Description of "An Adolescent's Christmas: 1944" by Carol Bly

In the memoir "An Adolescent's Christmas: 1944", (Afton Historical Society Press, 2000), essayist Carol Bly recalls a wartime family holiday in her childhood Duluth, Minnesota home. The audio work "An Adolescent's Christmas: 1944" (Essay Audio, 2002) is the author's very first unabridged audiobook release from a life time of literary work. It is also read for you by the author, Carol Bly. A special feature of this audio work is the addition of a new audio interview done with Carol after the recording sessions for the audiobook were completed in the winter of 2002. In this conversation, the author looks back at the writing of the memoir and explains how the fear of war is affecting us again, however differently, as it did in 1944. Interview topics such as understanding and dealing with the death of a loved one, especially near the holidays, and today's activism for social change, gives the listener further insight into one of America's leading social critics and teachers.

Carol McLean Bly, an author in her 70's, recalls a wartime holiday in this bittersweet memoir. What does it mean if a 14-year-old girl — a member of an affectionate, loyal, and at least "three-quarters cultured" family—has bad dreams about the Gestapo? What are 14-year-olds having nightmares about today? Recalling her own adolescence and thinking of contemporary adolescents, the author offers some astonishing conclusions. As an adolescent, Bly wanted her fears to be taken seriously and believes the anxieties of today's young people should be taken seriously also.

Bly's work is characterized by a feminist spirit and a deep knowledge of small town life. The reading of her own Christmas memoir lends itself to audio perfectly, revealing personal histories both subtle and complex. Published and distributed by, 2002.


"What a lovely essay this is! It has an uncanny power to transport the reader to 1944, U-boats circling in black waters, half a family overseas, the Christmas dance. But best of all is the portrait of a father who praises shabbiness while he practices honor and reserve."  óBill Holm

Carol Bly is winner of the 2001 Minnesota Humanities Award for Literature, the University of Minnesota's Edelstein-Keller Distinguished Minnesota Author in 1998-99, and the Minnesota Women's Press Favorite Woman Author for 2000. She has an honorary degree from Northland College.

Her current book is Beyond the Writers' Workshop: New Ways to Write Creative Nonfiction, an Anchor Book from Random House. Other in-print work includes My Lord Bag of Rice: New and Collected Stories, published by Milkweed Editions in 2000; and Changing the Bully Who Rules the World, published by Milkweed in 1996. Recently reprinted work includes Letters from the Country (Univ. of Minnesota Press) and The Passionate, Accurate Story (Milkweed Editions).

The short story "My Lord Bag of Rice" was chosen for and published in the Pushcart 25th anniversary collection (2002).

One chapter of her novel-in-progress, Shelter Half, appears in the current issue of The Idaho Review. The October, 2002, issue of Hotel Amerika, published at Ohio University, carried Carol's new essay, "How Radiation Oncology Nearly Made Me a Republican."

Carol Bly teaches 4 courses in creative writing each January, February, and March in St. Paul and gives talks and readings nationally for a living

A native of Minnesota her whole life, Bly spends her time between St. Paul, MN, and the North Woods near Duluth. She continues her work with the Minnesota School Social Workers Association in an effort to stop corporations from supporting violent media and television programming targeting children. She recently finished recording the unabridged versions of more of her essays from "My Lord Bag of Rice" with Essay Audio in St. Paul, MN. For more information, please visit the author's website:

Audio CD - $15.00
(not available on tape)
ISBN 0-9665212-8-5

Total time: 77 minutes

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