Cover image for This boy's life : a memoir
Title:
This boy's life : a memoir
Author:
Wolff, Tobias, 1945-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Grove Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, [1999]

©1989
Physical Description:
288 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.6 12.0 107880.
ISBN:
9780802136688
Format :
Book

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PS3573 .O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction New Materials
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3573 .O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3573 .O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Reading List
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3573.O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3573 .O558 Z477 1989C Adult Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

This unforgettable memoir, by one of our most gifted writers, introduces us to the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning. Separated by divorce from his father and brother, Toby and his mother are constantly on the move, yet they develop an extraordinarily close, almost telepathic relationship. As Toby fights for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, his experiences are at once poignant andcomical, and Wolff does a masterful job of re-creating the frustrations and cruelties of adolescence. His various schemes - running away to Alaska, forging checks, and stealing cars - lead eventually to an act of outrageous self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.


Author Notes

Tobias Wolff was born in Birmingham, Alabama on June 19, 1945. He served in the military as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War. He received a B.A. in 1972 and a M.A. in 1975 from the University of Oxford and a M.A. in 1978 from Stanford University. He held faculty positions at Stanford University, Goddard College, Arizona State University, and Syracuse University. He was also a reporter for the Washington Post.

His first collection of short stories, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, won the St. Lawrence award for fiction in 1982. His other works include Back in the World, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of a Lost War, The Night in Question, Old School, and Our Story Begins. The Barracks Thief won the PEN/Faulkner award for fiction in 1985. This Boy's Life: A Memoir won the Los Angeles Times Book prize in 1989 and was made into a 1993 film starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. He also won three O. Henry Awards in 1980, 1981, and 1985 and the National Medal of Arts in 2015.

He edited several anthologies of short stories including Matters of Life and Death: New American Stories, A Doctor's Visit: Short Stories by Anton Chekhov, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Wolff dreams of escape in his tragicomic autobiography, which describes his difficult rite of passage and his growing up Catholic in Seattle--with a mother he loves, a stepfather he hates, and a history of troublemaking he yearns to leave behind. Stephanie Zvirin (szvirin


Publisher's Weekly Review

In PEN/Faulkner Award-winner Wolff's fourth book, he recounts his coming-of-age with customary skill and self-assurance. Seeking a better life in the Northwestern U.S. with his divorced mother, whose ``strange docility, almost paralysis, with men of the tyrant breed'' taught Wolff the virtue of rebellion, he considered himself ``in hiding,'' moved to invent a private, ``better'' version of himself in order to rise above his troubles. Primary among these were the adultsdrolly eccentric, sometimes dementedwho were bent on humiliating him. Since Wolff the writer never pities Wolff the boy, the author characterizes the crew of grown-up losers with damning objectivity, from the neurotic stepfather who painted his entire house (piano and Christmas tree included) white, to the Native American football star whose ultimate failure was as inexplicable as his athletic brilliance. Briskly and candidly reportedWolff's boyhood best friend ``bathed twice a day but always gave off an ammoniac hormonal smell, the smell of growth and anxiety''his youth yields a self-made man whose struggle to fit the pieces together is authentic and endearing. Literary Guild alternate. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner award for The Barracks Thief , Wolff offers an engrossing and candid look into his childhood and adolescence in his first book of nonfiction. In unaffected prose he recreates scenes from his life that sparkle with the immediacy of narrative fiction. The result is an intriguingly guileless book, distinct from the usual reflective commentary of autobiography, that chronicles the random cruelty of a step father, the ambiguity of youthful friendships, and forgotten moments like watching The Mickey Mouse Club. Throughout this youthful account runs the solid thread of the author's respect and affection for his mother and a sense of wonder at the inexplicable twistings and turnings of the road to adulthood in modern America. Highly recommended. Linda Rome, Mentor, Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

"Though some of what I describe here was difficult to live through, and difficult to relive, I have never been happier in writing a book--recalling that crazy trip across the country, hearing my beautiful mother's laughter at some ridiculous situation we found ourselves in, remembering the open-heartedness of people we met along the way, on that road and roads still ahead . . . For all this I give thanks--for friendship, for family, for narrow escapes, for good work, for the book you hold in your hands." --Tobias Wolff, from the new introduction Excerpted from This Boy's Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.