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My grandmother s having sex with that driving school man Uh oh, the bird man said.Mrs Kerrigan s grip went slack, causing Steve to tilt to one side Do you even know what that means she asked Becca There s a thing, and a hole, and the thing goes in the hole Never mind I know you re going through a hard time right now, Becca I think maybe you re angry at your parents for not staying together, and you re angry at your mother for travelling so much She s not traveling She moved t My grandmother s having sex with that driving school man Uh oh, the bird man said.Mrs Kerrigan s grip went slack, causing Steve to tilt to one side Do you even know what that means she asked Becca There s a thing, and a hole, and the thing goes in the hole Never mind I know you re going through a hard time right now, Becca I think maybe you re angry at your parents for not staying together, and you re angry at your mother for travelling so much She s not traveling She moved to California Okay, then you re angry at her for moving to California But that doesn t mean it s okay to take it out on your grandmother I can t stand that witch, Becca said She smells like hairspray and she farts Your grandmother is a good friend of mine, and I happen to know she s doing the best she can She doesn t even like you, Becca said She told me you re lonely And sad Mrs Kerrigan s chin quivered for a moment Becca, her smelly grandmother, and Mrs Kerrigan are just a few of the many quirky characters who populate Ryan s tales of strange, disenchanted, and lonely folks who live in and around Cape Canaveral Most of his players are not particularly likable There are cheating spouses, creepy lechers, ex mobsters, bullies, brats, and swinging former astronauts Though they re all leading the proverbial lives of quiet desperation, most of them have chosen not to go down without a fight Their struggles to rise above their current problems are frequently touching and humorous.While these stories are probably not for everyone, I truly enjoyed all of them, and would bethan happy to read em again from Earth, Mostly Enjoyable collection of short stories that draw the reader in from the start I like how some of the minor characters return as the main character in later stories, usually taking place years down the road Nice way of tying some of the stories together Wonderful description too Not a collection to read if you want only happy endings, however But at least they re realistic endings. A short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger So said Stephen King I am a lover of short stories and I ve found that that kiss can be anything from a brief too dry to care , sloppy too undisciplined or intense need a bit of distance.Patrick Ryan gets the formula just right He s a natural born storyteller and I loved every single one of these nine touching stories All of them take place around Cape Canaveral as public enthusiasm for the NASA space program was dying down And e A short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger So said Stephen King I am a lover of short stories and I ve found that that kiss can be anything from a brief too dry to care , sloppy too undisciplined or intense need a bit of distance.Patrick Ryan gets the formula just right He s a natural born storyteller and I loved every single one of these nine touching stories All of them take place around Cape Canaveral as public enthusiasm for the NASA space program was dying down And each is about individuals who have been left at the launching pad, trying to build propulsion for take off.My favorites The eponymous story The Dream Life of Astronauts introduces us to Frankie, a teenage boy who is remarkably comfortable in his own skin after coming out to his family At a public library, he meets a former astronaut, Clark Evans, who is now out of the NASA program and touts real estate business cards that read I ll travel the galaxy to meet your needs What happens next is a painful and unexpected look at suburbia and the chasm between innocent youth and cynical adulthood.We will meet Frankie onetime in this collection, in the equally fine story Earth, Mostly He s grown up now, yet has moved back to his mother s home That story which also features characters we ve met in a former story Miss America cuts right to the chase by portraying ordinary life with all its foibles including a grandmother who has arranged to meet her married driving instructor after crashing her car.There aredelights in store for the reader as well One story portrays a bookkeeper of an extortion program who lives in a Florida retirement home under the witness protection program and clashes with the anal retentive head of his condo board There s a great story about a NASA engineer who is romancing his boss s wife and wondering if she s trying to poison that boss Whether he s writing about a 70 year old man who finally reaches closure with his toxic 92 year old mother or two bullying teen brothers and their stroke impaired father, Patrick Ryan s characters ring authentic.The strength of this collection was such that I wanted to read it straight through without pause This space era collection is decidedly down to earth 4.5 stars A stack from the short story collection shelves that I m re visiting and re reading before I take them away.not rated individually, no review comments, as I m reading them in a very non linear way I used to call these waiting room books, and I m surprised by how many of these stories I remember reading the first time aroundalmost a short story timeline madeleine Which makes it so hard to part with books.The Collected