Book Reviews of Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd

Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd
Fourteen Growing Up Alone in a Crowd
Author: Stephen Zanichkowsky
ISBN-13: 9780465094011
ISBN-10: 0465094015
Publication Date: 5/1/2003
Pages: 256
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 12

3.9 stars, based on 12 ratings
Publisher: Basic Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is the definition of "lonely in a crowd." Stephen Zanichkowsky is child number 8 in a family which grew to include 14 children. When you are born in the midst of chaos, you not only are denied the opportunity to have a "normal" childhood, you don't even know what normal *is*. All you know is that you have to fight, literally, for everything.

You fight for love and affection, which is in very short supply.
You fight to protect what pitifully few possessions you have.
You fight for a sense of self -- to show you have a personality and not a number.
You fight to get out.
You fight to stay out.
You fight to be visible -- please notice me as a unique person.
You fight to be invisible -- please don't beat me because I happened to be standing next to the kid who misbehaved.

You fight, fight, fight ... inside your own head, with your father, with your siblings, with your shame, with your anxiety, with your fear, with your impulses.

You are surrounded by 14 children, with every older child having lost some of himself or herself in the forced "nanny duties" they had in taking care of the younger children, setting up the inevitable certainty that the only things you want in this world are 1) things you don't have to share with other children; 2) invisibility so that you are not punished for the slightest infraction or due to misbehavior of other children; 3) freedom and 4) peace and quiet in a place of one's own.

Growing up lonely in a crowd, and being groomed to want nothing more than a piece of ground, someplace of your own, was never more clear than in this novel, which was heartbreaking and sad, but totally worth the read.

Good luck, Mr. Zanichkowsky. May you never again have to find a hiding place for your things, and may you always have your fill of candy.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 344 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I was expecting a celebration of growing up in a large family. This is far from it, and yet I was pleasantly surprised. The author's childhood was not pleasant. His mother was worn out and in poor health, his father distant and seemingly unloving and certainly abusive, and there were just too many children for any of them to receive individual attention other than his parents' version of discipline. This will be hard for many people to read, but the book is honestly written with the author even pointing out some memories of which he isn't sure.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 397 more book reviews
This is a memoir of one's struggle of growing up in a large family. Having come from a large family myself, it is easy to relate to the loneliness & neglect one can feel even though they may be surrounded by people constantly, & the struggle to find peace within.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 22 more book reviews
Excellent memoir of a trouble life growing up in a large family. Not for the faint of heart as it was very forthright and honest but also incredibly sincere.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 397 more book reviews
This is a memoir of one's struggle of growing up in a large family. Having come from a large family myself, it is easy to relate to the loneliness & neglect one can feel even though they may be surrounded by people constantly, & the struggle to find peace within.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 34 more book reviews
A long but interesting story about growing up with 14 brothers and sisters.....sad but nostalgic at the same time. A pretty good read.
reviewed Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd on + 83 more book reviews
Brand new, read once.
Growing up ALone in a crowd.
Born 8th in a family of 14 siblings, Stephen Sanichowsky spent much of his life trying to understand his place int he crowd at home. With 5 kids sharing his bedroom, mental escape seemed the only solution and Zanichkowsky retreated to the world inside his head. As the number of children grew, his parents succumbed to anger, resentment, and despair; with so many children, there would never be enough love to go around.