This Boy's Life

by | Read by Oliver Wyman

Published by HighBridge Audio

First published in 1989, this memoir has become a classic in the genre. With this book, Wolff essentially launched the memoir craze that has been going strong ever since. It was made into a movie in 1993.

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 listeners come away exhilarated.

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AudioFile Review

This Boy's Life

A young artist finds his voice in THIS BOY’S LIFE, and narrator Oliver Wyman reproduces his adolescent tone with remarkable verve and clarity. Tobias Wolff’s 1989 memoir of his early life with his submissive mother and the violent men who either stalk her or marry her is strangely humorous and extraordinarily brave in its naked portrayal of abuse and conflict. Wyman captures the Wolff character’s longing for normalcy in a universe that is topsy-turvy from what most young men experience growing up in America. Wolff the writer views Wolff the teenager with a distance that Wyman could have played for pity. Instead Wyman follows the author’s lead and makes this story both moving and inspiring without being depressing. R.O. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine

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