You Better Watch Out

Publisher: Vintage Canada
“It is, I contend, no small achievement to survive the perfect family.” So Greg Malone says at the beginning of a graceful, generous and sometimes hilarious memoir of his childhood in the St. John’s of the 1950s and 60s.

A memoir from one of Canada’s comic geniuses that is as moving as it is funny, about a young boy who survives, among other things, a school run by the Christian Brothers, encounters with the bullies of New Gower Street and the perfect family.

We first meet Greg harnessed to a bush at a picnic wearing underpants on his head – a small boy squalling because he can’t take part in the goings-on. From here, Greg takes us on a wild ride through the streets of old St. John’s. We meet luminaries along the way, even Danny Williams, the future premier, sourly playing St. Bernadette in the all-boys’ play, with Greg hardly concealing his joy in performing as her “chatty sister.”

Humble, poignant, funny and authentic – this is a delightful first book from a natural storyteller.

I loved Barbara Lynn. Her sunny face was slightly freckled. She had blue eyes and her straight, caramel-blonde hair was pulled back and tied with a ribbon showing her high, smooth forehead. She had even, regular features and a smile that showed her perfect, white teeth. . . . We played house every day for endless summers and into the long winter nights, when she would take her big brother Basil’s long toboggan without asking, so the two of us could go sliding together down over the hill, under the pole light, across St. Clare Ave. and down into the Knights of Columbus field where the full moon glittered on the glazed snow, and the toboggan would fly along forever on the longest slide we’d ever had.

From the Hardcover edition.


The Sunset at the Beginning

I didn’t want to be tied to a bush, an easy prey for bugs and mosquitoes with only a pair of underpants on my head to protect me. It was hot, the leather straps of the harness were twisted, my tears were wet, my cries unheeded. What torment was this?

It was the...
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“Reading Greg Malone’s memoir is a lot like being a kid and somehow getting to see the inside of your teacher’s house. When you’re used to seenig someone in an awe-inspiring capacity, you don’t often imagine what the story behind them is. When you get a peek inside and you see where their inspiration comes from, they take on a new light.”
The Telegram (St. John’s)

“It will put a smile on your face. Malone…is a great storyteller, capable of making you feel like you’re travelling to a different time and place — even one that’s not as perfect as it might first appear.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“[A] delicately written book . . . [A] deeply felt memoir.”
The Globe and Mail

“Colourful, detailed storytelling, with a vein of humour running through.”
Toronto Star

“[A] soft, gentle book filled with funny and heartwarming anecdotes.”
Ottawa Citizen

“A very funny book. Greg Malone is a comedy legend, one of the funniest men in a part of the world where funny is king. Now we see why. A wonderful grand read.”
— Rick Mercer

“Written by a natural born storyteller, Greg Malone’s memoir is detailed, precise and unflinchingly honest. Gifted with a prodigious memory, his story is poignant, funny, harrowing and tender. With this book Greg Malone proves himself to be a writer of deep intelligence with a profound understanding of the absurdities of life.”
— Joan Clark, author of An Audience of Chairs and Latitudes of Melt

“Malone’s eye for detail, his insights into the adults who ruled over the mystifying world of his younger self, give this memoir depth and momentum. In You Better Watch Out I find the seeds of compassion, the fumbling towards understanding of our human foibles, that would mature into theatre that Malone and his contemporaries used so brilliantly to kick-start this town, and indeed Canada, towards becoming a more open, accepting society.”
— Bernice Morgan, author of Random Passage and Cloud of Bone

“In this superlative memoir Malone sweeps us from his origins to the edge of manhood in a beguiling and highly readable way.”
— Paul O’Neill, OC, author of How Dog Became a Friend

From the Hardcover edition.