Monday, July 25, 2011

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff

Publication date: January 26, 1989 (Grove/Atlantic)

I’ll be honest; normally I would never pick this book up on my own. The only reason I read it was because it was one of the options on a required reading assignment as part of my AP English summer assignment. I figured I would just read it for the homework and that I wouldn’t actually like it.

Boy was I wrong.

This memoir is about the gypsy, for the lack of a better word,  life of Tobias Wolff (who later adopts the name Jack) and his mother. After his mother got a divorce from his father, Tobias and his mother are always going from city to city, looking for a good life. At one point, the two meet Dwight who would later become Tobias’ step father.
The book mainly chronicles Tobias’ adolescent life in the town of Chinook. Wolff not only tells us what he did, thought, and felt at the time, but, on occasion, he also tells us what he thought when he recalled the event years later.

For the most part, I liked the book. I wouldn’t say I loved it but I enjoyed reading it. Wolff does an amazing job painting an image of not only himself but all the others in the book. I could understand how he felt, his thoughts, everything. Wolff does an amazing job of bringing characters to life, allowing readers to hate Dwight, sympathize for his mother, understand Arthur’s motives, etc, etc.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was how it got a bit confusing at times. Not to mention the occasional off topic tangents.

All in all, it’s a good book and I suggest it to those who are into reading memoirs and/or non-fiction.

(3.5 out of 5)
~ SynysterShadows

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