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Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey
Cheever is Blake Bailey's biography of the writer John Cheever drawn from his letters and journals as well as his stories. He was from a unhappy lower class family in Quincy, Mass. and his mother was an alcoholic. Cheever was also an alcoholic who spent years of his life in a drunken stupor. He was a homophobe who had sexual relationships with men. He presented one facade to the general public while detesting the family life behind it. His self-loathing eventually led to his own destruction. Cheever has received mixed reviews with the New York Observer saying, "Mr. Bailey's research is impeccable and exhaustive—a mighty feat, though sometimes a mixed blessing for a reader oppressed by the weight of stubborn fact and the ticktock march of seamless chronology. Fortunately, Mr. Bailey's encyclopedic knowledge of the particulars of Cheever's unhappiness has not clouded his appreciation of Cheever's writing; the commentary on the work is judicious and nuanced."