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Publisher's Summary

In me are the memories of a boy's life, spent in that realm of enchantments. These are the things I want to tell you....

Robert McCammon delivers "a tour de force of storytelling" (BookPage) in his award-winning masterpiece, a novel of Southern boyhood, growing up in the 1960s, that reaches far beyond that evocative landscape to touch listeners universally. Boy's Life is a richly imagined, spellbinding portrait of the magical worldview of the young - and of innocence lost. Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for 11-year-old Cory Mackenson - a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake - and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible, haunting vision of death. As Cory struggles to understand his father's pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that surround him. From an ancient mystic who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown - for his father's sanity and his own life hang in the balance....

©2014 Robert R. McCammon (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Feast for the Senses!

Smell the honeysuckle, summer heat and barbeque. Taste the homemade ice cream and peach pie. Hear the drone of bees and the yells of kids on the last of school before summer vacation. See the tiny town of Zephyr, Alabama and experience life in a small, rural town in the tumult of the 60s. A Boy’s Life is about feeling invincible, protected and being convinced you know what the world is about at the tender age of 12. Until a ghastly murder slowly erodes what you thought you knew. If you read A Boy’s Life in print, enjoy this unabridged Audible treat. It’s as good as you remember. If you never read A Boy’s Life, download it at once. This is a masterpiece.

33 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I did not expect to like this book.

But I was pleasantly surprised because it was engaging, well written, and completely pulled me in. Absolutely one of my all-time favorite books. I thought how boring, another coming-of-age story. But I just absolutely loved the entire story. I am going to look for more of his books to read. I'm glad I listened to the recommendations and not my preconceived ideas

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Phillip
  • GRANT, AL, United States
  • 01-16-15

Great read

I have a ton of books in my library and have enjoyed most of them, but this book was special. The story telling was fantastic and it has that nostalgic feel of books like To Kill a Mockingbird. I highly recommend this book, it is simply fabulous.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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A Real Winner

Any additional comments?

Most of the books I get through Audible are very good. Not exceptional, but very good. They fill the time while I'm driving an hour or so, or while I'm mowing the lawn or cleaning around the house. That is where there value comes in. Boys Life, however, is the exception. I bought it because of the reviews, but I didn't really expect it to be as good as it is.

I've read reviews before where people have said that a story brought them to tears, but I never quite believed it. I also tend to steer clear of stories where this kind of thing is mentioned in the reviews. And don't get me wrong... I felt that in only a few short sections of the book. However, this story is one where I felt that emotion several times. And I only mention it because I felt for the people in the story. Because they were real, and what they were going through was real. Because Robert McCammon NAILED it in his story telling.

It was so real, and so close to things that I had experienced, that the emotions were right there. But the story was also funny...VERY funny, and at the same time honest and was very indicative of the time it was told. I didn't have all the same experiences, having been raised in the north, but I lived through it, and saw it on tv news.

Don't set expectations too high. Expectations can be crushers. Rather take this book as a ride through the early 60's and allow your self to feel it as you go along. It will stick with you long after the story is done, and you can't ask for any more of that from a story.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Great read

Being from Alabama I relate to the story and see much of my childhood from the sixties in the author's words. Friends never seem as important as they do when you are young. Highly recommended read.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Dear Robert McCammon, I love your books!

Any additional comments?

What a gift this book is! I enjoyed every single minute. I am a child of this era and anyone who is will be especially pleased. The story is timeless full of wonder!

Robert McKammon is one of my fave authors. He sure can tell a story and never sticks to one genre maybe he doesn't believe in them. A great book is a story, period.



10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Finally Unabridged

What did you love best about Boy's Life?

The adventures of the young Cory and his world.

What other book might you compare Boy's Life to and why?

I can't think of any book that compares to Boy's Life. Its that amazing.

Would you listen to another book narrated by George Newbern?

Here I wasn't happy. I have the abridged version with Richard Thomas n hoped he'd do the unabridged. The narrator didn't use a southern accent of that place and time. And his mispronouncation words was a disappointment. Like he pronounced Chile as Chil
(Ch-eye-l) when its pronounced Chilly.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the main character Cory went to sit at his friends grave.

