This Boy's Life: A Memoir

This Boy's Life: A Memoir

Tobias Wolff

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0802136680

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This unforgettable memoir, by one of our most gifted writers, introduces us to the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning. Separated by divorce from his father and brother, Toby and his mother are constantly on the move, yet they develop an extraordinarily close, almost telepathic relationship. As Toby fights for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, his experiences are at once poignant and comical, and Wolff does a masterful job of re-creating the frustrations and cruelties of adolescence. His various schemes - running away to Alaska, forging checks, and stealing cars - lead eventually to an act of outrageous self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.

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anger as if he had been the one set upon and outraged. He was beside himself. Breathing loudly, clenching and unclenching his jaw, he leaned over the edge and cupped his hands in front of his mouth and screamed a word I had heard only once, years before, when my father shouted it at a man who had cut him off in traffic. “Yid!” Silver screamed, and again, “Yid!” One day my mother and I went down to Alkai Point to watch a mock naval battle between the Odd Fellows and the Lions Club. This was

“If he says he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it,” my mother said. “He doesn’t lie.” “Well, I don’t either!” The vice-principal rocked forward onto his feet. He opened the door and beckoned to the weed fiends, who were waiting in the outer office. They came in together and after a hangdog glance in my direction serially mumbled their dismal narrative at the floor, while I looked at them with brazen incredulity. When they were done the vice-principal gave them passes and sent them out. He was

how’s it going?” The men fell quiet and looked over at us. Bobby fixed me with a stare. “Who the hell are you talking to?” he said. His eyes were full of murder. WE WATCHED TV most of Christmas Eve. When it got dark, Dwight left the house lights off so we could get the full effect of the lights on the tree. We broke to eat, then went back to the set. By the time the “Lawrence Welk Christmas Special” came on we were glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, stunned with viewing. The Champagne Orchestra

never see them afterward without remembering it. She knew that I admired her tongue. She liked me for that, and for the fact that my brother Geoffrey was a student at Princeton. She said the words Ivy League often, and tenderly. I was a big snob myself, so we got along fine. Arthur’s disappointment was more combative. He refused to accept as final the proposition that Cal and Mrs. Gayle were his real parents. He told me, and I contrived to believe, that he was adopted, and that his real family

ploughed for sowing, was boggy. It pulled at our shoes, then let them go with a rich mucky gasp. Psycho was wearing loafers, and he kept coming out of them. Finally he gave up and turned back. The rest of us pushed on. Every few steps we could hear Psycho shout with rage behind us. We walked a good half mile before we got to the Welch farm. We loitered by the outbuildings for a while, then crossed the yard to Mr. Welch’s truck. Chuck siphoned gas out of the tank while Huff and I watched the

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