Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ms. Hen reviews THIS BOY'S LIFE

Tobias Wolfe
Harper & Row

Ms. Hen decided to buy this book when she saw it at a used bookstore because someone she respected told her a long time ago that it was worth reading. Ms. Hen bought the book without flipping through the pages, but she wished she had because the pages were marked in the book, and it seemed as if a person of low intelligence had owned the book previously.

Ms. Hen did not like this book. It is a memoir of a young boy, Toby Wolfe, who comes from a broken home, lives with his mother, and is separated from his brother and father. This book is very much a man-book. It’s about a bad kid: one who lies, steals, plays with guns and gets into trouble. Ms. Hen didn’t like the character because he reminded her of her younger brothers when they were kids, bad and bratty and smelly little boys who liked to cause mischief.

Ms. Hen’s brothers weren’t as close to being as bad as the young Tobias, who preferred to be called Jack Wolfe. That is possible because Toby did not have a positive father figure in his life. His mother ran from Florida to get away from an abusive boyfriend, but then ended up marrying another horrible man in Washington State. Young Toby didn’t seem to have a chance. But that doesn’t mean Ms. Hen had to like the book.

Even though the writing in the book is very clean and descriptive and vibrant, Ms. Hen did not sympathize with the character. She couldn’t. He was a bad kid, and Ms. Hen didn’t like reading about him. One of the good things about the book is that it is a very quick read, and it was over fast.

There was a brief moment reading when Ms. Hen thought THIS BOY’S LIFE could be like ON THE ROAD, but about a young boy, but Toby never ran away. He tried, but he didn’t because he was foolish with his money. There were pieces of this book that reminded Ms. Hen of THE LIAR’S CLUB, but she doesn’t think THIS BOY’S LIFE is nearly as good or interesting as that book.

Ms. Hen would recommend this book to anyone who has every been a bratty young boy, or anyone who lived their youth in the 50s and 60s, but as a woman who did not live during this time, Ms. Hen was not inspired by THIS BOY’S LIFE. She’s glad she never lived during this era, and never had to directly deal with a young child with the proclivities of this boy.

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