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Skips, Stoops, Lollipops and Lies
a review of Steven Cohen's The Games We Played by Mick Greene
Cover image of The Games We Played

The Games We Played can be purchased through Streetplay's link to Amazon.com. (Click here for book cover enlargement)
Allow yourself a short break from the rush and responsibilities of adult life to recall the days of childhood. Remember the names and faces of your friends, the signposts of the neighborhood and the personal adventures that gave a special meaning to the world in which you grew up.

For some, the texture of daily life, old sights and sounds, come back easily. For those of us with less keen memories, the pump must be primed. Whether your memories just trickle or flow like a summer fountain, Steven Cohen's wonderful book The Games We Played will bathe you in the essence of what makes childhood a magical time.

Unlike most coffee table books, this is small and contains few photos or images. Instead, two dozen writers, entertainers and well-known public figures limit themselves to several pages each to recount a story or key experience that helped shape their youth.

Some of the stories are familiar to childhood game enthusiasts. Bronx native Rob Reiner aptly recounts many of the street games featured on our site. Midwesterner Andrew Shue describes how he and his brother would recreate, replay, and reannounce the championship struggles of major sports teams of their area. Others recall an extravagant theatre production in a Brooklyn apartment or a make-believe underwater world in the alleys of Chicago. Each story highlights the natural accessibility children have to their extraordinary creative powers.

Imagination, joy, and heartache are apparent in these youthful worlds. Hillary Clinton's idyllic times in the suburbs is a reassuring note on the quality of life when good fortune and good spirit meet. Lisa Page's "Lollipops and Lies" touchingly recounts an early tragedy of life when childhood innocence and naiveté are humbled by the laws of the adult world.

This book has wide appeal. You can breeze through or keep it around for an easy shot of warm recollections. Put it on your short list of gifts to make Dad feel young again on Father's Day.


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