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THIS BOY’S LIFE – “Best Book I’ve Ever Read”

January 14, 2011

This Boy’s Life

by Tobias Wolff

Grove Press, 1989

$15.95, 288 pages

I would love to say this book made me want to be a writer. But the chronology is all wrong. I’m nearly seventy and have just read it, and I have been writing for the past 50 years. However  there is a quality here that transcends fiction, nonfiction, time and it even transcends identity. Wolff presents this memoir of his youth, not like an adult looking back or a child seeing ahead, but as an experience readers live as if it were happening to us. And it is.

I had seen the DeNiro film and it is excellent. But this is Great Expectations, Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn without straining to be any of those masterpieces. I don’t know how Tobias Wolff can capture such nuances of past events in words but I want to write until I learn how. No, even if I never do, let me admit to you, I don’t have to. Because Wolff’s childhood is more real to me than my own.

To order directly from amazon for $10.95 click: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir

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