Look Back, Don’t Stare


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In “Look Back, Don’t Stare,” Author Joyce Peacock Lawton gives an authentic account – filled with stories of hardship, life lessons, optimism and the power of humor – of her father’s life. This engaging memoir recalls the life of James Peacock, who grew up in the 1940s in a tight-knit, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, neighborhood of working class families. Orphaned at a young age, Jim was passed around to relatives, who had emigrated with his father from Airdrie, Scotland, and who took turns caring for him. The author brings you, through her dad’s stories, into the crowded streets and homes of Pawtucket to the unclaimed expanses of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod in the 1950s, where a flat tire changed the course of Jim’s life.

Parts one and two of “Look Back, Don’t Stare” chronicle Jim’s life through his own eyes, transcribed through the stories he told his daughter over the years. Part three stories are the author’s own.  Jim’s love of his family and his Scottish heritage, his knack for storytelling and his ever-present sense of humor shine through in these original and sometimes outrageous stories that never get old.

About the Author

Joyce Peacock Lawton dreamed of being a film or television actress since she was young. Her first job was an extra in Three Sovereigns for Sarah, Starring Vanessa Redgrave. Then a few very small spots on “Spencer for Hire” starring Robert Urich which got her a SAG and AFTRA card. She moved to NYC after high school graduation and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  An opportunity to move to Los Angeles came around the age of 20. She spent a couple of years in California. Missing New England, family and a steady paycheck sent her packing up her car and traveling home.

The dream to be in the film industry has always been something in her blood and that’s why this book was always an idea that she wanted to do. She would imagine the camera angle and what the scene would look like While she listened to her father’s stories. The notes were taken and stored away until now. We hope you enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Joyce and her husband David lived at their Meadowlark Lane home in Osterville for 20 years, raising their four daughters, Ashley, Meghan, Samantha and Jamie. They now reside in the village of Cotuit, only a walk away from her parents’ first home on Lake Street. If Joyce isn't out walking her golden retriever, Lola, she's busy teaching yoga, enjoying time with her three grandchildren, or skiing and hiking in with David in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

The author studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and lived in Los Angeles in her early twenties. Her first job in the film industry was as an extra in Three Sovereigns for Sarah, starring Vanessa Redgrave. A few small roles on Spencer for Hire, starring Robert Urich, earned her a SAG and AFTRA card. Missing New England, family and a steady paycheck sent her packing up her car and traveling home. Her dream to be in the film industry has always been in her blood, and is what gave her the idea for writing this book. As Joyce listened to her father’s stories, she would imagine the camera angle and what the scene would look like. Twenty-three years later, Joyce would dust off her notes and publish her memoir, “Look Back, Don’t Stare.”

3 reviews for Look Back, Don’t Stare

  1. Kathy Bulpet

    A beautifully written story of a man’s life that was against the odds told through the eyes of his daughter that created a lasting Legacy.
    Kathy Bulpet

  2. Bradford Glass

    Determination, courage, and hard work took him where he wanted to go. Love kept him from giving up. What a fascinating window into the original American Dream.
    Bradford Glass
    Life Coach and Published Author

  3. Desiree Spinner

    Both poignant and moving, Joyce recounts the story of her father, James, through his own words, stories, and anecdotes. She accomplishes what we all wish to do-preserve the story of our parents and ancestors for generations to come, and keep their memories alive. Jim’s journey from a childhood marked by upheaval, being bounced around from family member to family member- all the way to starting his own family-moved me to tears several times but also had me laughing at his infectious spirit. Though I never met Jim, I feel like I know a part of him thanks to Joyce’s heartfelt portrayal. A generational story you will fall in love with!

    Desiree Spinner
    Writer and Editor

    Former Editor of La Petite Peach
    2019 Fiction Picture Books/Board Books Cybils Judge
    Former Writer and Editor at B*tween Productions, Beacon Street Girls Book Series (then licensed by Simon & Schuster)
    2006 Writing Abroad Program though University of Connecticut
    BA English and Politics from University of Connecticut, Storrs

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