Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones

Growing Up Dead in Texas

It was a fire that could be seen for miles, a fire that split the community, a fire that turned families on each other, a fire that it's still hard to get a straight answer about. A quarter of a century ago, someone held a match to Greenwood, Texas's cotton.Stephen Graham Jones was twelve that year. What he remembers best, what's stuck with him all this time, is that nobody ever came forward to claim that destruction. And nobody was ever caught. ...

Details Growing Up Dead in Texas

TitleGrowing Up Dead in Texas
Release DateJun 19th, 2012
PublisherMP Publishing Ltd
GenreFiction, Mystery, Horror, Literature, 21st Century

Reviews Growing Up Dead in Texas

  • Lori
    What a wonderful book. Has all the flavor of memoir and all the miracle of fiction. I loved this book. -- Joe R. LansdaleI liked this book a lot, but I would need the text to try and explain. The story winds back and forth thru past and present, a blend of memory and mystery. The year that Hot Wheels came out is more important than I ever realized. Despite the title and other books by the author, this isn't horror. There are no werewolves or slas...
  • J.K. Grice
    GROWING UP DEAD IN TEXAS is probably one of the few books that I absolutely loved, despite having some questions in my head after I finished reading it. Jones's writing style is one of the big reasons that this story was so compelling and so fascinating. His prose is as sparse and seemingly as barren as the west Texas countryside he writes about. But of course, there's often more that lurks beneath the surface of the ordinary or mundane. Stephen ...
  • Matt Falvey
    If Quentin Tarantino and Cormac McCarthy crossed paths in a rundown whiskey bar just north of the Rio Grande, this is the book that backroad's connection would have produced. It's a novel, wrapped in mystery, dipped in autobigraphy with a dash of investigative journalism about Stephen Graham Jones' return to his hometown and the unintended ripples of a fire from his childhood that ripped the community apart and splintered the ties between ages-ol...
  • Gordon
    Everyone will tell you they don't know what's real versus fabricated in this memoir. Even the author does a lot of backtracking and correcting and apologizing, to protect the innocent and the not-so. To reframe scenes from another viewpoint with more insight, some backstory that needed context, that so-and-so's father had been a you-know-what, or cheated someone out of their inheritance, or once upon a time was sweet on the wrong girl. Half these...
  • Ana
    I need to read this quietly unsettling book again.
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    Growing Up Dead In Texas is the definition of blurring the lines. It is beautifully written in a truly distinct voice that could only belong to Stephen Graham Jones. Not only are you trying to figure out the mystery that the plot (sometimes) focuses on, you are also left trying to piece together what is memoir, and what is fiction. It is a mystery that never got solved and happened so far in the past, that it only remains in the memories of those...
  • Edward
    Man, this book is really hard for me to review. Especially in a way that expresses just how much you should be reading it. It's part mystery, part memoir. But the book reads like fiction. Jones pulls you into his West Texas like you've been living there your whole life. You see the road that a young teenage girl died on. You feel the cotton as you run through it during basketball conditioning. You witness the brutal beating of a young boy. Stephe...
  • Mark
    My mother lives in a nursing home. Most of the time, she is coherent and can tell me how she's feeling and even discuss current events. But sometimes, when she's tired or when she's just taken her medication, her conversations are very hard to follow. She changes subjects mid-sentence or starts talking about someone by first name who she hasn't previously introduced into the conversation. Reading Growing Up Dead In Texas, I had the impression it ...
  • Michael Seidlinger
    From now on, whenever someone asks me what I think is the best piece of creative nonfiction it's going to be this book.For a genre that's mired in contradiction and, at best, a hazy sense of "truth," Stephen Graham Jones successfully redefines creative nonfiction for all us still looking for a tether from which to hold on.One of my favorites of 2012.
  • Adam Cesare
    Real review forthcoming...probably. In the mean time: holy s$*t, this book.
  • Gina
    I almost hated this book. A friend said it's like ADD in print, and that's true, but it's worse than that. 1. A hint to writers: if you're going to make your narrator a professional writer, he needs to be able to write. With sentences and coherent thoughts and those kinds of things. For an example of how this is done, see Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. If your narrator is going to write with ridiculous sentence fragments and no sense of plot or timin...
  • Christopher Novas
    A memoir disguised under the beggars cloth of a fiction novel. Does it matter?Livelihoods gone, and sins piled on top of sins eaten by the fields in West Texas. We fall into the childhood of Stephen Graham Jones, and the community in which he was born and grew up in. Names change, but the truth is still there burning under a cotton field. The words have more truth, more pulling gravity than anything I've ever read. It's a detective novel where th...
