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Reflecting on her transformation from Podunk pariah to well-traveled millennial writer, Carly J. Hallman knows that life in small-town America isn’t all bake sales and friendly smiles—sometimes it just plain sucks. A delightful tongue-in-cheek collection of essays on topics such as lobsters and puberty, A Farewell to Walmart follows eight-year-old Hallman past the superstor Reflecting on her transformation from Podunk pariah to well-traveled millennial writer, Carly J. Hallman knows that life in small-town America isn’t all bake sales and friendly smiles—sometimes it just plain sucks. A delightful tongue-in-cheek collection of essays on topics such as lobsters and puberty, A Farewell to Walmart follows eight-year-old Hallman past the superstore’s automatic doors on opening day in 1995 through her sophomore year of college—a time defined by baby fat, ridicule, and, above all, the constant presence of Walmart. Along the way, she learns to navigate middle-school drama, deals with the death of a peer, and ultimately figures out what it takes to move on from everything that’s held her back. Supported by a lively cast of characters, including a flatulent grandfather, a sadistic gym coach, and Chewbacca—yes, the real one—Hallman perfectly encapsulates how a big-box store can be the cultural epicenter of small-town life and the launching pad to a wider world.


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Reflecting on her transformation from Podunk pariah to well-traveled millennial writer, Carly J. Hallman knows that life in small-town America isn’t all bake sales and friendly smiles—sometimes it just plain sucks. A delightful tongue-in-cheek collection of essays on topics such as lobsters and puberty, A Farewell to Walmart follows eight-year-old Hallman past the superstor Reflecting on her transformation from Podunk pariah to well-traveled millennial writer, Carly J. Hallman knows that life in small-town America isn’t all bake sales and friendly smiles—sometimes it just plain sucks. A delightful tongue-in-cheek collection of essays on topics such as lobsters and puberty, A Farewell to Walmart follows eight-year-old Hallman past the superstore’s automatic doors on opening day in 1995 through her sophomore year of college—a time defined by baby fat, ridicule, and, above all, the constant presence of Walmart. Along the way, she learns to navigate middle-school drama, deals with the death of a peer, and ultimately figures out what it takes to move on from everything that’s held her back. Supported by a lively cast of characters, including a flatulent grandfather, a sadistic gym coach, and Chewbacca—yes, the real one—Hallman perfectly encapsulates how a big-box store can be the cultural epicenter of small-town life and the launching pad to a wider world.

30 review for A Farewell to Walmart

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carly Hallman

    Obligatory review of one's own book. Obligatory review of one's own book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gary Pulver

    I won this book at Bookreads and it sat in my kindle until last evening. My computer would not connect to the internet so I thought I would just go to my kindle and try something there and this was the first book I saw. How surprised I was to read that the author moved from San Diego to Granbury, Texas when she was eight years old in 1995. Granbury is where I currently live!!! Carly, I loved your book, it paints Granbury exactly as it is. We chose to move to Granbury to retire because of the aff I won this book at Bookreads and it sat in my kindle until last evening. My computer would not connect to the internet so I thought I would just go to my kindle and try something there and this was the first book I saw. How surprised I was to read that the author moved from San Diego to Granbury, Texas when she was eight years old in 1995. Granbury is where I currently live!!! Carly, I loved your book, it paints Granbury exactly as it is. We chose to move to Granbury to retire because of the affordability of having a house on the lake. Walmart is not our favorite place but sometimes you have to go there if you want a certain item as it is the only place in town that sells it. I could see every place in Walmart that Carly described, the pharmacy, the dairy cases, etc. But, I am not sure the lobster tank is still there but I will look next time I venture into the store. This coming of age story is very good. I would recommend it to any adolescent who feels awkward about themselves as they will surely identify with much of what Carly experienced growing up. I spent 44 years as a jr. high student, teacher and counselor and can readily assure any awkward adolescent that they share this with almost every other similar aged person. I have a recommendation for the author. I recommend that you target your books to this audience with some novels. I'm sure your real life will give you much material.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    A Farewell to Walmart follows the author through her formative experiences in small-town Texas, from her days staring up at the lobster tank and glossy magazines at Walmart to her glamorous life as a globe trotting writer. Each of the stories in this memoir rang true to me, a fellow exhale of the small town South. The collection is a study on contrast: Granbury and China, hanging in the Walmart parking lot vs "cruising with rolled-down windows around Dallas’s gay neighborhood." The journey is ai A Farewell to Walmart follows the author through her formative experiences in small-town Texas, from her days staring up at the lobster tank and glossy magazines at Walmart to her glamorous life as a globe trotting writer. Each of the stories in this memoir rang true to me, a fellow exhale of the small town South. The collection is a study on contrast: Granbury and China, hanging in the Walmart parking lot vs "cruising with rolled-down windows around Dallas’s gay neighborhood." The journey is aided by Hallman's sense of humor and close attention to detail. For some, small town life in Texas is about getting your own plot of land, raising a family and teaching them how to hunt. For Hallman, it's about escape. Most of the characters outside Hallman's family play out as antagonists, assaulting Hallman with baseballs or their provincialism. Reuniting with an old flame, Hallman realizes that "the whole point of fantasizing about a future with this guy before was that we’d leave Granbury together later." I found myself wanting more moments of human connection, more characters like best friend Houston who Hallman rewards with deeper motivation and richer characterization. The stories build slowly, but by the end I was immersed in this world and I wanted to know more. Did Hallman find what she was looking for when she left Granbury? Are we always leaving smaller places for bigger ideas?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Not what I expected This had a lot less to do with a Walmart than I expected. And the stories it tells are less fleshed out than I would have preferred. Not a bad set of stories, really, but they don't make much of an emotional impact. Not what I expected This had a lot less to do with a Walmart than I expected. And the stories it tells are less fleshed out than I would have preferred. Not a bad set of stories, really, but they don't make much of an emotional impact.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Complete Waste of Time This book seemed like it would be a cute, quick read about growing up in a small, Southern town. In actuality, it's about a liberal full of premade assumptions about the people in the small town (drug abusers, homophobes - which she isn't using the word homophobe correctly but I digress, racists etc.) and her life with Walmart. I can skip past the liberal nonsense and assumptions for the most part, but what's really annoying is the cuss words within the book. It degrades an Complete Waste of Time This book seemed like it would be a cute, quick read about growing up in a small, Southern town. In actuality, it's about a liberal full of premade assumptions about the people in the small town (drug abusers, homophobes - which she isn't using the word homophobe correctly but I digress, racists etc.) and her life with Walmart. I can skip past the liberal nonsense and assumptions for the most part, but what's really annoying is the cuss words within the book. It degrades and cheapens the writing style. Here's a quote from the book: "...he was cool as shit". That writing style is pretty trashy for an author with a degree. Unfortunately, it's a train wreck of a book and it doesn't get better. She goes on to say that preteen boys are homoerotic? This author has a strange fixation with sex at a young age. Thankfully, I didn't buy this awful book. It was free from BookBub.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diane Lupton

