Tobias Wolff

This Boy's Life

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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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268 printed pages
Original publication
2007

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Quotes

    Paul Chas quoted4 months ago
    I had agreed to move to Chinook partly because I thought I had no choice. But there was more to it than that. Unlike my mother, I was fiercely conventional. I was tempted by the idea of belonging to a conventional family, and living in a house, and having a big brother and a couple of sisters—especially if one of those sisters was Norma. And in my heart I despised the life I led in Seattle. I was sick of it and had no idea how to change it. I thought that in Chinook, away from Taylor and Silver, away from Marian, away from people who had already made up their minds about me, I could be different. I could introduce myself as a scholar-athlete, a boy of dignity and consequence, and without any reason to doubt me people would believe I was that boy, and thus allow me to be that boy. I recognized no obstacle to miraculous change but the incredulity of others. This was an idea that died hard, if it ever really died at all
    anat einharhas quoted2 years ago
    He was also unhappy about my becoming a Catholic. “My family,” he told me, “has always been Protestant. Episcopalian, actually.” Actually, his family had always been Jews,
    b4950586996has quoted4 years ago
    thought that most of these troubles were my fault. And a lot of them were.

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