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This Boys Life a Memoir by Tobias Wolff - Transformation PDF

This Boys Life a Memoir by Tobias Wolff - Transformation PDF

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Published by: sammyw234 on Oct 12, 2011
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This Boys Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff

The Emergence Of A Writer

Fiction writer Tobias Wolff electrified critics with his scarifying 1989 memoir, which many deemed as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The story is pretty grim: Teenaged 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 most readers come away exhilarated rather than depressed. This is a very serious and entertaining autobiographical account of Tobias Wolff's early years. He was greatly attached to his mother and managed to survive (with zest and resilience!!) despite a cruel stepfather and some bizarre experiences. He appears to have had a strange and determined tenacity of vision and an ability to mold fantasy into reality. The only reality he was powerless to mold was an absent father and frequent uprootings. "I imagined being adopted by different people I saw on the street. Sometimes, seeing a man in a suit come towards me from a distance that blurred his features, I would prepare myself to recognize my father and to be recognized by him. Then we would pass each other and a few minutes later I would pick someone else. I talked to anyone who would talk back. When

the need came upon me, I knocked on the door of the nearest house and asked to use the bathroom. No one ever refused. I sat in other people's yards and played with their dogs. The dogs got to know me - - by the end of the year they'd be waiting for me." (P. 12-13) Due to his intelligence, Mr. Wolff gets admitted into a prep school where he feels like a failure. "I did not do well at Hill. How could I? I knew nothing. My ignorance was so profound that entire class periods would pass without my understanding anything that was said." (P 285). Mr. Wolff starts acting out oppositionally, preparing to become a juvenile delinquent. He is well on that road when the book ends. The book leads the reader to speculate how the mature Tobias Wolff emerged from this punk/hoodlum. Where did the transition come into play? Perhaps this information is provided in the sequel which I look forward to reading.

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