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Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
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Mar 15, 13

bookshelves: best-reads, fantasy, horror, re-read-list
Read from May 01 to 19, 2012

This is a Magical story of a boy Cory, he narrates to us about his life in the year 1964 in a small town of Zephyr Alabama where anything and everything happens. His experiences and friendships want to make you tearful and joyful he is on a journey of self discovery and of mysteries that haunt his father and the lake. A highly recommended read one to make my list of must reads, Robert McCammon is a underrated writer a master craftsman storyteller.
'Because Death cannot be known. It cannot be befriended. If death were a boy, he would be a lonely figure, standing at the playground's edge while the air rippled with other children's laughter. If death were a boy, he would walk alone. He would speak in a whisper and his eyes would be haunted by knowledge no human can bear. This is what tore at me in the quiet hours: We came from darkness, and to darkness we must return.'


In a re-read,(May 2012) this time round I felt i discovered more in this wonderful
Story.
The dead, The Lake, the Dog, the bicycle and the girl in the water are maybe parts that I remember well and loved to revisit.
There was also many things that I had forgotten and reliving it made it a joyful experience. It never tires to read those wonderful sentences that he puts together in this story.
When an author writes a story of youth and coming of age they sometimes included their own experiences.
In this novel we do see in parts a little peak into the writer Robert McCammon, for instance Golden apples of the Sun by Ray Brabury is mentioned in here as one of Cory's cherished reads and Robert McCammon has mentioned it as a book that he holds dear and recommends.
There are other things I have picked up on and they add to just how much a respected and talented writer he is.
This story hold a high place in my shelf in line with
To kill a mockingbird,
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale,
Something wicked this way comes by Ray Bradbury
and Stand by Me by Stephen King.

As Robert McCammon says in the final pages of this novel, in the acknowledgments, I too bid you farewell in his words...
Your lake will always be deeper and sweeter than mine, your jar hold greater mysteries, your rockets travel truer to the heart.

These excerpts below are ones that I felt echoed a thousand heart felt feelings.

"In later years I would think that no woman's lips had ever been as red as that bike. No low-slung foreign sports car with wire wheels and purring engine would ever look as powerful or as capable as that bike. No chrome would ever gleam with such purity, like the silver moon on a summers night. I had a big round headlight and a horn with a rubber bulb, and its frame looked as strong and solid as the biceps of Hercules. But it looked fast, too; it's handlebars sloped forward like an invitation to taste the wind, it's black rubber pedals unscarred by any foot before mine. Dad ran his fingers along the headlight, and then picked the bike up with one hand.
"Boy, it hardly weighs anything!" he marvelled."Lightest metal I've ever felt!" He put it down again, and it settled on its kickstand like an obedient but barely tamed animal."
(Boys toys)

"I looked out, across my hometown. I looked at the green hills and the blue sky, and the distant roofs of Burton. Beside me, Rebel whimpered in a dogs dreams.
I never knew what hate really was until I thought of somebody wrapping up a bomb and putting it in a church on a Sunday morning to kill little girls."


"This was early summer in Zephyr: an awakening to hazy morning heat, the sun gradually burning the haze off and the air getting so humid your shirt stuck to your skin by the time you'd walked to the mailbox and back. At noon the world seemed to pause on its axis, and not a bird dared to wing through the steaming blue. As afternoon rambled on, a few clouds rimmed with rule might build up from the northwest. You could sit on the porch, a glass of lemonade at your side and the radio tuned to a baseball game, and watch the clouds slowly roll toward you. After a while you might hear a distant thunder, and a zigzag of lighting would make the radio crackle. It might shower for thirty minutes or so, but most times the clouds just marched past with a rumble and grunt and not a drop of rain. As evening cooled the earth, the cicadas droned in their hundreds from the woods and lighting bugs rose from the grass. They got up in the trees and blinked, and they lit up the branches like Christmas decorations here on the edge of July. The stars came out, and some phase of the moon. If I played my cards right, I could talk my folks into letting me stay up late, like until eleven or so, and I would sit in front yard watching the lights of Zephyr go out. When enough lights were extinguished, the stars became much brighter. You could look up into the heart of the universe, and see the swirls of glowing stars. A soft breeze blew, bringing with it the sweet perfume of earth, and the trees rustled quietly in its passage. It was very hard, at times like this, not to think that the world was as well-ordered and precise as the Cartwright ranch on "Bonanza," or that in every house lived a "My Three Sons" family. I wished it were so, but I had seen pictures of a spreading dark, a burning man, and a bomb-wrecked church, and I was beginning to know the truth."
(Wish i/you was here?)