Any additional comments?

This is an amazing story about a time in life when the world is an amazing place filled with magic. When you and your friends have great adventures. It makes you wish you were there too.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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A Splendid Southern Story


This 1991 novel won't make it to syllabi at literature class in universities worldwide, but it contains an entertaining and heartfelt story that stays with you, without being weighed down by sappy sentimentality, affected dialogue or melodrama. Sometimes, this is exactly the kind of affable fable that I want and need to read.

The story's protagonist and narrator, Cory Mackenson narrates the story as a grownup looking back to the summer of 1964 when he was 12 years old in the little town of Zephyr, Alabama. Knowing the area, it seems the town is near Atmore and Brewton in Escambia County, Alabama at the upper part of Alabama's panhandle. The town is much like Maycomb (from To Kill A Mockingbird, the fictional Monroeville one county over) and Mayberry, N.C. (stomping grounds of Sheriff Andy Taylor, his son Opie and deputy Barney Fife). Both the town and the story have that folksy, haimish feel.

The story's action begins when Cory and his father Tom (a milk deliveryman) nearly run into a car rolling into Saxon's Lake. Tom swims in after the car to save the driver, but finds he's handcuffed to the steering wheel and already dead. The local law enforcement cannot find the car or the corpse so its identity remains a mystery, but obviously a murder.

Tom is torn up about the mystery, the dead body, and begins having lacustrine nightmares. His oneiric visions give him a continual presentiment of something awful lurking around the corner, and he begins to suffer from depression, approaching suicidal at one point.

The novel cannot be pigeonholed into one genre. It's parts literary, suspenseful mystery, coming of age. Its themes are related to family, two deaths of ones close (in addition to the murder), guns, race relations in the 1960s South, hatred in various forms, and bullying. McCammon infuses his primary characters with a verisimilitude, grace and charm, you can hear the drawl as you read the dialogue. He creates one particularly memorable, wicked antagonist and a few redneck scofflaws.

The story enthralls the reader with everything from an elderly African American raconteuse, imprecator known as "The Lady," who knows a bit of magic that seems a mixture of voodoo and morality, a variety of pals, moonshine, a pair of local bullies, a wayward grandpa, a backwoods brothel, baseball, an interesting Dutch veterinarian who greets youngsters with nicknames such as "hot shot," "rocket rider," "fighter pilot," a pair of local bullies, a revealing and educational field trip observation by 12-year-old Cory of a buxom blonde redneck goddess bathing nude in a local stream ("love at first sight"), and a very painful vespine occurrence during a church service.

Absolutely enjoyable.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stephen King Meets To Kill A Mockingbird

This book is well worth 1 credit. It combines great writing, excellent narration, and fabulous storytelling. Plus it's 20 hours long. Set in Alabama in the early sixties it is fundamentally a story of growing up in the rural south back when people knew their neighbors and every small town was fundamentally a village. To spice things up, the author throws in some Stephen King type of events where everything cannot be explained with reason. Some things are just magical. After 20 hours you would think it would drag, but it does not. I was sorry when this book ended. Well worth 1 credit. It's on my top 50 list (out of 1000 books so far.)

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful !

I loved this story. Sort of a Stephen King coming-of-age theme, with some mystism and horror mixed in. I wish there had been a different narrator, though. George Newbern wasn't the right voice for this IMHO. Otherwise it would have been a (5) star review.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms Amanda Thompson
  • 04-07-15

It's at the top of my list.

What made the experience of listening to Boy's Life the most enjoyable?

It was a wonderfully written complete story that enveloped me inside from start to finish. I don't think there was one character that i didn't like, perhaps the mayor - he was creepy and the German vet and his wife but the story wouldn't have been the same without them. I have recomended it to my Mum and my youngest daughter .

Who was your favorite character and why?

Oh it has to be Corey after all it was his story and i believed in it, i was there when it began and sadly when it ended.

Which character – as performed by George Newbern – was your favourite?