    read for the theme: a bildungsroman (coming of age) What a delightful coming of age story. I loved the main character (I believe this may be a nonfiction book about the author herself) and the small town setting when the large Walmart first comes to town I lived briefly in a place where the Walmart was the main attraction and although I was an adult, I could see how young kids growing up in that town would feel exactly like she did. It reminded me of what my childhood was like. Those awkward yea read for the theme: a bildungsroman (coming of age) What a delightful coming of age story. I loved the main character (I believe this may be a nonfiction book about the author herself) and the small town setting when the large Walmart first comes to town I lived briefly in a place where the Walmart was the main attraction and although I was an adult, I could see how young kids growing up in that town would feel exactly like she did. It reminded me of what my childhood was like. Those awkward years everyone has to go through. Highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Fluffy and About What I Expected - Kind Of With the title being somewhat comical, I expected a book that was a little light-hearted and funny, but the author attempts the wax philosophical about the effect of a Wal-Mart being built in her small town. While I can appreciate that there will be some changes, she attributes growth in her maturity and friendships to her relationship with a Super Wal-Mart, but she really can't expound on why this is the case. Disappointing. Fluffy and About What I Expected - Kind Of With the title being somewhat comical, I expected a book that was a little light-hearted and funny, but the author attempts the wax philosophical about the effect of a Wal-Mart being built in her small town. While I can appreciate that there will be some changes, she attributes growth in her maturity and friendships to her relationship with a Super Wal-Mart, but she really can't expound on why this is the case. Disappointing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kitten Peters

    Cute book Lots of laughs in this book. Your memories of OR classes and class bullies will sneak in while reading this. From an 8year old to a 22 year old, life has ways of throwing curve balls but this just proves kid are resilient.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I won this kindle book through Goodreads giveaway. I'd give this 2.5 stars. I found it very well written but it was all on the surface, not much depth to any of the essays. I'd definitely read this author again, though! I won this kindle book through Goodreads giveaway. I'd give this 2.5 stars. I found it very well written but it was all on the surface, not much depth to any of the essays. I'd definitely read this author again, though!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Coming of age in WalMart years Funny, poignant story of a unpopular girl who comes of age in a small Texas town where Walmart is the biggest attraction. I enjoyed this story seeing glimpses of my small town New England upbringing in it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    LOL Funny and poignant, but the author doesn't take herself too seriously. She just serves things up at face value without trying to cobble together some grand philosophy. Relatable and refreshing. LOL Funny and poignant, but the author doesn't take herself too seriously. She just serves things up at face value without trying to cobble together some grand philosophy. Relatable and refreshing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Turner

    Life compared to walmart I really enjoyed this book of comparing your life with a Wal-Mart superstore. It rang true as to a girl who just wanted to get away from small town images and the the world of walmart. Thank God that she got out.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Estepp

