Last year, I read Swan Song and absolutely loved it. I then recommended it to a friend, who also loved it. Swan Song is a wonderful book of horror, suspense, dystopia mixed with heart, character, and love. And even though it’s long and daunting, I read it quickly and vowed to read more by the author.
Which brings me to Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. Just hearing a synopsis, I wasn’t moved to read this one. The premise, a year in one boy’s life, just didn’t appeal to me. However, I was completely wrong. I loved this book so much. Yes, it is one year in the life of Cory, a 12 year old living in Zephyr, Alabama in the 1960s, but it is much more than this.
The book starts with Cory and his father witnessing a murder, and the “whodunit” lasts through the entire novel, but it’s not a heavy storyline. Most of the book is told in vignettes about Cory, his friends, his family, and the people of the town. I laughed out loud a few times, namely at a monkey who terrorizes a Wed evening church service. I almost teared up at the end when Cory goes back to his town after having left for a number of years. Cory spends his year mourning losses, reveling in simple joys, discovering who he is, and becoming a man, whether he realizes it or not.
I grew up in a small town in the south, so Cory’s story resonated with me. Even though it wasn’t the 1960, the small town feel was still pervasive. Cory is a good kid from page one, and it was refreshing to read a book that was not only beautifully written, but one that captured life as a kid so perfectly.