First published in 1989, this scarifying memoir has become a classic of the genre, as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The book essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. It was made into a movie in 1993.
The story is pretty grim: teen-aged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed.
Deception, disguise, and illusion are the weapons the young man learns to employ as he grows up, not bad training for a writer-to-be. Somber though this tale of family strife is, it is also darkly funny and so artistically satisfying that listeners come away exhilarated.
"Unforgettable." (Time )
"At once compassionate and deeply disturbing." (The New York Times Magazine)
"A jewel-like memoir of childhood in the 1950s...Lucid, bitter, precise, terribly sad: the real-life equivalent of Wolff's acclaimed fiction." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Beautiful, unsentimental memoir of youth
- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"
- Parola138 "We bite"