Stories of Elizabeth BowenWhere The Money Went Kevin CantyBea A stack from the short story collection shelves that I m re visiting and re reading before I take them away.not rated individually, no review comments, as I m reading them in a very non linear way I used to call these waiting room books, and I m surprised by how many of these stories I remember reading the first time aroundalmost a short story timeline madeleine Which makes it so hard to part with books.The Collected Stories of Elizabeth BowenWhere The Money Went Kevin CantyBeautiful Girls Beth Ann BaumanOur Former Lives in Art Jennifer S DavisYou Are Not a Stranger Here Adam HaslettAnatomies Andee HochmanThis Is Paradise Kristiana KahakauwilaHere In the World Victoria LancelottaFemale Trouble Antonya NelsonHow to Breathe Underwater Julie OrringerSlow Dance on the Fault Line Donald RawleyNightbird Cantata Donald RawleyThe Hill Bachelors William Trevor The Dream Life of Astronauts , a short story collection by Patrick Ryan, captured me with the very first story The Way She handles , is set in the summer of 1973 during the Watergate hearings I remember it well and appreciated all the references, and I even felt a little rush when the love song from The Poseidon Adventure was mentioned and I knew what that was The Morning After by Maureen McGovern and then spent the rest of the day trying to get that tune out of my head Most of the st The Dream Life of Astronauts , a short story collection by Patrick Ryan, captured me with the very first story The Way She handles , is set in the summer of 1973 during the Watergate hearings I remember it well and appreciated all the references, and I even felt a little rush when the love song from The Poseidon Adventure was mentioned and I knew what that was The Morning After by Maureen McGovern and then spent the rest of the day trying to get that tune out of my head Most of the stories are set in the 1970s and all are set in or around Cape Canaveral and mention the US Space Program I have worked at the Johnson Space Center here in Houston for over 26 years, so I appreciated many of the details It s rare to like every single story in a short story collection, but in this case, I did enjoy each and every one Though the longest story, Miss America , was my favorite It s about 16 year old Dani, who aspires to being Miss Florida and then Miss America one day Her stepfather has just left her mother, who is not handling it well whatever that looks like Her mother suddenly wants them to be friends but Dani has a secret and needs a mother very much The Dream Life of Astronauts , is about a young man named Frankie and his burgeoning sexuality Later in the collection, as story called Earth, Mostly links and continues both Dani and Frankie s stories.Ryan is an absolutely wonderful writer, often his descriptions two brothers who are bullies, or a wife that may or may not be poisoning her husband are both hilarious and harrowing at the same time not easy to pull off I ll be eagerly watching forfrom Patrick Ryan in the future Patrick Ryan s collection of short stories, The Dream Life of Astronauts , takes on several universal themes The characters he evokes often appear inthan one story, usually after a passage of time All of them are searching for ways to findmeaning in their lives, often sliding backwards as they try to go forward The protagonists are often troubled by addiction, family dysfunction, divorce or loneliness The one thing they have in common is that they all live in Florida near Cape C Patrick Ryan s collection of short stories, The Dream Life of Astronauts , takes on several universal themes The characters he evokes often appear inthan one story, usually after a passage of time All of them are searching for ways to findmeaning in their lives, often sliding backwards as they try to go forward The protagonists are often troubled by addiction, family dysfunction, divorce or loneliness The one thing they have in common is that they all live in Florida near Cape Canaveral In the title story, Frankie is a 16 year old boy who has come out to his family He goes to the library to hear a retired astronaut speak and is invited to the astronaut s home What follows is a sexual gambit that is entirely unexpected by Frankie Go Fever takes place after the Challenger disaster Wendell is a supervisor at the launching site who believes that his wife Loretta is trying to poison him The story is told from the viewpoint of an employee and friend of Wendell s who just happens to be having an affair with Loretta Fountain of Youth is a delightful story about a man in witness protection who is now residing in a retirement community He states Life is fickle, you know You can be somebody one minute and nobody the next, full of yourself in the morning and empty as a tapped well in the afternoon I don t know who I am any, but sometimes, just for a second, I know who I want to be This excerpt pretty well summarizes the feelings of many characters in this collection.I loved several other stories in this collection and liked the author s frequent technique of switching narrators within the story It is interesting to see characters from early stories return in later ones Frankie, courted by an ex astronaut as a teen ager, returns in a later story as bird man , a young man who is obviously mentally ill and may be suffering from AIDS In this same story, we meet the mother of the teen ager in Miss America who is now raising her daughter s child I can t name my favorite story because I loved so many of the nine in the collection I read the book in one day and I felt that there was a power house of inner worlds and puzzled