Sunday, September 6, 2015

BOY'S LIFE by Robert McCammon

Robert McCammon's coming-of-age classic, Boy's Life, is almost universally loved. So when I started the book and got about 5 chapters in, I was initially horrified to find that I didn't have the same
warm feeling in my stomach the way others seemed to have when reading it. Had I finally realized that my taste was in fact not as impeccable as I'd thought? Was I going to have to write an unfavorable review for a beloved book and get roasted and trolled for it and lose the respect of my Goodreads friends? Or was I going to discover that all of my internet friends just had really bad taste? The book seemed to lack a momentum, or a real narrative thread and each day-in-the-life chapter, while okay on their own, had the weakest of connections. I knew that there was still about 600 pages to go, and I was losing interest.

But then I quickly realized that I needed to start looking at the book as a collection of interlocked short stories detailing the eventful and magical year of 1964 in the life of our protagonist and hero, 12-year old Cory Mackenson, and his very special town of Zephyr, Alabama. A year when Cory transitions out of childhood and into adolescence. Every chapter stood on it's own at first, but the weak threads that connected each one got stronger and stronger as the book went on. Once I started looking at it as a story collection that built on itself like a snowball, I was charmed! Yep, that's the word for it! There's a charm in McCammon's writing that's present in all of his work but it is at it's strongest here. He has such a grasp of his material that he not only is able to command a great child's voice (which always seems terribly hard to do), but also a nostalgic one as well. And I love how these memories are all heightened in reality, the way lifelong memories always seem to be. Every time I revisit strong memories of my childhood, they're probably way more dramatic and romantic, or tragic as they were in reality. In the end, the book is very touching and I can see why it's such a classic. Another win for McCammon!



  1. I read this over 20 years ago. Still one of my favorite novels.

  2. I read this over 20 years ago. Still one of my favorite novels.


Please be respectful