Boy’s Life is a selection I’ve actively avoided ever since it first popped up on my radar due to its unprecedented 4.55 rating amongst my Goodreads’ friends. (If you aren’t familiar with them, let’s just say they aren’t a real forgiving group of readers and leave it with that so they don’t slit my throat.) If you’re of the ilk to take a gander at shelf names, you’ll see this one now sits prominently on the “Like This Or We Can’t Be Friends” options. Approximately 99.999998% of the time that shelf title is for used merely for shits and giggles . . . . but this go ‘round it might be true. You see, I just can’t picture the person who couldn’t find a way to give this story at least 3 Stars and, although I'm well aware they are out there, I'm pretty confident I wouldn't want to associate with them.
If you are someone who interacts with me regularly, you are well aware of the fact that I don’t fancy myself as any sort of wordsmith. I tend to ramble and meander around rather producing anything of actual substance in my review space
Boy’s Life is a story about just that . . . . a boy’s life, told as a reflection by said boy who has since grown up. The boy in question is Corey Mackleson. The year was 1964. A new sound had just hit the radiowaves and Corey and his buddies were feeling the vibe of The Beach Boys and couldn’t wait to be old enough to “get a round round around I get around.”
From here maybe I’ll let the book do the talking . . . .
“He wrote this book about the town, and the people in it who made it what it was. And maybe there wasn’t a real plot to it, maybe there wasn’t anything that grabbed you by the throat and tried to shake you until your bones rattled, but the book was about life. It was the flow and the voices, the little day-to-day things that make up the memory of the living. It meandered like the river, and you never knew where you were going until you got there, but the journey was sweet and left you wishing for more.”
Because really, it’s all about the writing. Like when a young boy experiences his first crush . . . . .
“If you were my girlfriend I would give you a hundred lightning bugs in a green glass jar, so you could always see your way. I would give you a meadow full of wildflowers, where no two blooms would ever be alike. I would give you my bicycle, with its golden eye to protect you. I would write a story for you, and make you a princess who lived in a white marble castle. If you would only like me, I would give you magic. If you would only like me. If you would only –”
Or death . . . .
“Death cannot be known. It cannot be befriended. If Death were a boy, he would be a lonely figure, standing at the playground’s edge while the air rippled with other children’s laughter. If Death were a boy, he would walk alone. He would speak in a whisper and his eyes would be haunted by knowledge no human can bear.”
As I said before - MAGIC.
A little bit coming of age story like The Body, a little bit of learning the ugly truths of the civil rights era like To Kill A Mockingbird, a cast of eccentric townsfolk like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with a touch of a “whodunit” thrown in for good measure, Boy’s Life is a true genre bender. If you’re a parent lucky enough to be raising a voracious reader, this one could be offered to those as young as middle-grade – and is one that should not be skipped by any adult if given the opportunity to read it. I recommend you experience Boy's Life during summertime if at all possible. Find a nice shady spot, preferably somewhere you can hear the wind blowing through the trees and, if you’re lucky, a little creek flowing in the background. Somewhere like my backyard. Grab a pitcher of tea, take a seat in an Adirondack chair and settle in for the day. You won’t regret it.
Looky there. No gifs!