Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff

4 Stars
I read this book almost two months ago and have struggled to come up with some kind (any kind) of review. Sometimes when I read a memoir I’m struck with the question “what made this person think their personal history was novel worthy?” Such is the case with This Boy’s Life. Sure Tobias Wolf had a shitty childhood, but when compared to other autobiographies (Night stands out as the most monumental personal history I can think of, or even The Glass Castle as the most bizarre are books that must have begged to be written). Whatever the reasoning behind Wolff’s decision, I’m glad he did.

I believe Wolff’s honesty while telling his story is both what made this book so memorable and made it so hard for me to summarize. Not only does he tell us about his stepfather, who was a real piece of work, but he is also honest about the fact that he was more than a handful himself during his formative years. While I wanted to jump into the pages and beat the living hell out of Dwight, at times I also wanted to jump in to wash Wolff’s mouth out with soap or give him a good throttling.

This book is so well-written and reads like fiction. A truly unforgettable coming-of-age story. If you’re generally not the sort who reads non-fiction, this is a great choice.

Sidenote: The movie adaptation features a fresh faced young boy who will give us a glimpse of the brilliant career that is to follow . . .

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