Review: ‘The Addicts’ by Gertrude Friedberg

Friedberg is almost lost to history. She was a mid 20th Century New York City playwright and author.

’The Addicts’ is a story eerily familiar to today’s readers.

The cautionary tale is about a family who love to read at the dinner table.

The habit crept up on the Tuppersons, a husband and wife who then passed it on to their children.

They would hide their habit if the grandparents were coming to dinner, but otherwise they always obsessively read at the dinner table.

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Man in the Fictional Mode, Book 3 McDougal, Littell

Mrs. Tupperson thought they could break the habit if they accepted a dinner invitation from a friend, a Mrs. Ravell.

The family practiced by devouring a book of Ettiquette, also read at the table.

Their attempts to make conversation fell flat.The Ravells, who did not read at the table, but rather kept a phone there so Mr. Ravell could respond to business calls fell into a terrible, ugly argument.

The Tupperson’s conclusion? Not only is reading at the table not rude, it avoids nasty interpersonal conflict brought about by conversation.

So don’t yell at friends or family for being on the cellphone at the dinner table, it leads nowhere good.

Peace be the Botendaddy

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Table of Contents McDougal Littel

‘The Addicts’

Man in the Fictional Mode, Book 3

Hannah Beate Haupt, editor

McDougal, Littell & Company

Evanston, IL 1970

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The only known complete collection of the McDougal-Littell ‘Man’ Series

“Botendaddy, our collection of Vinyl LP’s and 45’s is excellent.”

Also spraach die Boten-Daughter, to I, the aged wise Botendaddy, as she played Toccata and Fugue in D Major by Johannnn Sebastian Bach on the delicate Victrola.

We stood in the ancient two-story library of Utonic Manor. A soaring tableau of hoary volumes rose to the ornate ceiling (pronounced sigh-leen).

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House Utonic Private Library CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=437844

“Yes, but I just completed my collection of the  1970-72 ‘Man’ series by the wonderful Joy Littell. What I’ve done is nearly impossible from a Biblio-philo-tila-telist standpoint.” I explained to the melancholy Boten-daughter.

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The complete Man Series

“It is utterly unique.” Quod zie Boten-daughter sadly. “Priceless. You are still missing an entire series ‘The Literature of Man’ and all the Teacher editions.”

She thus quoth, while adding an Al Hirt LP to the stack of records (pronounced Wreck-hoard).

“But your Botendaddy site. It just isn’t funny or interesting anymore. Your obsession is leading to madness. Your long freakish white hair is rising wildly from your ancient dome.” She rose with a dramatic sigh.

“The madness is inevitable in our family. It will take us all, and then the once-Great House Utonic will fall into the brackish, lifeless, hideous Utonic Swamp.”

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The elegant and beautiful Boten-Daughter in the Garden

She spake, in a wistful, 19th Century lyrical, tragic way.

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The Missing Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore

She walked slowly and deliberately out into the garden.

The Librarian had been in a quiet, dusty alcove reading a withered, ancient volume of Hume. She adjusted her sexy librarian glasses.

“Your daughter frightens me. Maybe you and I can find one of these private rooms in this hideous mansion, away from the prying eyes of the ghost of Annabel Lee.” She said.

“Ah, Annabel Lee. To hear her name thus Quod… De mortuis nil nisi bonum…” I muttered.

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The Botendaddy Remembers Annabel Lee

“Can we just f&$k, Yon Botendaddy? I want to give myself to you utterly in every way imaginable. I want you to possess me completely. To claim me, do you understand?” This quod the hot Librarian.

“Chocolate Espresso?”

Peace be the Botendaddy

Back to Writing: The Man Series

I walked down the long corridor of the great Mansion at Botendaddy Manor Estates, High above Olde Uniontowne on the ancient haunted plateau of House Utonic.

One of the servants, the lowly, hirsute, deformed, groveling, possibly evil sidekick and laboratory assistant Anton Šafránková Schweik, I believe, was playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in an unknown alcove.

The mysterious music echoed throughout the mansion. I spotted the melancholy, brooding Botendaughter. She had been reading the following:

  • Shirley Jackson’s “The Night we all Had Grippe”, with the boozing, smoking parents and the lost blanket mystery.
  • Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”.
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” (does it seem too much like today?) and
  • “Refund” by Frigyes Karinthy featuring the beloved idiot ‘Wasserkopf’.

“Once your brother dies, we will be the last of the Botens. I fear our house shall fall like the tragic House Utonic and the ill-fated House of Usher. It is our fate. I shall never marry nor have children. I shall someday, when you are in your sepulcher with my beloved mother, the lovely, sweet Annabel Lee, yea I shall walk the halls of this once magnificent manor alone until the last stone crumbles and decays into ancient hoary humus.” She looked up dramatically at the magnificent ceiling, stretching her arms wide like a dangling modifier. “It is my fate, our fate, the fate of our ancestors. Great houses, like great empires must fall.”

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The Beautiful, Melancholy Boten-Daughter, Heiress of Boten Estates

I took a long roak off of my ancient oversize pipe. I nodded in agreement with the Boten-Daughter. Fate would take its course and the ancient house of Boten would fall like House Utonic and thus be thus consumed by the primeval forest.

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Man Book

I was still trying to accumulate the entire “Man” series of Books. Trying to assemble them 47 years after they came out is not easy. They were published from 1970-1971 by McDougal Littell & Co.

They are the singularly greatest series of academic literature books ever written.

It consists of the following:

  • Man in the Literary Mode: Volume 1-6 (I have all six)
  • Man in the Dramatic Mode 1-6 (I have 2, 3, 4 and 6, 1 and 5 are on order)
  • Man in the Poetic Mode 1-6 (I have none) (2-6 are on order, I can’t find book 1 yet)
  • Man in the Expository Mode 1-6 (2, 3, 4 and 6 are on order)
  • Man Series Teacher’s Edition (UPDATE: They don’t have the book!!!)

So, to complete my set, I need:

  • Books 1 and Book 5 of Man in the Expository Mode and
  • Book 1 of Man in the Poetic Mode.
  • Man Series Teacher’s Manual

Here is a picture of it:

Teacher Manual (I NEED THIS BOOK!)
  • If you find any of these books (just the ones I’m missing) at an old bookstore anywhere, please let me know the name and location of the bookstore so I can contact them.
  • If you have any o these books, please let me know

It’s a quest. I need to have the entire set on my shelf.

I’m also still trying to re-create my parents’ 1970’s paperback collection.

Peace be the Botendaddy