Mike's Reviews > Townie: A Memoir

Townie by Andre Dubus III
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's review
Jul 09, 12

bookshelves: boston, memoirs
Read from May 28 to July 09, 2012

Terrific book on if we can change and become better people or if we are unable to overcome our origins and ourselves. Very honest, painful at times. Dubus' parents divorce when he is young and he grows up poor with his mother while maintaining a relationship with his father. His father is a talented writer but maddeningly irresponsible often and out of touch with the lives his children are living on the other side of the tracks. III begins to run with a rough crowd and much of the book is his grappling with violence - something he became good at with his boxing skills. He starts to write and begins to look at it as a way to express himself and maybe save himself from shameful and disappointing paths he had already toed. There's ample family trauma and dynamics for everyone to deal with.

III biggest turn comes when he is able to talk to a British thug rather than fight him. Able to relate to him as a human wanting the respect and love that III wanted as well. His relationship with his father sweetens with time, especially when he is wheelchair bound after an accident for noble reasons. They freely share a love that wasn't shared between his father as a child and his grandfather. Ultimately, it is a story of acceptance and forgiveness of yourself, your family, and other people and the love and gratitude that it can bring.

I love the line his dad left him on his phone "This is your father, who art in Haverhill [MA]."
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