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Publisher's Summary

A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Memoir of the Season and a BookPage Most Anticipated Book of 2022

Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives—or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self.

Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.

Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

©2022 Isaac Fitzgerald (P)2022 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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What listeners say about Dirtbag, Massachusetts

Average Customer Ratings
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Not nuanced

I do not remember the author talking about live in a generous way until the very end. This narrative reads like a drug and culture addict tripping. Better “lessons from survival” stories exist.

There are a few passages about the Proud Boys’ founder that put white supremacy in perspective, yet the insight is not seen through the wisdom of love.

I just do not recommend this book. It’s exciting and boring at the same time. Then it seems pointless.

2 people found this helpful

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wild and intimate storytelling

Isaac's stories are rowdy, wild, and silly and simultaneously intimate and heartbreaking. It's a privilege to join him for hundreds of first games, 5th drinks and second chances.

1 person found this helpful

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Isaac should read all the audiobooks forever

I looked forward to this release and was not disappointed. I love the way Isaac writes, like he’s talking to a friend. I liked learning about Isaac’s life and adventures, and he gave me hope that maybe there are more men like him in the world. And if there are, we’re all going to be okay.

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Ultimately Life Affirming

Like most of us, Fitzgerald's life has its pain as well its triumphs. His reading of his own words, I imagine is not unlike listening to him over a beer in a bar. His style reminds me of David Sedaris autobiographical work . Even though the trauma of his early life has him at times pondering ending it all, his story is ultimately life affirming. No one's life is perfect and pain free, yet learning from your mistakes not only makes one wise, but allows you a life worth living.

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Honest, heart breaking, heart warming. Thank U IF

I am closer to understanding myself, my family and friends. Thank you Issac, for your vulnerability, for doing the work.

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Compelling

The fact that Issac Fitzgerald narrates his own story adds to this fast paced rock n roll story. One of the best stories of misspent youth...a youth so relatable to so many. It's hard to stop listening, even to shower.
Shocking in its naked truth. True optimism revealed