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The End of Boys

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  417 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Peter Hoffmeister was a nervous child who ran away repeatedly and bit his fingernails until they bled. Home-schooled until the age of fourteen, he had only to deal with his parents and siblings on a daily basis, yet even that sometimes proved too muc
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Soft Skull Press (first published May 24th 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,752)
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Cindy Knoke
Nov 13, 2012 Cindy Knoke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


One of the interesting things about, “The End of Boys,” is that this is such a middle class family. The author’s father is/was a prominent Neonatologist and the family led a typical life, religious, active in their church and community.

The Hoffmeister children were home schooled by an artsy mother who appeared to be suffering from some variant of bipolarity until they reached high school age. She was engaged with her children at times, but became increasingly disengaged and detached from them as
...more
Dorianne Laux
Nov 23, 2010 Dorianne Laux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The End of Boys is a remarkable story of a remarkable young man who made a remarkable choice: to be a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a teacher, and the writer he wasn't sure he could be. Peter Hoffimeister has written a terrific book about the human struggle to regain ourselves after great disillusion and desperation. It's a book about family, loyalty, humility and the "harsh journey" toward wholeness. I read The End of Boys in one sitting.

The End of Boys is a testament to the spirit of y
...more
Karyl
Nov 05, 2011 Karyl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I had a hard time putting this book down. Page after page after page has highlights on it, as I marked the bits that particularly resonated with me. Peter's childhood starts out as rather idyllic, with a mother who plays and laughs with her children, but as he grows older, she becomes more and more emotionally distant, leaving her children to fend for themselves. Homeschooled until he was 14, he doesn't really fit into high school and has a hard time learning to blend in. His father has incredib ...more
Jennie Hoffmeister
This book is everything I love about memoir. I read it twice.
Kathleen Saunders
This is a truly amazing memoir. Peter is a skilled wordsmythe and storyteller extraordinaire. But beyond the book, he has taken those broken shards of his teen years and created a beautiful mosaic that attracts and teaches hundreds of high school students, by the example of his healthy, wholesome, athletic, and compassionate adult life, to find growth and meaning, purpose and survival in the midst of their own trials and challenges. How wonderful that he made the choice to turn his experiences i ...more
Priscilla
May 14, 2011 Priscilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am breathless, (almost) speechless and in awe. The angst almost tore me apart. It's often those who struggled and bit and screamed but survived who can speak for and nurture kids. It makes me so delighted that He is a TEACHER! He gets it and can put it into beautiful words! Read this book!!!
Kelly
Jan 11, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. I found it very fascinating. The author does a really good job capturing the reader in the first few pages. I was totally hooked and couldn't put the book down.

The style of writing is different from the norm. The author writes the events of the story in a non sequential order which is somewhat confusing at first, but in the end the whole story comes together.

I really liked Peter's voice. He has some very interesting inner dialogue. I loved hearing how he knew things we
...more
Jennifer Reid
The subject matter was difficult to read...but I am glad I hung in there for the ending. :) I felt the book was written well in terms of imagery, but the flow was a bit choppy.
Heather
"Hoffmeister was a nervous child who ran away repeatedly and bit his fingernails until they bled. Home-schooled until the age of fourteen, he had only to deal with his parents and siblings on a daily basis, yet even that sometimes proved too much for him. Over the years, he watched his mother disintegrate into her own form of mania, while his father—a scholar and doctor who had once played semi-pro baseball—was strict and pushed Peter particularly hard. He wanted only the best from his son but i ...more
Ann
May 06, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Brilliant. I'm not surprised he studied with Dorianne Laux.

"At night when I am alone, the machine comes suddenly like an old relative. The machine moves in, settles, unpacks its suitcases in the closet, hangs coats on the bedroom hooks. The machine moves in with its monotone."

