Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon, is not a book I would have picked up on my own. It was another book club pick.
I’m going to start off by saying that it took me almost a month to get through. It was a pretty long book, but also I read two other books while I was reading that one. For whatever reason, this wasn’t an easy book for me to get through, but I never wanted to stop reading; it just took me longer than most books do. It really was a beautifully written book and pretty much sums up what childhood feels like: magical, scary, and difficult to understand sometimes.
Boy’s Life takes us through a year in the life of Cory, an 11 year old boy in 1950’s Zephyr, Alabama. Cory’s father is a milkman, and one morning, while helping him on the route, they see a car plunge into the lake. His dad jumps in to try to save the man, and finds a man handcuffed to the steering wheel who had been choked by a length of piano wire.
This isn’t a normal book about childhood, murder, or coming of age. All this is against a backdrop of the normal concerns of an 11 year old in a small town. There’s a lot of paranormal thrown in, like the monster who lives in the river, a magic bike, and flying through the forest on the first day of summer. It made me remember how anything can be magical. And when you’re a kid, even though you know you’re making it up, you still believe it. An older Cory narrates the story and talks about how the magic of childhood, once lost, can never be quite recaptured.
All in all, I recommend this book. It was a good book, and worth reading, though I’d recommend getting the book from the library. Like I said, it took me a month to get through. I (and other members of my book club) thought the book was a little too long. I’ll be interested to see what else Robert McCammon has written.