"I had seen her naked. In all my life I had seen no female naked but my mother. I had been in the presence of Chile Willow only a short time, but what is time when a heart speaks? My heart was speaking to Chile Willow in that moment, as she bathed my cuts and gave me a smile. My heart was saying if you were my girlfriend I would give you a hundred lighting bugs in a green glass jar, so you could always see your way. I would give you a meadow full of wildflowers, where no two blooms would ever be alike. I would give you mu bicycle, with it's golden eye to protect you. I would write a story for you, and make you a princes who lived in a white marble castle. If you would only like me, I would give you magic. If you would only like me.
If you would only-"

(Love)
"This was to be my first experiment with it, and like any first experience, the feeling stays with you forever. What this was exactly I can't say, but it drove into my soul and made a home there. Everyone was watching me; everyone was listening to me. The words coming out of my mouth-the words I'd conceived and give birth to- were making time null and void; they were bringing together a roomful of people into a journey of common sights, sounds, and thoughts; they were leaving me and travelling into the minds and memories of people who had never been at Saxons Lake that chill, early morning in March. I could tell when I looked at them that those people were following me. And the greatest thing- the very greatest thing-is that they wanted to go where I led them."
(The joy of writing)

"I sat beside him as the chill wind moved around us. Rebel made little whining noises deep in his throat. He let me pat him, but he was somewhere else. I remembered him as a puppy, full of boundless energy, enthralled by a yellow ball with a little bell in it. I remember the times we had raced each other, and like a true Southern gentleman he had always let me win. I remembered when he flew, over the hills of summer. Even if that had only been in my imagination, it was truer than true. I cried some.
More than some."


Visit my webpage to read the interview during March 2012 >>>>http://more2read.com/review/interview-with-robert-r-mccammon/
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Quotes Lou Liked

Robert McCammon
“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand.”
Robert McCammon, Boy's Life

Robert McCammon
“If you were my girlfriend I would give you a hundred lightning bugs in a green glass jar, so you could always see your way. I would give you a meadow full of wildflowers, where no two blooms would ever be alike. I would give you my bicycle, with its golden eye to protect you. I would write a story for you, and make you a princess who lived in a white marble castle. If you would only like me, I would give you magic. If you would only like me.”
Robert McCammon, Boy's Life

Robert McCammon
“The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It's not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don't know its happening until one day you feel you've lost something but you're not sure what it is. It's like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you 'sir'. It just happens.”
Robert McCammon, Boy's Life

Robert McCammon
“You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.”
Robert McCammon, Boy's Life

Robert McCammon
“After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation.”
Robert McCammon, Boy's Life
tags: dogs


Reading Progress

05/05/2012 page 20
3.0% "That might just be one the best opening chapters I have read in a while. Setting, mystery and descriptive sentences providing really good reading and a great opening to reel you in to the Zephyr awesomeness!" 3 comments
05/05/2012 page 32
6.0% "Double matinee at the cinema and a sleep over at your buddies house with some fried chicken for dinner lovely! I want to be a kid again!"
05/05/2012 page 50
9.0% "The girl in the church scene hilarious!"
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Mike (the Paladin) Listed as one of my favorites... We agree on this one.


message 2: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Indeed


message 3: by Lis (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lis One of my Top Five Books. So amazingly good, no matter how many times I read it!


message 4: by Barks & Bites (new)

Barks & Bites Another of my favorites. I hope to reread this someday.


message 5: by Randy (new)

Randy A favorite. Another by McCammon Is GONE SOUTH. If you haven't read that one. I'd recommend it.


Charlene This is a favorite of mine as well. Nice review. : )


message 7: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Charlene wrote: "This is a favorite of mine as well. Nice review. : )"

Thanks!


Melki I don't have time for a reread now, but reading your review brought back some great memories.


Rick Hautala A much better coming of age book that, say, THE BODY (STAND BY ME) ... Much richer ..


message 10: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Rick wrote: "A much better coming of age book that, say, THE BODY (STAND BY ME) ... Much richer .."

Yes true and the body is only a short, the amount of work put in compared to this was probably a tiny fraction.


message 11: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Hautala Of course, anyone writing a "coming of age" story (myself included--guilty as charged if you've read my MISS HENRY'S BOTTLES and REUNION) is harking back to the gold standard of Bradbury's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COME ... which harks back to the original CoA stories--TOM SAWYER and HUCK FINN. Still, McCammon has a true masterpiece here ... and in some ways--in SOME ways, I say--even (gulp) better than Bradbury... Dare I even say that?


message 12: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Rick wrote: "Of course, anyone writing a "coming of age" story (myself included--guilty as charged if you've read my MISS HENRY'S BOTTLES and REUNION) is harking back to the gold standard of Bradbury's SOMETHIN..."
Yes I agree. I have little brothers on my kindle of yours I hope to give a try soon!


message 13: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Hautala Yeah, LITTLE BROTHERS kinda of plays in the coming of age story, too ... but not as fully (nor well) as McCammon's BOY'S LIFE.


message 14: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Rick wrote: "Yeah, LITTLE BROTHERS kinda of plays in the coming of age story, too ... but not as fully (nor well) as McCammon's BOY'S LIFE."
Which ones a better mountain king or little brothers.


message 15: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Hautala I think LITTLE BROTHERS, hands down ...


Erin ~ (It's October, time for creepy books) Ugh this book had such a sad scene in it! Great book :)


david oh yeah...another great read from McCammon


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