"I know that I've lost something now because this keeps happening, and I feel as if this is all I ever come to, to this place, this knife, this feeling, almost killing, and I wonder that I'm not drunk because I feel fucked
...more
Mmtimes4
Peter Hoffmeister was a nervous child who ran away repeatedly and bit his fingernails until they bled. Home-schooled until the age of fourteen, he had only to deal with his parents and siblings on a daily basis, yet even that sometimes proved too much for him. Over the years, he watched his mother disintegrate into her own form of mania, while his father—a scholar and doct
...morePeter Hoffmeister was a nervous child who ran away repeatedly and bit his fingernails until they bled. Home-schooled u
...more
Adriana
This was an interesting memoir of the author's transition from childhood to his out-of-control teen years, and while I laud him for his honesty in relating events that can only be painful to look back on, it felt like something was missing. Mr. Hoffmeister's relationship with his father was strained, and at times abusive. By the end of the memoir, we get a glimpse of what adult life has been like for the author, and while I'm glad he straightened himself out and everything seems to have worked o ...more
Elizabeth
I've read so many memoirs that I have rather high standards for them. Overall, this was a well done book, but I felt like the story was a little choppy and didn't have much of an arc. Not that someone's life must have a dramatic arc, but...okay, maybe it should, in a memoir. ;) He wrote this memoir while the family members mentioned within were still alive, and because they are not portrayed in the best light, I wonder if he left out some of his own reactions in an attempt to go easier on them. ...more
David
Jun 02, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You meet or hear about people that startle you. You think, he's messed up. How he get that way? Here's the backstory of a life shaped in a most dysfunctional family. It's a hard book to put down because the writing style and looking at the author's life has that it's so awful you can't look away aspect.
A young life out of control. But he changed. I wish that climb from the bottom had been more fully examined.
Jaylynny
Jan 23, 2016 Jaylynny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, book-club
Hmmm. Disjointed and confusing. A grueling childhood and adolescence, which could have been well-told and interesting (and has been before in better memoirs), but wasn't. The best part for me was the afterword, which was tight, illuminating and redemptive.

Some creepy cache because the author lives and teaches in my town and his father is well-respected here, but otherwise, not very worthwhile.
Bonnie
Sep 04, 2014 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I really liked it, but I thought it was well and interestingly written and a powerful story. I suspect that late teen boys would find a lot to relate to in it, especially if they're struggling at all, and I think my husband will enjoy it. I just couldn't relate to it.
Dianne
Nov 24, 2012 Dianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, memoirs, non-fiction
Painful, revealing, brutal...Peter Hoffmeister has shared his sad and twisted story of growing up in a supremely dysfunctional family with an overbearing, powerful father and a mother who seems to disappear into herself. It is made all the more impressive, because it is TRUE and this gifted author came through, if not completely intact, at least strong and content in his own self-worth.

Surviving isolation from the world, drug dependency, and an emotional wasteland, this author has the strength t
...more
Kim
Jun 02, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superbly written, how a book is supposed to read. Capturing your attention right from the beginning and keeping you intrigued until you’ve finished the last sentence in the Acknowledgements section. You want to know every little thing about each person in the story. It leaves you yearning for more stories of a fascinating childhood, troubled youth and finally an inspiring man.

Raw and relatable, with honesty you don’t expect. This book reminds me in a way of ‘The Glass Castle’; although, I actua
...more
Hannah Jarvis
Jul 22, 2011 Hannah Jarvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A coming of age story littered with teen angst - no. A memoir of a lost teenage boy rising to the man he is destined to be - yes. This book is captivating, dark, beautiful, and haunting all at the same time. Not once does Peter drift into a world of excuses for his childhood. Not once does he cry out in search of who he is during his darkest moments. Hoffmeister simply retells his story in a way that is unbiased and straight forward. His writing style is refreshing - a quick, to the point, no b ...more
Liz Butler
Jan 27, 2012 Liz Butler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life is all about perspective, right? The next time I think that my family is dysfunctional, I must remember Peter Hoffmeister and his family,... then my family will seem just like the Ingalls.

This is an incredible, brutally honest story of a troubled young boy and his desperate struggle to find a sense of normalcy. Somewhere. It is disturbing and sad and raw and powerful and impossible to put down.

