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This Boy's Life: A Memoir

About the Book

This Boy's Life: A Memoir

Short-story writer Tobias Wolff amazed readers with his 1989 memoir, as notable for its finely wrought prose as for the events depicted. The story introduces us to the young Toby (aka Jack) Wolff, who in the 1950s moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington to escape her violent boyfriend.  Separated from his father and brother, Toby struggles for identity and self-respect.  When his mother remarries, Wolff finds himself in a battle of wills with a hostile stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be exceedingly stubborn.  Deception and false impression are the weapons the young author-to-be learns to use to his advantage and, sometimes, disadvantage.

Though this tale of family trouble is grim, it is also humorous.  Wolff's masterful job of reexamining the frustrations and cruelties of adolescence evokes all-embracing emotions.  His various schemes—running away to Alaska, forging checks, and stealing cars—lead to an act of self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.

This Boy's Life: A Memoir
by Tobias Wolff

  • Publication Date: August 13, 2012
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press
  • ISBN-10: 0802136680
  • ISBN-13: 9780802136688