharing fig newtons and salami when one student produces a box of chocolate-flavored laxatives and proposes a contest in which each boy consumes as many of the tablets as he can before making a mad dash for the restroom. This is followed by other tales: Ralph’s first summer camp experience, his amazing mastery of high school freshman algebra, an ice cream war between a local vendor and a franchise, and how he lost a friend in the Army on a secured troop train going who knew where. The last story describes a disastrous New Year’s Eve date just after he was discharged from the Army.
For those of us who are visually impaired or otherwise prevented from reading print books, A Fistful of Fig Newtons is available on Bookshare. I’m sure it can also be found in print and eBook formats. I recommend this book, especially if you just suffered a loss and need some good laughs.