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This Boy's Life | [Tobias Wolff]

This Boy's Life

This book essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. The story is pretty grim: teen-aged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed.
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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1989, this scarifying memoir has become a classic of the genre, as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The book essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. It was made into a movie in 1993.

The story is pretty grim: teen-aged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed.

Deception, disguise, and illusion are the weapons the young man learns to employ as he grows up, not bad training for a writer-to-be. Somber though this tale of family strife is, it is also darkly funny and so artistically satisfying that listeners come away exhilarated.

©1989 Tobias Wolff (P)2010 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Unforgettable." (Time )

"At once compassionate and deeply disturbing." (The New York Times Magazine)

"A jewel-like memoir of childhood in the 1950s...Lucid, bitter, precise, terribly sad: the real-life equivalent of Wolff's acclaimed fiction." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (164 )
5 star
 (57)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (118 )
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Story
4.0 (118 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Genie CANDLER, NC, United States 12-19-12
    Genie CANDLER, NC, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Delinquency Glorified"
    What did you like best about This Boy's Life? What did you like least?

    Best enjoyed the ability of this character's mother to extricate herself from bad situations. Least enjoyed that she entered one after another and her son's continual display of delinquency and trouble.


    Did Oliver Wyman do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes.


    Did This Boy's Life inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 01-25-13
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 01-25-13 Member Since 2014

    katsuey

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    57
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tell Me Why I should care"

    Half way through and haven't found a reason to continue. I don't care one way or another about the main character or even the minor ones.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jamie zinober tampa 09-25-12
    jamie zinober tampa 09-25-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "pretty good"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    it was a good book, but not one that I had to listen to all the time.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    no


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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