  • Rich
    I was excited to read this because it related to the area but his writing was hard to mesh with. The book and story hit close to where I am in West Texas and Midland but even when he described stuff I was familiar with, I never connected with it. While a potentially a good story, it just wasn't a match for me.
  • Holly Morey
    I have never read this author before and I can say that I probably won't read another one. Obviously I just didn't get it. The story jumped all over the place and I could never figure out what the author was talking about. I finished the book because it is a book club read and I can't wait for someone to tell me what happened
  • Ian Butler
    This is an excellent read. good characters and plot with a good ending. Highly recommended.
  • Michael
    I wrote a rather extensive review of this book the day I finished it, but due to an unfortunate turn of events, that review is gone forever, and I just can't quite bring myself to hammer out a mere imitation of it, so you'll get a more superficial treatment. This book affected me profoundly. My wife could tell when I'd been reading it because I was pensive, introspective, depressed even. My previous review was a deep dive into the feelings inspir...
  • Laurel
    I love this author. No two books are alike, and all of them are captivating.
  • Renfield
    Growing Up Dead in Texas does strange things to your head.Stephen Graham Jones delivers a masterfully executed novel epic here, riffing on an American Gothic trip in his own inimitable and handsome style. The book bills itself as "part mystery, part memoir," but that pitch is really selling this short, as this should be, to me, a quintessential novel of coming of age in a small town, or of boyhood itself, much like (sourcing from my own ideal rea...
  • Andrea
    I loved this, though I think Stephen Graham Jones has even more in him and hasn't quite hit his full stride. Still, I'll be reading all of his books, only a couple I haven't gotten to yet. By the end of this I was saturated with memories of small town Texas and cotton and families that run everything in a way that permeates every aspect of the story without being told really. It's like those memories are mine. Course Arizona and Texas aren't so d...
  • Kkraemer
    This is about the part of Texas that you fly by in a car, wishing that the road just weren't so long. It's the part of Texas that's dusty and flat, with nary a tree to catch your eye. The little towns just look morose. It's the part of Texas that you're glad you didn't grow up in.Jones did grow up there, though, and he writes an utterly fascinating book about it. Part memoir, part mystery, part writer's notebook, part reflection, Growing Up Dead ...
  • Cheryl
    "Sometimes life, it is a story."I loved "Growing Up Dead in Texas," from its cover art to its title to the pages of lush, flowing prose.What Joe Lansdale has done for fiction and East Texas, Jones has now done for West Texas writing. I see similarities in the works of the two authors, especially the ability to reach inside the reader and pull out a socked-in-the-gut response - visceral rather than intellectual. It reminded me in some ways of Lans...
  • Travis
    I really enjoyed this fast-paced but challenging novel. Because of its fragmented narrative structure, you really have to work early on at immersing yourself into the storytelling style of plotting and narration Jones uses. It's well done, though, and before you know it, you find yourself wrapped up in a book that, on the surface, feels very much like a familiar who-done-it type of mystery. There's quite a bit more here to sink your teeth into, t...
  • Charles
    Creative non-fiction with a bend toward fiction. Awesome. When Stephen told me that people called him and told him there wasn't a fire in 1985, and other people called him and asked why they didn't remember a fire in 1985, I knew I had to read a book that made people question their own memories. You won't be disappointed.
  • Caleb Ross
    Click the image below to watch the video review
  • Mark Pearce
    Couldn't put it down. Investigative haunting narrative that makes you feel you're inside his head thinking with him - who did it?
  • Leah
    Here is a link to my review in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
  • John
    A.D.D. in print.
  • Susanne
    I really wanted to love this book. I heard Jones read, enjoyed it, and wanted to teach this book in my Western American Literature classes as an example of contemporary Native American authors, but I just could not keep the characters and plot straight. I probably should have taken notes! I liked his narrative voice, and I get that there really were no answers to some of the mysteries of his life and that it was the journey not the destination th...
  • Linda Sivertsdotter
    I am still sitting here wondering wth happend? What was it about?? Sorry, this was not my cup of tea o.O Summery - Cotton burned and burned and it wasn't the first time and things had been smoldering in town for ages and no one liked talking and all sorts of weird shit going on and people seemed to die regulary of all sorts of not natural causes and .. sigh.. Nope, not my cup of tea. I found it dull and pointless :(
  • Teri Skultety
    Another lesson from Jones in how to tell a story.