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This Boy’s Life

This Boy’s Life

by Tobias Wolff

When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests.


Tobias Wolff (photo: Jennifer Hale)

Winner of a 2014 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, Tobias Wolff is a novelist, memoirist, short story writer, Vietnam veteran, Stanford professor, family man and a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellow. His memoir, This Boy's Life (Grove Press, 1989), tells the story of his early days in the 1950s—moving with his mother from Florida to Utah to Washington state—and his rough years as a young adult at the hands of an abusive stepfather in a small town north of Seattle. It was made into a 1993 film starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio. The Philadelphia Inquirer describes the memoir "as grim and eerie as Great Expectations, as surreal and cruel as The Painted Bird, as comic and transcendent as Huckleberry Finn." "So absolutely clear and hypnotic," says The New York Times, "that a reader wants to take it apart and find some simple way to describe why it works so beautifully." Says The Independent, "Tobias Wolff writes like a man winning his way towards truth."

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