This Boy’s Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
Today memoir writing is a popular and growing genre. This Boy’s Life is one of the best if not the best examples of this.
I don’t usually read memoir, but as an author I must read widely in order to keep writing quality fiction.
This is one of the best books that you will ever read, in any genre. Wolff’s memoir is disturbing and powerful, but also humorous and delightful. His struggle to create an identity, a sense of self with which he can face the world, is one that any reader can empathise with. His tribulations and his struggles with external forces in his life, such has his appalling step-father Dwight, and his internal struggles such as his duplicity, are depicted with ruthless honesty and understanding.In Wolff’s other fiction he is often writing about young people, particularly troubled young people, always with a sense of respect and care, without sentimentality or indulgence. In This Boy’s Life he doesn’t ask us to feel sorry for him; his adult perspective on his younger self is wise and clear-sighted, never judgmental.Life is precarious, the universe random, Wolff seems to be saying, and the book is full of memorable scenes where awfulness has taken hold of Wolff’s life, or the lives of others, holding them fast. At the same time the book is a tribute to the powers of the imagination and the profound desire to make something of oneself beyond the confines of the life one is living.Yet the book is also wonderfully humorous. And the humour is clever and insightful, encouraging us to laugh but also to think. Wolff’s language is rich in metaphor and complexity of meaning. I have studied This Boy’s Life with young people and they have all loved it. Unforgettable writing…
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