This boys Life is the story of Tobias Wolff's childhood. When his parents separated, he lived with his mother while his brother went to live with their wealthy father(a child support deadbeat). Tobias Wolff's mother struggled with earning a living and got mixed up with various abusive men. It would be interesting to read this book along with Tobias Wolff's brother's memoir and contrast them for a book club. It is called the Duke of Deception by Geoffry Wolff.
This book tells the story of Toby Wolff, who calls himself Jack throughout the story due to an incident involving a girl named Toby in his class. He decides that since he and his mom are traveling across the country to start a new life together, he might as well start over with a new name. Wolff details what life was like living with a young, pretty mother who doesn't seem to want to settle down, though when she does settle into relationships, they are usually abusive in nature, either mentally or physically. Wolff paints his adolescent and teen years rather vividly, and shows the confusion that he faced in who he felt he was versus who everyone else saw when they looked at him versus who he wanted the world to see. For much of this time, Wolff is a very troubled young man and constantly seemed to get into trouble (attempts to run away, stealing, forging various documents to fit his needs, etc). I had a hard time liking Wolff for some of the things that he did, particularly when he fell in with bad company, but it was evident that he really cared for his mother and wanted to help protect her whenever he could. Still, it was an interesting and rather quick read.
I thourougly enjoyed this book. Wolff has incredible descriptive powers. The events of his life jump off the page. Funny, poignant and startling. It reads like a fine novel. He leaves you hungry for more.
While you have sympathy for the main character having to put up with lousy father, mothers loser boyfriends and a whacko stepfather, it is hard to like the main character and thus I found myself reading along thinking 'well what will the troubled brat do next?' Hard to say you liked the book if that's all you got out of it. It certainly wasn't any walk down memory lane into the 1950's.
Memoir of a boy in the 1950's. Separated by divorce from his father and brother, Toby and his mother are constantly on the move. As he fights for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, his experiences are at once poignant and comical, and Wolff masterfully re-creates the frustrations, cruelties, and joys of adolescence.
WOW!! How many stars are in the sky? That is just how many stars I give this 'work of art"..To be honest, I have been on the computer, longingly seeking for another story of a boys life such as this!! AND, I have queded up the major motion picture starring Robert DiNero entitled the very same as the book! Yippee!! I am reposting this book, simply because I do not think I will ever forget one word of it, and like most of you, have hundreds of books and no room for them all.This is your chance to read a delightfully written , true account of a very poor, and highly intelligent young boy, whose parents break up, and she marries a rough, drinking guy, who put on a façade before he married her.The new 'dad" hated Tobias..I laughed my head off last night in my room..and really hated to see this book end.This is my new favorite author, I feel like his book is in my heart now too!! You will love this story!!He rises up from ubscurity to become a teacher at Syracuse University.