I give this book 4.5 stars. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is because it seemed a bit ch
...more
Sarah
May 19, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. There are parts of this book that I earmarked to read again, simply for the beautiful writing. But what is really amazing to me is the ability that Hoffmeister has to show the flaws in people. It is a powerful thing to show the shortcomings in a parenting style and how that can turn around and be alright. People learn from their mistakes. We all make parenting mistakes and instead of coming away from this book hating his parents I came away loving them for their hum ...more
Karen
Aug 20, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Hoffmeister articulates so well the weirdness of childhood and the Sisyphean struggle to do more than just fight to survive. It's not so much the awfulness of his particular hell, but how he gutted his way along through choices that were strengthening, life-threatening, illuminating or completely stupid, and made a man of himself - a man I'd trust my kids to because he knows a child's terror, his sadness, his rage, his loneliness and his exultation.

"The objection to fairy stories is that
...more
Daniel Golden
Dec 30, 2011 Daniel Golden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read 80% of this book on a 6-hour plane ride form Philadelphia to San Francisco. I initially found the non-sequentialness of the book to be annoying, and I sometimes failed to see the relevance of the author's italicized asides in the context of the body of the chapter. As I continued reading, however, I became totally engrossed in his story. I do wish that the book was longer and had more detail throughout, though this can be forgiven as it was written so long after the events took place. Plu ...more
Cate
Apr 21, 2012 Cate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. Hoffmeister describes a painful adolescence in this memoir - he went to some very dark places inside himself. Which reflected in lots of violence and destructive behaviour. I was surprised that as everything went wrong, his parents packed him off to other friends, other family ie anywhere but home. He came out at the other end, as did his brother & sisters. Interesting point in the last chapter - the two youngest children were raised by the sam ...more
Leah Adams
Aug 18, 2011 Leah Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a coming of age story of a man who grew up in Eugene, the son of a Eugene physician, and an artist. He was homeschooled for much of his life. I did meet him (and his father) once when he was briefly enrolled in public middle school, when he came to dinner at our house. He attended a local high school for a time, as well as several other schools in other parts of the country. He was expelled from several of those schools. He survived all this, and much more, and currently teaches at a loc ...more
Richie Cussa
Mar 10, 2015 Richie Cussa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book! I strongly recommend this book to anyone in general. This book makes you want to read.
BL834
I don't want to give a star rating to an autobiography because who am I to tell someone they wrote their own life story wrong? I will say that Mr. Hoffmeister's writing is just fine but his story is uncomfortable at best.
Karen
Dec 04, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Hoffmeister's memoir describes his childhood years filled with anxiety and growing up in a dysfunctional family, his troubling teenage years and his path to a changed life. I read this as a book club selection and perhaps would not have selected it on my own. But this is what I enjoy about a book club ... to be stretched and expand my reading taste. Peter Hoffmeister hit a "home run" during the last few chapters. It was good to see how we all can make a difference in someone's life, see po ...more
James Boyle
May 05, 2016 James Boyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well done. A smooth read covering difficult topics. I'm not sure about the ending, but still a quite well done memoir.
Kelly
Oct 29, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, did this guy have an eventful life. There was so much to go through, and all of it so interesting. The author did a very good job of portraying his feelings about the events, which allowed the reader to do the same. The pace was very quick, jumping from story to story, but it all connected. Since it jumped from event to event, it sometimes mentioned in between an everyday life event, describing an OCD action and thoughts, which was weird because that seemed downplayed in the book, but only ...more
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“I know that I've lost something now because this keeps happening, and I feel as if this is all I ever come to, to this place, this knife, this feeling, almost killing, and I wonder that I'm not drunk because I feel fucked up and cold and hot, and this man, the drunk man, he's backing away from me toward a parked car and he trips over the parking meter and stumbles and takes a few steps and there's a wall he can follow along and he's scuttling back into the doorway of the bar and his off-white shirt gets hazy like cottonwood down floating off the river back home but it's hot in the spring there, back home, when the cottonwoods are dropping, and nothing about this night is even warm at all except my fist around the handle of the knife that's still cold, and there's the smell of the river water, the water in the air, and water everywhere, over my eyes and the city and the night, and I wonder why the water's not frozen because it's cold, cold every night here, so fucking cold, and no amount of weed will warm me up because I'm a long way from home and my bed and my room and my house and my family and anything and everything and everyone that I have ever loved, and I can sleep on a dirty floor with gum and spiders and garbage and wrappers and ants and dust and spit and cum, and I can sleep here and wake up, and I can sleep here and wake up again, but no amount of sleeping and waking will ever make it right.” 2 likes
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