characters all facing the human condition, attempting to succeed when they were prisoners of fatefrequently than choice The area around Cape Canaveral, consisting of several long islands, contains a population not all connected to the Space Center, but affected by its proximity in different ways I was reminded of stories set in and around, say, Las Vegas, in which people leading ordinary lives cannot help but be associated with the Strip even if they never set foot there Each of these 9 stories presents a character recognizable in their human qualities Ryan s writing style is smooth, his situations, distinct The area around Cape Canaveral, consisting of several long islands, contains a population not all connected to the Space Center, but affected by its proximity in different ways I was reminded of stories set in and around, say, Las Vegas, in which people leading ordinary lives cannot help but be associated with the Strip even if they never set foot there Each of these 9 stories presents a character recognizable in their human qualities Ryan s writing style is smooth, his situations, distinct The timeline runs from the 1960 s to the present, and in some there is overlap, characters showing up decades later in surprising ways, so the trajectory of their lives can be followed, in many cases, poignantly The people in these stories may not always be sympathetic There are cases of bullying, by children against other children, children against parents, in one memorable instance, a mother against her son s cancer stricken wife And the resolutions are far from cliched One of my favorite stories actually made me laugh out loud a member of the Chicago mob in the Witsec Program finds himself in a retirement community under a different name, but still recognizes his former self when he looks in the mirror That actually was the only story that made me laugh The others made me think I was a goodreads first reads winner of The Dream of Astronauts Stories.This is a book of short stories Most take place in Florida in and around Cape Canaveral.Most of the stories take place around big historical moments, such as Watergate, In 1969 at the time of the rocket sent up for the moon landing the Challenger explosion A teenage boy watched the arrival of his hippie uncle and the slow break up of his parent s marriage A foster girl lives on a farm around the time of the first moon l I was a goodreads first reads winner of The Dream of Astronauts Stories.This is a book of short stories Most take place in Florida in and around Cape Canaveral.Most of the stories take place around big historical moments, such as Watergate, In 1969 at the time of the rocket sent up for the moon landing the Challenger explosion A teenage boy watched the arrival of his hippie uncle and the slow break up of his parent s marriage A foster girl lives on a farm around the time of the first moon landing A teenage girl dreams of being in a Miss America pageant.A boy scout leader is sad to see his own so bully another boy There are many other stories as well They span from 1969 up to the early 2000 s Some stories are tragic others humorous I liked the stories I liked that some took place around important times in history (FREE DOWNLOAD) Ã The Dream Life of Astronauts ë For readers of Tom Perrotta and Lorrie Moore, this sharp and affecting short story collection takes place in and around Cape Canaveral, from the s to the present day, showcasing Patrick Ryan s masterly understanding of regret and hope, marriage and family, and the universal longing for loveThe Dream Life of Astronauts balances heartbreak with wry humor as its characters try to make sense of the paths they find themselves on A would be Miss America auditions for a shady local talent scout over vodka and Sunny D a NASA engineer begins to wonder if the woman he s having an affair with is slowly poisoning her husband a Boy Scout troop leader, recovering from a stroke, tries to protect one of his scouts from being bullied by his own sons an ex mobster living in witness protection feuds with the busybody head of his condo board a grandmother, sentenced to driver s ed after a traffic accident, surprises herself by falling for her instructor Set against landmark moments the first moon launch, Watergate, the Challenger explosion these private dramas unfurl in startling ways The Dream Life of Astronauts ratifies the emergence of an indelible new talent in fiction An excellent collection of short stories with a common thread of the Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida The characters are all drawn from the lower rungs of success, with failed careers, marriages and relationships, populating the pages, set against headline news events such as the Watergate scandal, andpoignantly, the Challenger disaster.Ryan s characters are all instantly memorable, despite their seemingly normal existences, due to his incredibly evocative writing style He picks An excellent collection of short stories with a common thread of the Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida The characters are all drawn from the lower rungs of success, with failed careers, marriages and relationships, populating the pages, set against headline news events such as the Watergate scandal, andpoignantly, the Challenger disaster.Ryan s characters are all instantly memorable, despite their seemingly normal existences, due to his incredibly evocative writing style He picks instantly recognisible traits in people, so you feel you know the characters from the off, meaning the reader is engaged and invested in their stories.A hugely enjoyable collection of wonderful stories Highly recommended