Corey - George Newbern brought him to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No there were several. The thing is in a story written this well each character brings a parcel of goodies and a couple of rotten apples it's what makes the story believable and very enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

This is the best book i have listened to this year and if you haven't read or listened to it yet or thought it wasn't your genre then do give it a go, i am certain you will not be disappointed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for sarahmoose2000
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 11-23-14

Brilliant!

I read this book ages ago and was so glad I found it here, as I couldn't remember what it was called and was trying to recommend it to folk!

Stand By Me with To Kill a Mockingbird and a sprinkling of supernatural. Corey and his dad are out doing the milk run when a car crashes through the woods and into the lake. They are unable to save the driver but both of their lives are forever changed by the accident.

Corey and his friends play out the next year of their lives with school, baseball, riding their bikes and the constant question of who really killed the driver that day. Like old school Stephen King, you'll love it.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for AmTimothy Evans
  • AmTimothy Evans
  • 03-22-18

Great Read

Wonderful read ,great story. Narrator top class.Found I could not put down. Really enjoyable. Top clas

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter A.
  • 03-17-18

Wonderful Story- Captivating the best of audible.

I found this to be a marvelous story that wound its way around my funny bone and heartstrings in a subtle way that really surprised me.
I grew up 4000 miles and 10 years distant from its setting but so many of the storylines and characters really hit the sweet spot that I became totally absorbed by them.
It's not a spoiler to say this is a fantasy story of a Boys Life but you don't need to be a boy to enjoy it just a little time and imagination.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Stephen
  • Stephen
  • 03-15-18

stunning

this book is captivating, beautiful everything you could possible want and imagine in a book about growing up

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Mr Steve Williams
  • Mr Steve Williams
  • 12-24-17

A really good read and excellent narrator.

I am an avent Mr Mc.Cammon fan, however, I wasn't too sure about this initially. even leaving it for awhile before returning to it. I am soo pleased that I did. I truly good read. I was listening to the final chapter in a Thai airport lounge and had to stop because I couldn't contain the tears. Well done Robert.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Woollyoak
  • Woollyoak
  • 07-13-17

A truly fabulous read!

Where does Boy's Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

10 out of 10

What other book might you compare Boy's Life to, and why?

The Sport of Kings

Have you listened to any of George Newbern’s other performances? How does this one compare?

First listen but thoroughly enjoyed GN's narration!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wish!

Any additional comments?

Really worth a listen!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Rebekah Barton
  • Rebekah Barton
  • 05-20-17

Swept away

Laughed, cried and loved every second.Author and narrator both delivering a totally fantastic literary experience

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MAGGS
  • MAGGS
  • 09-08-16

Boys Life - great storytelling

Boys Life - great storytelling
Great book of a boy's life & dreams.
The changes in time that passed when he was 12.
I would have put this book under general & contemporary, but it does have suspense & mystery in it.
Great narration.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for tigistmen
  • tigistmen
  • 08-23-16

The best book I have read in years

Made me laugh,cry and remember my own childhood my friends and my pet dog
A lovely journey into the past

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Profile Image for Linda
  • Linda
  • 03-30-15

Brilliant!

I did not want this to end, I wanted Robert McCammon and the narrator George Newbern to keep entertaining me forever.

It was an absolute joy to listen to the narrator who is a true professional and the story, Boy's Life was interesting, funny, sad, and had me wishing I had grown up in the lovely little town called Zephyr with Cory and the amazing array of people I met who I feel I now know quite intimately.

I didn't think Robert McCammon could possibly write a story which had me hooked as much as Swan Song, but I think he has come mighty close with Boy's Life.
The writing is incredibly clever and I could smell, feel and hear everything alongside Cory as we explored youth together and found ourselves in some pretty amazing situations!

My favorite line was when Cory was riding his brand new bike which he had named Rocket - “At this instant I felt at one with Rocket, as if we were of the same skin and grease, and when I grinned, a bug flew into my teeth. I didn’t care; I swallowed it because I was invincible.”

You all really need to listen to this fantastic story.