    There are very brittle bones of something interesting here, but instead of exploring that, Hallman writes a super generic, somewhat disjointed bit of memoir that's pretty unremarkable. There are very brittle bones of something interesting here, but instead of exploring that, Hallman writes a super generic, somewhat disjointed bit of memoir that's pretty unremarkable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Renbarger

    This is my hometown and exactly my sense of humor. Loved it, felt it, although I know it's not for everyone. This is my hometown and exactly my sense of humor. Loved it, felt it, although I know it's not for everyone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Drake

    Brings me back to childhood days. Easy reading 👍

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Light, comical read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    George

    Good book. I forgot I had it on my Kindle. I had to give it 5 stars as I worked with both of her parents before she was born. 😀

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Harding

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read it in one sitting! The mixture of humorous anecdotes and poignant moments should appeal to all. We are taken on a whistle-stop tour of different points in the author's life, including the moment Walmart came to the small town, various adolescent struggles that often (but not always) involve the Walmart store, and finally to escape and returning back to small town Texas. Hallman's stories and those poignant moments will resonate, I am sure, with many readers' own lives: guilty embarrassment, Read it in one sitting! The mixture of humorous anecdotes and poignant moments should appeal to all. We are taken on a whistle-stop tour of different points in the author's life, including the moment Walmart came to the small town, various adolescent struggles that often (but not always) involve the Walmart store, and finally to escape and returning back to small town Texas. Hallman's stories and those poignant moments will resonate, I am sure, with many readers' own lives: guilty embarrassment, insecurities, a sense of not fitting in, and the dreams of escape with the hopes for something more. I am sure that many will also have memories of Walmart or other big chains coming into their small towns and quickly becoming a focal point for life there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    Captured my middle class life... I didn't have a Walmart growing up - but I did share the same desire to leave. The author captures the tension inherent to that mindset perfectly. Captured my middle class life... I didn't have a Walmart growing up - but I did share the same desire to leave. The author captures the tension inherent to that mindset perfectly.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Keith Blodgett

    Life is like a whole cake waiting to be divided up and eaten. 'A Farewell to Wal-Mart' is like getting the thinnest slice that could still be called 'cake' thd author even mentions other places and adventures she had after she wrote this Kindle Short which skips aimlessly from her early teen years to early twenties. No real depth. No serious drama. What I don't think she understands is EVERY town to a teenager is somewhere they want to escape. There was nothing eventful in this story. It was bri Life is like a whole cake waiting to be divided up and eaten. 'A Farewell to Wal-Mart' is like getting the thinnest slice that could still be called 'cake' thd author even mentions other places and adventures she had after she wrote this Kindle Short which skips aimlessly from her early teen years to early twenties. No real depth. No serious drama. What I don't think she understands is EVERY town to a teenager is somewhere they want to escape. There was nothing eventful in this story. It was brief moms of a mundane life and nothing special. The writing showed that she has some talent but it doesn't shine here. To be honest all I can say is I'm glad it was short and I'm glad it's over. I really didn't enjoy it. As a coming of age story it lacks any angst or real drama.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Not terribly long, and not terribly in-depth on anything, but it's decently interesting. It might have been more interesting had it had some more details in particular stories, but I think it was worth the less-than-an-hour it took me to read. It's written in a nice, friendly style, and is pretty humorous in a few spots. I would recommend it. Note: I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Not terribly long, and not terribly in-depth on anything, but it's decently interesting. It might have been more interesting had it had some more details in particular stories, but I think it was worth the less-than-an-hour it took me to read. It's written in a nice, friendly style, and is pretty humorous in a few spots. I would recommend it. Note: I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

  22. 4 out of 5

    MsChris

    This book was creepy, it was like someone was writing about my own adolescences...right down to the veggie Subway sandwiches. The writing was fun and interesting I just wish there was more of it. Each chapter is a small little vignettes that are just enough to make me want to know about this author but then it's over. I hope to read more by this talented author. I received this book for free from the publisher through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a fair and honest review. This book was creepy, it was like someone was writing about my own adolescences...right down to the veggie Subway sandwiches. The writing was fun and interesting I just wish there was more of it. Each chapter is a small little vignettes that are just enough to make me want to know about this author but then it's over. I hope to read more by this talented author. I received this book for free from the publisher through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Loved I loved this book. It was very retrospective of my own informative years. Would love to read more from this author. I won this book through Goodreads.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from Goodreads hoping I would review it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lowell Moore

    Different Whatever you think this book is about, you are likely wrong. But give it a try. Make your own judgment.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlton Phelps

    So far so funny. I'll update when I finish. So far so funny. I'll update when I finish.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    A hilarious story about growing up awkward Funny, relatable for those of us who grew up ugly ducklings with big dreams in a small town. Carly Hallman has a winner with this one!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Young

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Haffey

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