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I have mixed feelings about this book, Dubus 111's memoir. It is raw and naked, violent and gentle and is about redemption. Dubus grows up in the mean streets near Boston. He is of in my generation, a teenager living with the backdrop of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Vietnam War on the television, the movie Billy Jack, Dave Brubeck on the parents turntable and lots available of drugs and sex. His absent father, not there at all for young Andre and his siblings, is always on Andre's mind and in his heart. As an adult, Dubus 111 clearly forgives his father and is abundantly understanding of why he and his sisters and brother were virtually ignored. He quotes his father as saying he felt as though he was "dating his children" since he was afforded only a weeknight and weekend day visitation schedule. I couldn't help but wonder if this contact schedule was self imposed or mandated.
Poverty stricken adolescent Andre turns to violence; is it because of the cultural, interpersonal, internal and familial conflicts he endures? And in the face of his violent acts he strives for clarity. His wish is granted; he comes to believe that all violence just breeds more violence and as he says, it hurts.
Although it makes sense to me that an author would want to narrate his audio book, especially a memoir, I don't think Mr. Dubus' narration does his prose favor. The narration is flat and monotone and although this in a way works, as this is indeed Andre's voice, maybe it's the editing I disliked. His voice comes on and off in spurts, clearly read in random segments so it was mottled in terms of tone, volume and clarity. Overall, I do think I liked this book, and I do so love this author's other works, it just was a bit of a mix for me. I look forward to others' reviews.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
I loved this memoir. Dubus zeroes in on the angst of being a poor young man in a single parent household and methodically lays out his life for all to see, moving from a kid who allows himself, his friends, and, most painfully, his family, to be pushed around and bullied at will by others, to his years as a fighter, and one who made a point of interceding on behalf of others' turmoil. Finally, he begins writing in earnest, and through his writing begins to understand his best role in the world. It is heartfelt, open, and honest. I found it difficult at times to hear of the physical confrontations with others, but he redeems himself, both for himself and the reader. Great memoir, highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful